Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative

Meeting Notes

Date:   August 9, 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        

President of NAMI Western Mass, Bishop Neal Boyd                                                   1:05pm - 1:20pm

Bishop Boyd talked about the many people throughout history that have suffered from mental illness. The mission of NAMI is to improve the lives of individuals living with mental illness and their families. They serve Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties through education, advocacy and support. They run support groups out of their Agawam location (324A Springfield St) for individuals and families from 8:30am-3pm. All programs are offered at no cost to the public. 1 in 5 people are affected with a mental health condition and they welcome everyone to join and participate in their organization. Their goal is reach every organization and community in Western MA. They have many volunteer opportunities including in office, event planning, fundraising and more. They are also in need of interns. NAMI’S annual events are a fundraising opportunity for volunteers on their IRIS Project and Annual Walkathon. The funds received are critical to keeping office open.

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

Antonio Padilla: Holyoke Probation/Young Marines

Antonio talked about the Young Marines program and possible start date for boot camp of 9/6/18 or 9/13/18. They have approximately 20 enrolled and will cap enrollment at 30. They are looking for those between the ages of 8-17. They recently partnered with Baystate hospital on their mass casualty training of where they created a chemical spill scenario. Youth were able to participate in scenario and observe debrief with staff as they were critiqued in their response.

Seneida Torres: A Better Life Home Care

She organizes a vendor fairs and is looking for vendors to set up tables, she is looking for more locations throughout Western Ma. They service those of mixed ages, 22 years and older for their PCA program and 18 and over for their Skilled nursing program with personal care, homemaking, respite, and transportation.

Ana Jemiolo: Senior Care Options

Works as a nurse and 90% of patients that she works with are from Holyoke. Happy to be present at meeting and looking to network and find more resources.

Herman Wilkerson: AIC

Works in admissions at AIC and appreciates opportunity to attend meeting and network with other agencies. Talked about his upbringing in urban area and having the ability to offer those life options to those from similar backgrounds. He will be focusing outreach in Holyoke/Springfield area.

Miguel Arce: Springfield College

Miguel talked about having the same mission that Herman talked about from AIC. He is encouraged by the many agencies in attendance and finds it to be an honor to be amongst heroes.

Yingfeng Wang/Flor Diaz: VOC/WIC Holyoke/Chicopee

Valley opportunity Council offers many services around adult education: high-set and ESOL. They have other services such as fuel assistance and citizenship classes. HISET classes are Tuesday-Thursday 9:30-1pm and bridge to college is 5:30-8:45pm. They are free and they also have employment opportunities.

Christine Murphy: Paulo Friere Social Charter School

She is the new director of curriculum and is looking to enroll for all grades 9-12.

Sarah Pennington: MSPCC

Sarah talked about the survivor services offered by MSPCC to individuals, families and the community to promote recognition, understanding and recovery from the impact of traumatic victimization. She passed around Pop Culture flyer that explores heroines in popular movies, TV shows, and books who cope with trauma. Wednesday evenings 5-6:30pm 9/19-11/7. They also have Caregiver Support Group for caretakers of children that are survivor of sexual abuse or assault. Wednesday mornings 9-10am 9/19-11/7.

Maritza Martinez: Holyoke Chicopee Family and Community Program (HCFCP)

They are operating on a 25 year grant through headstart under the Department of Education. They provide opportunities at no cost for families with young children living in Holyoke or Chicopee. Through the collaboration and involvement of many community agencies their programming supports children 0-8years old. Talked about Baby & Me group for newborn to 2 years. It will be every Friday starting 9/7 at the Holyoke Public Library from 10-11:30am. Call Maritza to register (413) 536-0363 x5643.

Mariliyn Nunez: MSPCC

Offer in home therapy and outreach and are accepting referrals. Hiring for therapeutic mentor.

Nelson Roman: Ward 2 City Councilor/Executive Director Nueva Esperanza

Hiring a Community Engagement Specialist Part Time.

Summer Movie Series: Wednesday, 8/8 @ 6:30 Pina Park

                                    Wednesday, 8/15 @ 6:30 Carlos Vega Park

                                    Wednesday, 8/22 @ 6:30 Community Field

Cuyo will sell candy and soda. Free popcorn and snow cones provided by Holyoke Parks and Rec.

Greet the Children, Tuesday August 28th. To register your school contact Nelson Roman (413) 437-7666. Breakfast served at Nueva Esperanza 6-6:30.

Taste of South Holyoke, 9/22. Deadline to register for table is 8/15.

25th Anniversary of Roberto Clemente. One Holyoke CDC/Nueva Esperanza will by hosting a charity event softball tournament at McNally Field on 8/11.

Unveiling of mural at 12pm 213 Main St.

Laura Banks: River Valley Counceling Center

Sexual Health educator interested in coming to organization to teach high school aged youth. They will be hiring for a part time position Spanish speaking preferred for sexual health/social justice. Looking for applicants contact Laura Banks at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

James Biscoe: Cleanslate

They have been around since 2009 and focus on opiate/alcohol addiction. They have new medical director, no waiting list and have locations across the state; as well as Holyoke and Springfield. They have changed their call services and you will now be speaking with the office directly (413) 736-1468.

