Networking Meeting 8/13/20

Networking Meeting 8/13/20

Below is a link to our Networking Meeting on Zoom that was held on Thursday, 8/13/20 at 1:00pm.  After clicking on the link, you will need to add the password to view the video. Video:
Meeting Notes 9/10/20

Meeting Notes 9/10/20

The Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative has a goal of getting youth and families in Holyoke connected to resources they need to assist them to get to better places in life. Below is a link to a video from our monthly networking meeting that was held on Zoom on 9/10/20. The networking meeting is a...
Meeting Notes 7/9/20

Meeting Notes 7/9/20

Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative Meeting Agenda Date:   July 9, 2020 Time:   1:00pm to 2:30pm Place:   Zoom Meeting Mission Statement: The Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative is a partnership between local, state & federal law enforcement; city & state government; civic & human service...
Meeting Notes 11/12/20

Meeting Notes 11/12/20

View this email in your browser Meeting Notes 11/12/20 Below is a link to a video from our Networking Meeting that was held on Thursday, 11/12/20. When you click on the link, you will see a video with a copy of the notes from the chat on the right hand side of the video. Meeting Recording:...
Meeting Notes 10/8/20

Meeting Notes 10/8/20

The Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative has a goal of getting youth and families in Holyoke connected to resources they need to assist them to get to better places in life. Below is a link to a video from our monthly networking meeting that was held on Zoom on 10/8/20.  There is an overview...
Networking Meeting 8/13/20
Networking Meeting 8/13/20
August 18, 2020
Meeting Notes 9/10/20
Meeting Notes 9/10/20
September 11, 2020
Meeting Notes 7/9/20
Meeting Notes 7/9/20
July 17, 2020
Meeting Notes 11/12/20
Meeting Notes 11/12/20
November 13, 2020
Meeting Notes 10/8/20
Meeting Notes 10/8/20
October 09, 2020

Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative

Meeting Agenda

Date:   July 9, 2020

Time:   1:00pm to 2:30pm

Place:   Zoom Meeting


Mission Statement: The Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative is a partnership between local, state & federal law enforcement; city & state government; civic & human service organizations; faith based organizations; the business community; education providers; property managers; and residents coming together with a goal to create safe, healthy & economically viable neighborhoods through information sharing, identifying at-risk youth, referrals and community efforts in specific Holyoke neighborhoods.

Welcome & Introduction                                                                           1:00pm - 1:05pm        


Talene Jermakian: Robbins Associates - 413 Families                           1:05pm - 1:20pm 

Chrissy Howard: Manager of Reading Success by 4th Grade

Chrissy Howard: Reading Success by 4th Grade 

Works with Talene and together they partner and run the 413 Family Texting program. Families can sign up and opt in to the texting program. Texting program is direct to families. Launched in 2016 for families in Springfield and the surrounding area; expanded to Holyoke in 2018. Program has grown to 3,800 families. Typically sends 2 messages per week and families have the option to receive the message in English or Spanish. Provides families with young children, birth to 8 years with reading and parenting tips and resources information about events, giveaways such as (free or close to free) tickets to community events, bookstore gift cards, Pride Store gift cards etc. two way access, you are able to text back to our text messages. Ways to access: Working on a card with a QR code, and physical distribution.

Talene Jermakian: Robbins Associates - 413 Families                                     

The PowerPoint that was presented today is attached here

What kinds of information do we share through the texting program? Our content is geared for families with children birth to 8 years. We share tips and resources for families, and information about community events. We also engage with our families through giveaways such as free tickets to community events, bookstore, grocery store or other types of gift cards (for example, we ask them to share how they are learning at home during the COVID pandemic, through a photo or text, for a chance to win a gift card). We keep our messages short and sweet, and try to stay within 160 characters. We also are able to share flyers/links to additional information that may not fit within a text.

How do organizations contact 413families to share information? If you have information for families with young children, please send to me, Talene Jermakian, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can also contact Chrissy Howard, Manager of Reading Success by 4th Grade, with information.

To receive printed materials about 413families, contact Chrissy Howard at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and she will get them to you.

To opt-in to Holyoke-specific messages, text the keyword 413familiesH to 313131. To receive Holyoke-specific messages in Spanish, text the keyword 413familiasH to 313131. 

413families has a website,

Agency Overview and Updates                                                                             1:20pm - 2:20pm

Denise Kelly-LaChat: Hampden County District Attorney's Office

The courts were starting to gradually open.   We are hoping to move forward with Holyoke District Court Diversion once things are back up and running.

