Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative

Meeting Notes

Date:   January 9, 2020

Time:   1:00pm to 2:30pm

Place:   Holyoke Public Library

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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        

Mara Shulman: Mental Health Advocacy Program for Kids     1:05pm - 1:20pm

Staff Attorney, Health Law Advocates

Mara and talked about the many services that their program offers. They are located in seven counties across the commonwealth. They begin to improve special education services; secure and or coordinate community based mental health services. Collaborate with DCF, DMH and Department of Developmental Services. They advocate for general education accommodations and assist with health insurance coverage.

In 2015 Boston University’s School of Public Health conducted a 2 year study on the efficacy of Mental Health Advocacy Program (MHAP) for Kids.

The results showed that MHAP engagement improved school attendance and decreased use of emergency mental health services by children, impatient hospitalizations of children, stays in residential facilities and emergency shelters. Study also showed an improved overall mental health of child, reduced parental rates of depression and stress.

To start an intake contact (617) 338-5241 or fill out an intake form.   The intake paralegal will ask for basic information surrounding your household along with detailed description of problem(s) experienced. If you are determined to meet criteria an attorney will contact you as soon as possible.

Mara concluded with playing a testimony called ‘Tristan’s Story’ which summarized the work of MHAP.

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

Sergio Vicente: Masshire

Offices located at 850 High Street - have admission counselor from Job Corp who is there every Tuesday and Thursday. Employment opportunities available for youth who live in Mass Housing Finance Agencies Recruiting youth for Ma Housing. They are currently working towards summer opportunities and hoping to partner with agneicies to place youth in employment positions for the summer program.

Nathalie Vicencio: Wayfinders

Wednesday, 1/22/20 from 1-2:30 and 1/29/20 for a fair housing presentation by Nathalie. You will learn basic fair housing rights under federal and state law and how to identify discrimination in housing transactions.

Rondey Allen: Crosspoint Clinical Services

Specialize in Christian based counseling, accept most insurance. Practice evidence based counseling along with create environment where counselors are trained in faith based services. Educate pastors and reduce stigma surrounding mental health. Anger management group for men, Respect 101, beginning 1/11/20 8-9:30am. 10 sessions. They also have next Pastor Luncheon, 2/20/20.

Nayroby Rosa Soriano: One Holyoke CDC

Nayroby talked about employment fair for Census 2020 on 1/22/20 from 4-7 pm at 43 Canal Street in Holyoke.

Adlyn Colon: HCC/PAFEC

Offering classes at HCC for Cannabis Education on 1/16, 1/23, 2/6, 2/27, and 4 /30/20 from 6-9pm.

Bishop Boyd: NAMI

Mental health support for quality of life improvement. Bring awareness to mental illness by community outreach and presentations at schools and local organizations.

Migdalia Rivera: Caregiver Homes

Migdalia talked about the services provided in home for case management. First Wednesday of month they meet at Holyoke Senior Center.

Susan Ventura: Golden Years Homecare

Home Healthcare Services to assist with daily living activities, entrench themselves within the community, looking to train and hire local individuals who are familiar with the community and its members. Train on site for all individuals. Looking to get involved with community work involving seniors and youth to bring the two together and build relationships.

They are looking to hire LPNs, CNAs, HHAs and will educate and certify on in-house professional training program. Contact Susan Ventura at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Shannon Sarkisian: HCC

Interested in connecting with individuals who may be nervous to begin transition to college. Willing to work directly with youth and assist them personally, could be a “one stop shop”. Folks over 60 can take credits for $50 beginning January 14th.

Jose Bou: Holyoke Public Schools

Trying to create spaces to talk about search for new Holyoke Public School Superintendent.

Katelyne Tiffany: Western Mass Eldercare

Provide brochures, provide care to elders and service providers. Public health institute/Baystate received grant for electronic resource database. Spoke about agencies going to the database on-line and claiming their program. If the program is not yet listed in the database, you can add it.

Angela Callahan: RVCC

Started group focused young children that experienced loss on Mondays 4-5pm, flyer passed out. They have also started a therapeutic writing program for victims of sexual abuse in Chicopee.

Sophie Schouboe: Food Bank of Western Mass

Passed around flyer for SNAP benefits and how to see eligibility. Income is just one of the eligibility factors considered. Call 1 800 247 9632 for more information. They are able to help folks fill out the application for Snap benefits over the phone, both in English and Spanish. They are looking for young folks and hosting a volunteer session on 2/4 from 5:30pm to 8pm.

Angel Coriano: Homework House

Angel was recently hired as a program director of a Homework House. They engage youth between 1-4 grades. They are looking to hire two part time staff.

Angie Savageau: HCSD Grant Coordinator

Angie introduced herself as being the contact for the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department if other agencies are looking to partner on a grant.

Azizah Yasin: Holyoke District Court

Working towards diversion program for individuals who struggle with substance use and have come into contact with the criminal justice system. Looking to bring clinicians to the court house, to address issues and work towards becoming positive, constructive members of the community and our families. Looking to implement this in several stages within the criminal justice structure and process. Overall goal is to help with sobriety outside of incarceration.