Melvin Malave: ROCA Holyoke

They are accepting referrals, and they work all over western MA. They are currently accepting both men and women (SPFLD). The young mothers program is based out of Springfield, 29 School Street. ROCA is working on new grant to work with Young Mothers in Holyoke. Recently had grand opening on 7/24 at High St and thanks to everyone for their support. Guys are showing up and program is doing well.

Shelly Bethe Lenn: The Garden: Center for Grieving Children and Teens

The Garden is a program of Cooley Dickinson VNA and Hospice providing support for grieving young people and their families. IT’s a place to talk about loss. IN addition, parents and guardians learn how to help children through their grief. Intake for those 5-18 that have experienced loss. In need of adult volunteers. Looking to organize event on Thursday, 11/1 from 4-6 pm at the Holyoke Public Library; Celebrate Dia De Los Muertos/Day of the Dead. RSVP (413) 582-5312

Shannon Sarkisian/Katalina Melendez: HCC/Gill Technology

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: English/Spanish

Talked about Community Health Worker grant that is offered at HCC and it being full. Can apply for financial aid to open up a slot.   Above the age of 60, can apply for senior waiver at all community colleges.

Felicita Lopez/Janet Crespo: New Horizons

They will be closing office on Maple Street and working out of home. Youth Ambassador Program going to Dominican Republic.   They are also working with families from Puerto Rico. Janet talked about event on 10/20 from 12p-4pm at Lawrence School.

Diedre Murphy: MSPCC

Deidre is the outreach coordinator and offers programs for parents under the age of 24. All programs are free and introduced new prevention director, Nancy Rek. Family and Family Network 6 session workshop from October-April at Library. Gathering of providers, law enforcement, needs collaboration with community to assist. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Flor Diaz: VOC/WIC Holyoke/Chicopee

Valley opportunity Council offers many services around adult education: high-set and ESOL. They have other services such as fuel assistance and citizenship classes. Legislative event on 9/13 from 10am-1pm at Holyoke Office.

Laura Soderbaum: Holyoke Housing Authority

Introduced Vivian Rodriguez and talked about first time homebuyer’s event on 9/12, 6-8. Anyone looking to buy a house get certificate can get up to $5000 from CDB grant.

Fred Dejesus: Gandara

Back to School bash on 8/22 from 12p-4pm at Kenefick Park in Springfield. To register for the basketball tournament, please contact or visit the Impact Center at 41 Taylor St in Springfield. (413) 654-1566. Event is for the entire family but the tournament is for youth and young adults ages 16-21.

Simon Elliot: Mass Fair Housing Center

Concentrate on issues surrounding housing discrimination. Focus on Section 8 voucher and tenant rights. Their housing attorney is working with those arriving from Puerto Rico that has been denied housing. Offering free education and training about housing rights. Provide trainings for community groups, healthcare providers, tenants, landlords, property manager, realtors, first time homebuyers, newspapers and others.

Simon talked about signing up to become a fair housing tester and earning up to $75.

Epi Arias: Lighthouse

Enrollment is almost full. Still accepting students for fall. Going on 3rd year, mission is to support young people in discovering and creating their best possible selves.

Andrew Cayward: DCF

Andrew talked about the systemic crisis in terms of foster care. Looking for more volunteers to assist and become foster parent to create stable placement for youth coming out of a bad environment. Can contact DCF if interested.

Megan: Foodbank

Trying to provide SNAP outreach to Western, MA and AISS along with HCC and STCC and other area colleges for students that qualifies. 9/30 event in Hatfield; Bike for Food. Choose from 10, 25, 50, or 100 mile route throughout the beautiful Pioneer Valley.   Can ride as an individual or start a team with your friends, family or co-workers. Online registration by 9/28 at 12pm. Foodbankwma.org

Mike Moriarity: One Holyoke CDC

Hosts mobile foodbank tomorrow at 1pm. Talked about his work with the Early Literacy Campaign for 3rd graders.   Holyoke has the worst outcomes in MA. They are measuring effects of early childhood development and children have been negatively impacted. Presently 80% of those enrolled in kindergarten attended preschool.

Nathaniel Davis: VA

9/20, from 12-1:30, will be having veterans lunch for those and their families at 485 Appleton Street.

Rondey Allen: Cross Point Clinical Services

Cross Point is a christian counseling center. Client centered capable or serving clients that are not in the faith. They accept insurance and run groups utilizing CB tools. They facilitate three groups: Anger Management, A Woman of Moderation, and Saving Marriage before it starts.

They also are trying to bridge gap between mental health field and faith community.

They are looking to expand into Holyoke area and renting space.

Cross Point Clinical Services (413) 732-7677 www.crosspointclinical.org

Sgt Joe Garcia: Holyoke Police Department

They are continuing to work with schools and stop issues before they develop.

Old Business / New Business

  • Next Meeting is Thursday, September 13th at 1:00pm Holyoke Public Library
  • Fill backpacks with supplies: Holyoke School Dept. Central Supply, 728 Main St., 2nd Floor, Tuesday, August 14th from 9am to 1pm.
  • Back to School Event: Saturday, August 18th 2pm to 6pm McNally Field
  • Anyone looking to volunteer, please send Melany Mendoza an email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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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