Maria Pagan: Holyoke Public Library

Started doing curbside services for everybody. Doing the summer reading program where the kids will be joining virtually. Also have packets that the parents can come to the library and collect. We’re not letting anyone come into the library as of now but working slowly towards that. People can call us or they can put books on request and we will call them once the books are available for them and we call them and make an appointment to stop at the library and we bring out to their cars. So just pass the word that we’re open and functioning and still have a lot of online resources from Kindergarten, preschoolers and beyond. Also have online non-credit courses for adults, we have classes for professional development and everything is FREE, all you need is a Holyoke Public Library card. Free to contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for any information that you like and I would like to work with a lot of you in providing information to our patrons as they come get books, and also for the parents as they come for the summer reading program. It would be nice to be able to offer your services to them too.

Sandy Ward: Friends of the Library

Help with fundraisers like mini-golf in the Library. Could not do it in April, so was postponed to September. Now thinking it will get postponed again to April 10th. Thinking of virtual games at the library on September 26, 2020. Trying to learn how to use tools to do a fundraiser.

Flor Diaz: Community Coordinator WIC

WIC offices only open to staff, not seeing any participants in person, not allowing anyone in the building. All appointments will be held over the phone, so participants are still able to communicate with a nutritionist. Documentation can be sent via email. The WIC Dept. now has a new breastfeeding website page. Farmer’s market coupons will be sent to participants by mail. Typically participants come to the office to pick up farmers market coupons, but they will be sent by mail. For now the offices won’t see any participants in person until the end of September.

Anna Jarimillo: Holyoke Health Center

Operating on a limited basis are open providing telehealth visits. Everyone should call (413) 420-2200 to make an appointment. Covid19 testing in the parking, must call main number to make an appointment to be tested. Testing capacity has been improved.

John McCarthy: Community Relations Officer USCIS

Agency adjudicates applications for immigration benefits like becoming a permanent resident or citizen etc. Reopened field offices in Lawrence and Boston for interpersonal engagement as of 6/4/20. There’s a requirement that you have an appointment. If anyone needs assistance with providing information to anyone in the general public about immigration issues, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Terri Lombardo: HCS Headstart

Getting ready to reopen 3 classrooms in a couple of weeks at 50% capacity. Have all sorts of safety precautions in place and it’s going to be very challenging. Great event on Tuesday!! Thank you to Maria from the Holyoke Fire Dept. for letting us use the thru-way and thank you to Eddie for the freezer for the ice-cream, the kids loved the ice-cream. Gave free back packs to kindergarten kids with lots of great books and fun things for them to do. Families loved it! Hoping to do something like this in the fall on a smaller scale. It’s been challenging but hoping to plow through and get the kiddos in there. So that’s it for now.

Amanda Ortiz: Young Life Springfield

Thank you for inviting first time at the meeting. Give hope to teenagers through relationship and then inviting them to have relationship (baby crying so she skipped). Christian organization that brings hope to children by building relationships with kids. We do skits, fun events, we feed them dinner. We were supposed to have camp this summer for about 63 kids from Springfield, but due to COVID, it was cancelled. So instead, we are planning some unique things like barbeques, paintball shooting, etc. Young Life is an organization to bring hope and to get the kids focused on something positive. Can be reached via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Amy Karangekis: Chief of Springfield Office of the Mass Attorney General’s Office

Amy stated her office serves four Western Counties. Attorney General’s Office has seen significant increase in scams and fraud during the pandemic. Ed mailed out an advisory flyer this morning. Types of scams and fraud on the uptick are robo calls, telephone phishing scams, insurance and Medicaid fraud, specific Covid-19 scams. There are others we’ve seen before, but are also on the uptick are; grandparent scam, lottery & sweepstake scams, door to door scams and mail scams. Tips on how to avoid identification theft and how to report scams and the fraud, as well as, contact information for certain hotlines and in office information on how to contact our office. Flyer that was circulated is in English. Team is working on preparing a Spanish flyer, as well as, in other languages. I’ll circulate to Ed to circulate as soon as those are done. Any issues or questions, contact me or go on our website. Fully operational, hotlines are working.

Art Lobdell: Boy Scouts of America Western Mass Council

First time joining. Having a Family Fun Day event on 8/8/2020 which is an online activity hosted by the National Office of the Boy Scouts of America. Aiming at families with young children. It is open for folks not currently part of the organization, hope to have folks join. Don’t have current meeting protocol to send just yet but will send to Eddie to pass out to others when it becomes available. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Family Fun Day 8/8/2020 413 594-9196 ext. 7034

Bishop Neal Boyd: Outreach Crisis Counselor for Mass Support Network Riverside Trauma Center

Bishop Boyd explained the Mass Support Trauma Center is funded by FEMA to give help to those who’ve been traumatized through the businesses no matter where you’re from, it’s a FREE service. Invited everyone to town hall meeting that is being held tonight @ 6pm. Gave out data reports concerning COVID not only in Western Mass, but the state of Mass and the nation. Will be talking about ways to cope, people having problems coping with this situation, managing your reaction. Will put information in chat and email to Ed.