Cass Pastorelle: Eagle Eye Institute

Partner with youth and schools for individuals to connect with the natural world through hands on experiences. Looking for new partners to work with, currently in 3rd year of working with Dean Campus. Connecting with nature will further one’s ability to connect with self, others, and leadership roles. Please reach out if interested, work in Holyoke and Berkshire areas. Offer teen internship during summer. Currently recruiting Americore member specific for land conservation, full-time paid position for January – July to expand program offering.

Jim Pickett: St Paul’s Episcopal Church

They are always looking to collaborate with other agencies. They have started services on Thursday nights at 6pm in Spanish. Also looking to start community garden.

Veronica White: Teen Librarian Holyoke Public library

Veronica introduced herself as the new Teen Librarian. Looking to collaborate with other agencies on youth engagement.

Sandy Ward: Holyoke Public Library

Annual mini-golf event will be held on April 4th, 2020. Currently looking for volunteers and sponsors for the event. It will be $5 admission for ages 6 and up and those under the age of 6 are free. They are offering foosball this year.

Katie Roberts: Clean Slate

Offering medical assisted treatment (MAT) for opiate/alcohol addiction. They also assist with Hepatitis C treatment. The have evening hours, but are closed on weekends. They take self pay or insurance.

Jose Montalvo: Clean Slate

Asked agencies to refer those that are struggling with addiction, because the opiet crisis is bad, there have been many overdoses.

Erica Matos: Top Flight Nutrition

Recently opened nutrition program on Dwight St. Passed around flyer and cards.

Thais Rivera: CPM

Works with DTA to find employment and to make career connections. Young parent program for 14 -24 in English/Spanish. Transition to College programs. Work with employers for job placement and offer wrap around services. Passed around flyer and cards.

Alyssa Lajoie: NEFWC

Offer HI Set & GED prep classes for individuals 16-24, classes are offered in both English and Spanish. Accepting referrals.

Debbie Gonzalez: Hope for Holyoke

Serving adults 18 and over in recovery. Services are offered all week including weekends. They have approximately 50 clients a day looking for support.   5th Anniversary of Hope for Holyoke and will be giving Partnership Awards.


Melissa Daniels: Hope for Holyoke

Recovery coach offering services.

James Maloney: Hope for Holyoke

Looking to collaborate with other agencies and can give presentations surrounding Gambling prevention. 2 ambassadors from Pittsfield to Holyoke.

Jasarah Burgos: Holyoke Public Schools

2 family resource centers at Morgan and Peck Schools. Looking to engage community.

Dean Santiago: Peck School

Parent workshop for those who have kids with behavior challenges and how to identify source of behavior, passed out flyers. Also offering Facilitator Workshop on 1/14/20 from 12:30-3pm at Peck school.

Luis Arzola: CHD

In library every Thursday from 10-2, facilitates resume building, employment search, can use the computer lab at the library. Assist in resume building and completing applications. Also offer nurturing fathers program, work with males on how to be a nurturing fathers. 265-9950. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

David McCoy: HSNI Outreach Coordinator

Engage with community in springtime to participate in clean-ups, along with knocking on doors to connect with community members to find out what services may be needed.

Jaime Santiago: MSPCC

Opening Therapeutic mentor program for children that have experienced trauma, have a short waiting list.

Shawn Garvey: HCSD

Working in collaboration with Holyoke Police department Monday-Friday.

Glenda Vargas: DV Shelter

Emergency shelter for sex trafficking survivors and victims of domestic violence. They have case manager working with you and are looking to hire.

Flor Diaz: VOC

Diaper bank is coming along at 300 High Street, planning a grand opening and hoping to open on February 14th, still accepting donations. Inviting partners to come take a tour of the facility, she will send out information.

Yashira Luna: HCS Headstart

Recently opened two facilities and are enrolling in both Holyoke and Springfield.

Kim Colwell: Girls Inc.

After school and summer program have openings, they are open even when schools are closed.

Laura Soderbaum: Holyoke Housing Authority

Mentioned that Holyoke Housing will be starting a development in South Holyoke. They will be holding an informational meeting at El Mercado on January 22nd at 6pm.

Debbie Schaier: Nurse, Holyoke Board of Health

Mentioned the importance of the Hep A vaccine for adults, especially the homeless population. They are looking to engage some of the homeless to focus on disease prevention. Flu is on the rise in Holyoke, encouraged folks to get vaccinated, which will be available up until March.

Family Fun Night at Morgan School: 1/17/20 5pm to 7pm         2:20pm - 2:25pm

Old Business / New Business

  • Next Meeting is Thursday, February 13th at 1:00pm Holyoke Public Library
  • All-Star Game at the Basketball Hall of Fame: 1/22 5pm to 9pm

Close Meeting                                                          2:30pm

 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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COVID-19 Resources

Click on the following links to find resources about coronavirus (COVID-19) to help individuals, people with substance use disorders and in recovery, providers, the justice system, communities, and states across the country:

Haga clic en los siguientes enlaces para encontrar recursos sobre coronavirus

(COVID-19) para ayudar a individuos, personas con trastornos por uso de sustancias y en recuperación, proveedores, el sistema de justicia, comunidades y estados de todo el país:

Website: HealTogetherMA.org/Holyoke

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