Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative
Date: April 12, 2018
Time: 1:00pm to 2:30pm
Place: Holyoke Public Library
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
Chakai Duany and Sarah Page (Way Finders) 1:05pm - 1:20pm
Chakai and Sarah gave an overview of their work with Way finders and the Resident Leadership Program. It is a program to help you become an empowered and confident leader in the city of Holyoke. It provides tools and techniques to develop and enhance leadership skills of anyone interested in building a stronger neighborhood community. They have graduated 49 people in 3 years under their 5 week curriculum. The next leadership cycle begins on 5/9/18. To view the video from the presentation from Way Finders, click on the link below:
Agency Overview and Updates 1:20pm - 2:20pm
Sasha Espinoza: Career Point
Accepting applications for summer employment opportunities ages 14-21 from 4/9/18 to 4/20/18 at 850 High Street between 3-5pm. Started new initiatives DBI 7 targeted to youth with disabilities. Summer Youth Job Fair, Tuesday, April 17th, 2018 1pm-3pm at Holyoke City Hall Annex 536 Dwight Street, Holyoke. Contact Gladys Lebron-Martinez (413) 322-7143.
Yessenia Sanchez: Boston Medical Center Health Net Plan
Alice Buckner: Westover Job Corp
Westover Job Corps is looking for SERIOUS young people who can make it in apprentice careers, looking for referrals of self-directed, more serious referrals. They have open slots to obtain jobs from $21 per hour to $40 per hour.
Rachel Dowd: Holyoke Public Library
Deidre Murphy: MSPCC
Iohann Vega: Gandara
Iohann gave brief overview of the many services Gandara offers on Race Street in Holyoke surrounding computer literacy and technology. He continued to say that they are developing young people to grow professionally in the field of journalism and media literacy through program called Radio Plasma. They are hiring an intern with educational background to work on a paid position on media literacy.
Saul Caban: Career Point
Talked about his work as a job developer with Career Point and recent grant received for Puerto Rico disaster relief.
Maureen Groden: UMASS Nursing
Looking for nursing students to be placed in sites to provide important experience in the field. They have been paired up in schools with nurses looking for interns.
Melvin Malave: ROCA
Melvin talked about the work of ROCA securing a space at 384 High Street in Holyoke. He continued to say that ROCA is accepting referrals from proven risk young men between the ages of 17-24 from Holyoke.
Maritza Martinez: CFCE
Maritza announced that their name has changed but will still incorporate the CFCE acronym. They are now Holyoke Chicopee Coordinated Family and Community Engagement. They provide quality education programming.
Parenting Group will be offered free in a 6 week workshop for families with children ages birth – 8 years old on Monday from 1-2pm at the Holyoke Boys and Girls Club, 70 Nick Cosmos Way. Parent and Child programs are every Wednesday at 250 Chestnut Street in H Holyoke from 10-11am for children 0-5 years old. Ready for School Learning Group is every Thursday from 2-3pm at 206 Maple Street in Holyoke which will offer child development and school readiness activities for children 0-5 years old. Story time at McDonald’s is every Tuesday at McDonald’s (285 Maple St in Holyoke) 2:30-3pm for children 0-5 years old. Contact Maritza if transportation is needed to attend or for more information (413) 536-0363 x5643.
Dori Digenti: Breathing Space Yoga & Mindfully
They will be offering a mindful eating class on Wednesdays, 5/2, 5/9, 5/16, and 5/23 from 7-8:30. For info and registration visit Breathingspaceholyoke.com or contact Dori at (413) 437-0747.
Nelson Roman: Ward 2 City Councilor/ Nueva Esparanza
Nelson talked about the great collaboration with the Holyoke Police Department and Ed Caisse of the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department in response to a bullet found in the side of Morgan School. They were able to put together a Community Event and explore issue.
Innovation week will start 4/22/18 from 1-5pm at Train Station. 5/1/18 will be the ribbon cutting for the Opening of the Puerto Rican Culture Project. 6/10/18 is the 35th anniversary Guayabera Gala, will have featured speakers: Luis Morales, Sus Amigos, Lili Nicole. It will be $50 a ticket, includes Dinner, will have cash bar, DJ, and silent auction. Doors open at 6pm at Mill 1 at Open Square in Holyoke.
Announced that the ‘Taste of South Holyoke’ will be held on Saturday, 9/22/18.
Alison Proctor: Springfield Health Department
Meeting tomorrow, 4/13/18, at Providence Hospital from 10am-12pm.
Veronica Garcia: WGBY
Presencia returns for its 3rd season on WGBY Primetime. They feature stories from our Latino Community on Thursdays at 7:30pm. Tonight will feature Latinos vs. Hispanic stereotypes.
Bongani Jeranyama: MA Attorney General’s Office
On 4/30/18, the Office of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy will be offering a summit on immigration and economic security. It will be at Clark University, 4/30/18, from 9am-12pm in Worcester. For more info and to RSVP, visit, bit.ly/agosummit2018.
Ed Caisse introduced Tony Pettaway from the Springfield Department of Public Health. He explained that Tony has collaborated with us and was our MC for our recent recent all-star game hosted by the Basketball Hall of Fame which featured an appearance by Travis Best. Ed thanked both Tony for brining Travis Best to our all-star game and explained the kids loved seeing Travis at the event.