Brenda Carroll: Commonwealth Care Alliance

Hi everyone! Brenda Carroll from Commonwealth Care Alliance (CCA). We provide FREE benefits to seniors 65+ (SCO) who have Mass Health standard. We also provide FREE benefits to our 21-64 age population with our One Care program (Mass health and Medicare). Our model of care supports members with coordination of care and wrapping around services/supports; in both the community and in their homes. Please visit our website for more information: Please reach out to me directly with any questions 413-302-0770 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. CCA is dedicated in supporting our members needs during this pandemic. Our clinical teams are assessing members needs and supporting them now more than ever with implementing services/supports in the home. We have a dedicated field team who continues to visit members in their homes; wearing PPE to assess any urgent medical/social needs. We continue to work with many community agencies/resources to keep everyone healthy and safe at home.

Ruth Tirado: Community Education Project

Due to the virus, we have gone through a long transition. Specialize in adult literacy. Offer summer ESOL classes. Actively looking for non-English speaking adults to improve their English. Provide basic, intermediate and advanced level classes for improving English. Holyoke Tutor Mentor Program is seeking bi-lingual volunteers to help provide support to our learners. This is related to other adult programs through the Care Center and Holyoke Public Schools Opportunity Academy. For more information check the comment box. The Community Education Project focuses on expanding ESOL literacy for adult non-English speakers. CEP is offering free adult ESOL classes this summer and fall and we are recruiting students of all Spanish/English literacy levels to come join our classes. All classes are being conducted online, so the only requirement is handheld mobile device with access to internet. Folks interested are encouraged to apply by contacting our intake specialist, Ms. Adlyn Colon. Her contact info is as follows: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 413-534-3741. Or you can contact me directly @ 413-561-0254, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you'd like some flyers to share. We will also be featured in a virtual open house organized by our HCC coordinators for July 30th and August 27th. Orgs like career readiness trainings programs we partner with. ~VIRTUAL OPEN HOUSE for ABE~July 30, and Aug 27 at 10 a.m and 6 p.m. HPS Opportunity AcademyCare CenterCommunity Education ProjectHCC Adult Learning CenterHCC Workforce ProgramsHCC Jump Start

Chief Febo: Holyoke Police Department

Holyoke PD is a model department for departments across the country. Trying not to get caught up around the negativity surrounding the police. Staying positive! Wants to be good partners to everybody.

Cindy Stovall: Springfield Family Resource Center

Runs an open pantry site 3 days per week at the Springfield Family Resource Center. Everyone is welcome. Drive-thru pantry, so you will have to call in so we can get information. Open Mon., Thurs., and Fri. from 10:30-3:00. Call the Springfield Family Resource Center 413-733-7699. You don’t have to be a Springfield resident to come to the pantry.

Cynthia Espinosa: City of Holyoke Social Services Emergency Response Team

Weekly meetings on Fridays at 2pm to look at First response when it comes to mental health.

Meet every Friday for next steps and future planning strategies. If interested I recommend people to join in. Will send a handout about social services available during COVID, will update this week intention to make it front and back in both English and Spanish. Feel free to email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 413-322-5655. Also will update the handout (front and back) for you all to use. Feel free to reach out if you want to be added on it. Stay hydrated everyone and thank you!

Dee Ward: Girls Inc.

Starting summer program. Starting virtual program on Monday for 4 weeks. Not taking registration for July program but gearing up to take registration for August and fall programs. Once it’s all put together will let Ed and everyone know about them.

Emmanuel Reyes: Career Development Counselor HCC ESOL Culinary

Recruiting for ESL culinary class. Program began yesterday, still accepting bi-lingual students and underemployed students.

and Line Cook Training:

Will help to obtain a job after successful completion of the program.

This is my phone number, +1 (413) 302-3871 if you need to get in contact with me directly.

Gina Nelson: St. Paul’s Church

Veterans Program closed because church is still closed have stayed in contact as much as possible. Directing Vets to Senior Center Lunch Program. Mobile Food Bank Site starting 7/14/20 (2nd & 4th Tuesday from 11-12pm) through food bank of W. Mass at St. Paul’s Church, 45 Appleton Street, Holyoke, MA. We welcome volunteers. Spread the word, Eddie has the flyer.

Glendalia Vargas: YWCA

No updates, just here to get resources and keep kids busy. I am the child support specialist at the YWCA domestic violence shelter. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I can use any and all resources for children and adults.

Greg Williams: Boy Scouts of Western Mass

Initiative to get scout programs in Holyoke but obviously they are on hold, looking forward to returning as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Jennifer Gonzalez-Morales: Holyoke Public Schools

Online enrollment for PreK-12th grade. Sent a link and a flyer in the chat. Families have questions about enrollment can call the hotline at 413-561-0862. Office is open but not to the public. People can call with questions. Families can email if looking for work permits, can be requested online and permits will be sent by email. Working with Ed on the Back to School planning committee. Looking for flyers to add to the backpacks for families, if you want to provide your agency information and what services you are providing, please send to my office at 57 Suffolk Street, Holyoke, MA and we will need 2000 copies, preferably bi-lingual copies if you have them, have a lot of families that speak Spanish only. I will put information about the flyer in the chat and I will also send to Ed to forward.

Also Pre-K spots available, so if families are interested, they can call the hotline as well. Child must be 3 or 4 years old on or before 9/1/20. HPS is enrolling student online. Web page is . Due to COVID-19 this year we are not hosting the Back to School event instead we are having 11 individual school events. We are not having community agencies tabling. If you want to share your agencies resource/information please send me 2000 copies of the brochure so we can add it to the backpacks. Send/drop-off at 57 Suffolk St. Holyoke MA 01040. If you are planning on dropping off the flyers/brochures please call ahead 413-512-5308.

Jesus Pereira – Holyoke Veterans Service Dept.

Crazy times. Still open via email or phone calls. Vets w/ financial hardship, food insecurities, rental problems will be connected to a resource. Call 413-322-5630, or email. Find information on website. Huge resource and can extend money pretty quickly do everything to set veterans up with benefits.

Jimmy Pickett: St. Paul’s Church

Partnering with Atkins Farms at St. Paul’s Church. Starting a monthly Farmers Market at the church, 3rd Saturday of every month. Farmers Market 12-3pm, 45 Appleton St. everyone is welcome. Accept cash, card Snap and WIC.   We’ve working with a group that Cynthia’s involved with…There’s Good Food in Every Hood to donate any leftover produce at the end of the market. Trying to increase food security to the city so if you want to learn more about what we’re up to check our Jeremiah’s Garden and Good Food in Every Hood on Facebook and I can share that information with Ed to get to everyone else. Next weekend on the 18th we will be having our market.

Joanne O’Toole: Homework House

Currently not using volunteers due to COVID. Free Summer program – our Lady of Guadalupe, 340 Chestnut Street for kids going into 2nd -5th grade 8:30-3pm until 8/7/20. Having a virtual trivia night (don’t have a date yet) – free for adults. Taking donations.

Josh Colon: Officer, Holyoke Police Dept. Community Officer

Continue to go out and offer outreach in South Holyoke and Churchill. Along with the Hampden County Sheriff’s Deputies that are assigned to the task force. We continue to do that on a daily basis and offer services to individuals who need recovery. That’s it for now.

Justin Chellman: Springfield Department of Health and Human Services

Quick question are you going to talk about the FB for the healing communities study today at all? I was just going to mention unfortunately that in Springfield and in Holyoke opiate overdoses have gone way up since the corona virus especially in the last few months and I was just thinking of going to plugging Narcan because obviously that people can get now can be a brief way of connecting folks to the resources on the Facebook page, Healing Communities Study, and getting people involved with this Narcan would be a really good push right now for that. The hospitals have been seeing double the amount they normally would see for overdoses, most of those are not fatal, which is great, but when they come to the hospital but then also Chicopee police and Springfield police have been reporting numbers much higher than they normally have prior to all this. So that aside, I also wanted to say that the Springfield Health Department has a Covid-19 hotline to basically answer statewide questions and local questions. We have a lot of local (City of Springfield) information about what the state is doing and the phases and all that and questions about the virus in general, what is does, that’s what folk from Holyoke and Chicopee and other communities have been calling in for. I’ll put the number in the chat but I’ll just say it now, its 413-750-3250. It’s staffed M-F 8:30-7pm and then on Saturday 9-5pm so if you have any questions – Holyoke, Chicopee, Springfield- you can call in for that and they’ll do their best to get you answers. And just from Chelsea, who I work with, just want to say thank you Ed for sharing the substance abuse prevention team parent perception survey a few weeks ago regarding substance abuse programming efforts so that we know what parents would like to see happen in the cities of Chicopee, Springfield and East Longmeadow, also trying to push that into Holyoke as well too. As far as I know, the Springfield schools websites have it on there with a link to the survey. Chicopee schools website has a link to the survey and I can put my contact in there as well for anybody who thinks that parents would like to talk about some programming they would like to see they can contact me and I can put them in contact with Chelsea.