Travis Best: Travis Best Foundation
Travis talked about his foundation and living in Atlanta for the last 25 years and recently moving back to Western Ma.
Chief Jame Neiswanger: Holyoke Police Department
The Chief commended the work of ROCA and officially welcomed them to Holyoke. He also talked about the recent exposure of Fentanyl to one of his officers.
Sandra Ramos: Foodbank
Sandra is the SNAP coordinator and is looking to have more outreach with community.
Alison Zolotor: DCF
Alison talked about DCF and her work with the adoption unit.
Freddy Dejesus: Gandara
Works with child behavioral health initiative; Monday - Saturday 9am-8pm for youth 16-21.
Alejandra Torres: HCSD
Family Fun Night on 4/27/18 at Morgan School 5-7pm. She is looking for volunteers.
Ashley Berrios and Dannysha Median: Dean Tech
Seniors at Dean Tech that are doing tours for the local elementary schools that will be freshman next year. They will be having a tour tomorrow, 4/13/18, with Alan Gates.
Jaime Cotto: Dean Tech
Cotto talked about the merge with Holyoke High and that Dean Tech will be considered Holyoke High South Campus. They anticipate a high enrollment and that they will have a waiting list for admission.
Sandy Ward: Holyoke Public Library
Thanked everyone for their participation/sponsorship with their Mini Golf fundraiser on 4/6/18 and 4/7/18. Holyoke Fire Department sponsored a ride on their truck.
Laura Banks: River Valley Counselling Center
9 week module curriculum for ages 15-19 in sex education. She has been to local high schools and career centers and would be willing to come out to agencies/organizations.
Tamaara Gheit: Odyssey House
Received a grant for homeless and are looking to partner with landlords/housing to assist in providing opportunities for 6 individuals.
Gary Coombs: Clearway Clinic
They offer pre-natal health care and are opening a location by the casino in Springfield. They are currently looking to hire 2 nurses.
Kim Colwell: Girls Inc.
Enrolling Ages 5-12 for their summer program which includes science and technology, literacy, health and wellness, sports activities, field trips and fun. Contact Kim Colwell, Director of Elementary School Programs at (413) 538-7142.
Sarah Pennington: MSPCC
They work with children that have been sexually abused. Currently run 2 groups: Superskills ages 8-11 from 9am – 1pm. Caregiver group is for parents and meets on Wednesday nights to discuss how they can support children. They screen for both groups.
Illeana Cintron: Holyoke Public Schools
Math learning is priority for Holyoke Public Schools based on latest test results. They have also started Family Book Clubs in 4 schools in which 3 are in Spanish and 1 in English. Meeting will be on May 1st at Holyoke Library from 5-7pm. They have started a Parent Power Summit to assist parents to confidently boost their child’s math skills. New date will be Thursday, May 3rd from 5-8pm at Holyoke High School. Program is free and will serve light dinner starting at 4:30. Transportations can be provided upon request by April 30th. Registration and program: http://bit.ly/2dw3vge . Pre-K registration is open along with summer learning programs.
Katalina Melendez: Picknelly Center
Katalina talked about some of the programs currently being offered which are free of charge at the Picknelly Center: Pre College level classes, Transition to college, Computer literacy, College and Career exploration. Thanked everyone for the amount of referrals she has received from this meeting. They are recruiting for all levels of classes.
Dave McCoy: Outreach Coordinator
When weather breaks they will start their outreach efforts to community. They are looking to get the resources to the community by addressing their areas of need. Come out and visit them on Thursdays with the Holyoke Mobile Police Unit.
Alvilde Sophia: Institute of Puerto Rican Culture
Ambassador of Puerto Rico Culture at the Wistariahurst Museum. Challenged everyone to explore the museum and to bring children for experience. Doing guided tours next Tuesday, please bring children. They will be having Rafael Rodriguez Cruz, author of the book, El Gran Siempie as he speaks of the roots in Guayama, Puerto Rico. It will be Tuesday April 17th, 6-8pm. Transplant a house from Puerto Rico to this house. She is a muralist and has done work all over the county along with being a Professor at Cambridge College in Springfield.
Rafael Santos: HCSD AISS
Rafael passed around information on AISS and explained his role with the HCSD which is to help guys transition back to the community. He is facing many issues currently surrounding a license with the new state regulations that have been implemented if an individual does not have a birth certificate.
Rafael transitioned into his work with neighborhood watch and implementing a lot of what he has learned into his work with the schools. He has designed a program with Lawrence School that incorporates parents playing basketball with their kids after school. He continued to say that program has done well and is continuing to grow. They will have event on 5/24 at Lawrence and another on 6/14 at Holyoke Boys and Girls Club.
Gustavo Romero: One Holyoke CDC
Starting a new campaign called #2k18 for any community clean ups in Holyoke. He passed around flyer for Saturday, 4/28, 5/19 and 6/16.
Back To School Event (Video and Packets) 2:20pm - 2:25pm
Ed displayed a short video from last year's back to school event and passed out some sponsorship packets for this year's event. Ed explained that the Back to School Event is a great collaboration of agencies and the business community working together and hopes that everyone can assist with the fundraising for this year's event.
Old Business / New Business
Next Meeting is Thursday, May 10th at 1:00pm Holyoke Public Library
Close Meeting 2:30pm
Hampden County Sheriff’s Department
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