LaShonda Stone: Department of Children and Families

Just wanted to underscore that the Volunteer Case Review program is one of the few opportunities where someone from the community is invited into making the decisions that are made on behalf of kids in care. When we have these foster care reviews, there are many ways we can serve our children. We are really asking for folks to come forward, folks that represent the community and be a part of the decision making on their behalf. So if you are interested. I also wanted you to know that we are also doing interviews remotely so the train keeps moving and so we really want to bring people in to participate. I can, I guess put in the chat box more information and the link to apply online and that’s it. Additional information about the program via the following link

Our online application can be assessed here: Please feel free to reach out with any questions.

Laura Mackie: Springfield College

Thank you for the opportunity to be here. I am the new Assistant Director of Guild Education at Springfield College’s Department of Social Work. So we are still planning to have internships for MSW students in the fall and looking for any opportunities as we can whether it be remote or in person so I can put my information in the chat. I’m really looking forward to knowing as many of you as possible. Thank-you. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , working from home number is 802-497-7277. Hoping for opportunities to connect our wonderful graduate social work interns!

Madeline Fernandez – AISS, Hampden County Sheriff’s Department

I haven’t been to any of the meetings, due to my position and meetings that kind of fall on the same days but this is my first zoom meeting. I am the Ward 5 coordinator, Neighborhood Watch Coordinator working with Donahue School. I work for AISS, what do we do? We help anyone with any services out in the community, so we’re actually closed right now; we’ve been closed since 3/13/2020. We used to only help ex-offenders coming out of jail with services anything from MassHealth, to SNAP benefits, to employment leads, substance abuse, you name it. Now the Sheriff has opened it to anyone, so anyone you know that you’re working with or you feel needs help, we can do that over the phone right now until the Sheriff gives us the green light to open the doors. It’s a lot that we do, we do a lot of great stuff, so feel free to call me, you can call me at the office at AISS or if you don’t know how to reach me you can call Eddie, but I’ll just throw my number out there, 413-781-2850 x.8308 and there’s two Madeline’s here, so make sure you ask for Madeline Fernandez. Thank you.

Mark Swygert: Donahue School

I have a couple of HPS things. I want to reiterate what Jennifer said earlier about online registration. Especially if you have any young kids going to school for the first time this fall or anyone who has moved into the district, please help them make sure that they go and register online. School offices are now staffed, not open to the public, but most offices, most of the days if you want to contact them during regular office hours can call the office if you have school specific questions for Holyoke Public Schools. Also I want to make everyone aware, I’m sorry if I’m stepping on your toes, but there was a survey sent to all families on behalf of our district, we are trying to get a good sense of what families are planning for as far as sending their students back. If you work with any families, please encourage them to fill out that survey. It should only take 5 minutes and it’ll be available on the Holyoke Public School website. It’ll be posted on social media as well. That will need to be completed by the 15th, so please encourage any families that have students in the Holyoke Public Schools to complete that survey that will help us for our planning for August.

MaryAnn Linnehan: West Mass Eldercare

I am the Community Action Supervisor relatively new just came on board just before Covid started but I have learned a lot about the Holyoke area and all the different services provided. Shout out to the Holyoke Police Department for providing tons of toiletries to our consumers and AT surgical down in Holyoke also for helping us to provide 2,000 masks to each and everyone of our consumers. We have more than we need and that was great. We are still open, fully staffed and trying to do whatever we can via video and telephone, but we are visiting some of our consumers that are in need and again we are still connecting with them trying to keep them safe. But again if you need anything from me I am the new Community Action Supervisor, thanks for all you do for us Ed – you give me lots of good information.

Nathalie Vicencio: Wayfinders

Hi everyone, happy to be able to see everyone, it’s been a long time. Just reminding everyone that I’m here to provide any type of housing counseling and support to people that are experiencing a housing crisis and also reminding people that Wayfinders received a substantial amount of money to help people experiencing any Covid-19 related delays in regards to rental payments, any homeowners that are behind on mortgage payments can also apply. People can apply for these services in English and Spanish and any type of housing issues. I’m also happy to help people and guide them on their rights. I’ve added my number to the chat. Feel free to share my mobile number 413-222-0048 with clients looking for housing resources, financial assistance and information about their tenant rights. We also counsel property owners on their responsibilities and obligations.

Nayroby Rosa-Soriano-Director of Community Engagement, One Holyoke

One Holyoke has been busy; we haven’t closed, so we continue to provide service to our tenants. We have apartments throughout Holyoke and we have an elderly building which every month I have been providing groceries for and things like that, so they are able to stay safe in their homes. So we’ve been going to Margaret’s Pantry and every month we’ve been bringing them groceries. We’ve also received some stuff from W. Mass Eldercare and from the Senior Center on hygiene products and toilet paper for the elderly that we’ve been bringing to them. One Holyoke received a grant from the Mass Census Equity Fund, as well as, from the Secretary of State and with this grant we’ve been able to work closely with folks in the community to get our response rates better. Currently right now, Mass is at 64%, Holyoke is at 57% and the US is at 61% so we’re doing pretty good in Mass, we should be doing a little better in Holyoke. We have set up some mobile QAC’s which are Question and Answer Centers. We’re going to be available for folks in the city in different locations from Enlace, to C-Town to Margaret’s Pantry to Kate’s Kitchen so you’ll see census folks there if people need help filling out their census. We will be at these different locations on different day to be able to provide support. We were at the Farmers Market last week and had 11 people filled out their census form right with us, right there. So please send them our way!! If anybody has any issue with filling out their census, we also are doing a raffle for people who fill it out they get access to receive a $50 gift card for doing their census and inform One Holyoke of it. So pretty neat and they get a lot of goodies too, backpacks, water bottles, things like that.

We are kicking off our Clean Up campaign finally; we were a recipient of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). We are going to be kicking off our clean-up campaign on 7/25/20. Ed, I will send you the press release, as well as, the flyers this afternoon. We will start cleaning on 7/25/20. One Holyoke will clean the 4th Saturday of the month, a different street in the Flats. Looking for other organizations that want to set up a clean-up. We will provide all the cleaning supplies, we will make sure that the trash is picked up; we just need organizations to sign up and be able to pick a street in Holyoke and clean it up. We did last year, now of course, continue to use safety guidelines, make sure people wear masks, no more than 10 people things like that. So just following those guidelines and we should still be able to clean the city. Also kicking off a show, a virtual show. Calling it One Holyoke Goes Viral. A lot of information around community engagement what we’re doing and things of that nature. So look for that show, it’s going to be posted this week and then we’ll be putting a show every week. And finally, we will be kicking off our City that Reads campaign with a Read Aloud program. We were hoping to do pod casting and interview folks but our Flats community building, our Center for the Community is currently closed for the public, only providing training for census hired folks and some individual trainings. We are going to be collaborating with different companies that are trying to have a space for training, which they can utilize our space. If anybody is in need of that, you know our space holds about 200 people upstairs and downstairs and we can maintain a good amount of folks, maybe 10-12 people on each floor in keeping that distance needed for training. We have a smartboard, a projector on the 2nd floor as well so if you’re interested in that you can reach out to me. I’ll send my contact information with Ed. Thank you very much nice seeing everyone.

Pedro Alvarez: Tapestry

Syringe access & disposal, Narcan training & distribution, Screening and counseling for HIV, HEP C and STI’s, and a lot of Community Outreach.

I’ll start by saying we have a new location in Holyoke, so we have moved from our 15A Main Street location to a couple blocks down on Race St. 306 Race on the corner of Race & Cabot. Same building where we have sexual reproductive health clinic, soft hand off in case someone gets tested and we need to send them to the clinic. Because of Covid, we have scaled back on some of our services. Beginning 7/20/20, we will be offering screening & counseling. So we will start the testing back up HIV, Hep C & STI’s. We haven’t been doing it since Covid hit, but we’re starting to open back up. We’re definitely taking precautions and wearing the required PPE and having discussions with participants when they come in about certain safety precautions we’re taking. But we are offering screening & counseling on Mon & Wed. 8-2pm beginning 7/20/20. Scheduling a community syringe pick-up on Saturday 7/11/20. We do these periodically when the weather is nicer, in Holyoke, the 2nd Saturday of every month. We ask community members to volunteer and join us on some syringe pick-ups in the community. It a great opportunity for members of the community to learn a little more about the program, ask questions of staff and get to know what we do for work a little more. There are a lot of misconceptions about some of the work that we do, so it’s a good opportunity to add Q & A with some of the staff members. Providing vaccinations for Hep A, Hep B and meningitis every Thursday doing that remotely. Have a mobile unit going through certain areas of Holyoke trying to engage the community and we’re providing vaccinations for Hep A, Hep B and meningitis. Scaled back on some of the services we provide due to Covid. But we do have virtual Narcan trainings available for individuals or agencies. Please reach out, we can provide Narcan in bulk for agencies. Have a mobile service where individuals can call and we’ll come to them. 413-270-3277. That’s it for Tapestry. I’m also a member of the Community Advisory Board for the Healing Community Study, part of the communications team.   Have posters to hang in the community that deal with healing community studies, how to obtain Narcan, providing MOUD’s.

Rafael Rodriguez: Healing Community Study Holyoke Coalition

Involved in a 4 state study which includes Massachusetts, Kentucky, Ohio and New York. We are in Phase 1 of the starting process. Just submitted rules of our action plan, strategies and trying to implement things such as MAT’s, easier access to MAT’s, getting outreach workers, finding better ways to support and reaching our goals of decreasing overdose deaths by 40% within our community. Involved in all facets of this and all parts of the subcommittees so if there is anyone willing, trying to reduce the stigma of MOUD’s, trying to make Narcan accessible and destigmatize it as much as possible because everyone has an active role in supporting this community and saving a life. Anyone willing to be involved can reach out to me or Eddie.

Ron Thompson: Cross Point Clinical Services

Offers faith based mental health counseling. We are open and have stayed open. Patients receiving clinical care via telephone and computers worked out well. Some patients actually prefer, less stress of having to drive somewhere. Want to echo Bishop Boyd’s comments about the fact that there is great need out there. Really urge everyone to keep close eye on all of their constituents in this particular area. We have added clinicians along the way to keep up with the community need. We have also opened an additional office. Besides the clinical care, we offer, we also do some other services just launched recently a brand new health and wellness program, all web based, called Purpose Posse. You can find out about our services including Purpose Posse on our website –

Sean Garvey: Deputy, Hampden County Sheriff’s Department

Works closely with Josh Colon and other deputies, Josh covered the bases so I will pass.

Sophie Maki: Massachusetts Fair Housing Center

Physical office in Holyoke is closed. Everyone is working remotely. People are welcome to call – information in the chat box. Anyone with experience in housing discrimination, are welcome to submit a complaint to us. Recent case of someone who was the victim of a scam. Landlord had them pay money, gave them the keys to the apartment and the keys did not work. If you know anyone with section 8 voucher and looking to move, we can provide counseling or advice about the moving process. Information in the chat. If someone has experienced housing discrimination they can contact our office at (413) 539-9796 or online at Additionally, we’d like to provide counseling to anyone with a Section 8 voucher who is looking to move. If anyone has any questions for me personally, they can reach me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Stephanie Garcia: Holyoke Public Schools

Survey for families to update their contact information. Want to make sure we have the right contact information. Phone numbers and emails.

Silvia Ruiz: Fallon Health & Navicare

Still open and out there enrolling and getting great benefits for the ages 65 and older population. Chair for the Metro West Conference for Women. Just formed first conference board in Pioneer Valley. Our parent company is called She’s Local ( Looking to have a conference for women, and it’s women from your own community to acknowledge women and their efforts and what they have done to sort of join forces and it’s an opportunity for networking. It’s a one day event. We’re looking to have the event Spring 2021. Right now the conference Metro-West, this is my fourth year, and we have sold out conferences and over 100 people are on the waiting list. We do 600 women and it’s an amazing event. Looking for people who would like to be a part of this whether you want to be sponsors, looking for folks to be part of one of our committees. The way we form our conference is we ask everyone to join what we call an open meeting and we do that virtual and we base it on what you want. The five local committees we do have are: communication, outreach, speakers, sponsorship and exhibitors. This year for the first time we’re having our virtual conference. Looking forward to it. Think it’s something needed, we’re not taking away from any other women conferences going on in Hampden County. Price per person is $52, breakfast, lunch and break-out sessions. All local women!! Fortunate to have the only man on the board and it is Ed. Ed has contact information. Looking for volunteers. Great opportunity for women to join forces and acknowledge someone.

Vida Zavala: Community Education Project

Taking over the Holyoke tutor mentor coordinator position. Revamping the program now merged with the community education project. Working on more outreach, and using all of your references and help to publicize new changes and recruit some more volunteers. Planning on expanding our volunteer base which currently consists mainly of tutors and mentors that are supporting teachers. Hoping to include other types of volunteer opportunities to enable other members of the community to become involved. Will publicize through flyers and outreach.


Yesenia Cruz: Adcare Hospital (Alcohol and Drug Care)

Offer telehealth services, Offering intensive outpatient programming, early recovery groups, Individual and Family Counseling, Support for family members at the office via phone and meetings for groups.

Transportation provided if there’s a bed available for detoxing. Will travel from here to NY, southern VT, southern ME and NH.

Free family support virtual set 3rd Wednesday of every month for families struggling with someone that has an addiction. Can speak to a licensed clinician to get support.

Marisol Guevara: Springfield College

Springfield College, Regional, Online and Continuing Education department has been serving adult students in the region for more than 35 years. As graduates, they are leaders in human service organizations throughout the region, strengthening communities and improving lives with an emphasis on social and economic justice.  Busy adults have an opportunity to take courses on the weekends, online, and in the evenings.  Please attend our next virtual information session on Saturday, July 18th from 1-2.  To RSVP Contact Marisol Guevara at (413) 271-7692 or by email.


Angela Callahan: River Valley Counseling Center

RVCC's Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (A-CRA) Program is accepting new clients. The Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (A-CRA) Program is brief, intensive, evidenced based treatment for 12-24 year olds to support substance use recovery. A-CRA is a minimum of 10-14 sessions, which includes 1-4 sessions with Parent/Caregiver. Therapeutic groups will be an additional intervention offered during treatment to support peer connection, education and skill building/practice. For more information, please contact Amanda Hichborn at (413)540-1137 or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

This fall, RVCC will be partnering with the Westfield School District to provide School-based Therapy throughout Westfield Schools. Currently RVCC partners with Holyoke, Chicopee, Easthampton, Granby, Amherst, Hadley, Hatfield, South Hadley, Springfield, and East Longmeadow school districts to provide School-based Therapy Services. During COVID-19, RVCC has continued to provide services via telehealth.

River Valley Counseling Center (RVCC) is excited to announce that we will be holding our 5th Annual Golf Tournament on Friday, September 18, 2020 at the East Mountain Country Club in Westfield. We're on par and going fore it! As we stay the plan of course for this year’s tournament, we invite you to consider joining us as a sponsor, golfer, or by donating an item towards our raffle. Registration is $100 and includes golf, golf cart, goody bag, lunch, and dinner. Click on the following links for the Registration form and Sponosrship Opportunities form. For more information visit


Sierra Forney: MSPCC

MSPCC in Holyoke continues to service families through telehealth during the COVID crisis. We are currently accepting referrals with immediate openings for In-Home Therapy, and Therapeutic Mentoring (*Please note: Current CANS, COMP, IAP are needed when making TM referrals.) We also have only a 1-2 week waitlist for Outpatient Therapy services at this time. Referrals can be made by phone (413) 532-9446, fax 413-534-0047, or online at

If there are any questions or in need of assistance making a referral, they can reach out to Sierra Forney, at 781-698-5462, or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Ed Caisse: Hampden County Sheriff’s Dept.

Back to School Event:

Not doing large back to school event. Looking to do many of them in several different schools in Holyoke. Looking for 11 different events, events will go from 8/20/20 – 9/10/20. More to come, look out for email.

Healing Community Study:

Asking for agencies support

Study is trying to reduce opioid deaths by 40%

Lots of other issues in Holyoke around substance abuse

Issues youth are faced with either come from one or two of the folks living in their households that are actually using some sort of substances

Did a 2 1/2 month Narcan distribution plan in terms of getting information out to the Holyoke Community. Asked agency representatives, if you have lists and you service folks in Holyoke consider helping getting the information in the hands of those people in Holyoke that probably need it the most. Want to get Narcan training and Narcan in the hands of every family that might have someone in their families using drugs, so we can prevent the overdose. Many of our ultimate goals is to try to reach folks using drugs and try to develop a relationship with them and to get them to turn away from using drugs and get them the help and support they need. When you see emails from the Healing Community Study, forward the information to the folks that you are servicing in Holyoke, so we can get this information in the hands of those that need it the most.

Getting ready to kick off our Stigma Campaign

Campaign is important because some people don’t want to get treatment or go to counseling, because of the stigma attached to it.

Help get stigma information out there.

Graphics on posters may make them feel more comfortable in terms of reaching out to an agency that can actually help them with their substance use issues.

So if you have large distribution lists, please forward the information out to those people and then ask them to forward, to get in the hands of all the people in Holyoke, so we can make a great impact to try to get people to get off of opioids and get off of substance use and prevent overdose deaths.

Melissa White: Valley Opportunity Council

Valley Opportunity Council is open for business but business looks different. Please feel free to reach out to me (Melissa white) for more information about our programs or about potential referrals. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Back To School Events / Supply Drive                                                    2:20pm - 2:25pm

We are looking to collect 2,000 of (18) different items to place in backpacks to be give out to 2,000 Holyoke youth during one of our back to school events.

We are still in need of the items below:



Eraser Caps

Glue Sticks

If any agency wants to donate a number of any of the items below, please contact Ed at the contact information below:

Old Business / New Business

  • Next Meeting is Thursday, August 13th (Zoom)

Close Meeting                                                                                                2:40pm

Contact Information:

Edward Caisse

Hampden County Sheriff’s Department

(413) 858-0225

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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She's Local Open Meeting: 12/3/20

The Pioneer Valley She’s Local Team is looking for women in the Pioneer Valley to get involved.  Please consider joining an Open Meeting on Thursday, December 3rd at 6:30pm.  It is very important to hear from the women in the Pioneer Valley about what they feel are the topics that should be presented at the upcoming conference.  It is equally important to hear about local women that could potentially be speakers at the conference.

Please click on the link below and register to receive the Pioneer Valley Conference for Women Newsletter.

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