Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative

Meeting Notes

Date:   December 13, 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        


MassHire Holyoke (Formerly CareerPoint):                        1:05pm - 1:20pm

President and CEO David Gadaire and Youth Service Director Gladys Lebron-Martinez                         

David Gadairie- MassHire is a one stop career center to help the local workforce and business community that focuses on growing companies and their missions. Recently they decided to have a larger role in workforce development services that are needed in Holyoke. MassHire has a new program for people with disabilities which runs under the “Take it to Work” program. MassHire is the first career center in the state to start working with reentry issues using 8 different staff members along with  programs such as opioid addiction.  They assist people leaving jail and needing help finding housing and jobs etc. MassHire is working with identifying at risk youth who are likely to drop out of school and join gangs and for newly released people with violent pasts. They offer all of their services in Spanish and English. They recently been running career centers at schools in Holyoke and Westfield. MassHire has been working with influx of refugees from Puerto Rico including getting them job training and ESOL classes. The two main areas of MassHire are: job seekers and business services. Career counseling and training for employment are available for a variety of industries. Pre-apprenticeship for construction industry and recovery coaching for opioid addiction are also available. The walk-in counseling program provides services without needing an appointment. MassHire is running a resource center for people who don’t need that much guiding from staff but still need the resources. The Veterans program includes employment, substance abuse, housing, and mental health services. MassHire works with business by providing: service reps that meet with companies to understand the work places needs on a more personal level including cultural and works alongside job developers. They have a “caring by design” mentality and a slogan of: “we don’t hire people we hire families”. This means they are understanding of the need to attend to family issues when it comes to missing time in the work place. They also are very aware to be sensitive to cultural needs and differences with respect to Hispanic families.

Gladys Lebron-Martinez: She discussed the youth services and programs, youth center and career center, technology room for job searching and doing projects. MassHire has extended to having career centers in the high schools for vocational hands-on training and other fields.  They are getting students to explore, build resumes and speech skills as well as interview skills. MassHire has a focus on youth sports funding. They offer youth works program for kids between the ages of 14-21 and internship programs. Collaboration between WGBY allowed for a news for a story about their background. They are also receiving partial grant money to help troubled youth. They have an upcoming event on Jan 8th.

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

Ralph Webb: Food works

New class starting on January 14th. It is a 12-week culinary life skills program. Through Providence Ministries they try to offer 3 classes per year.  They are also taking donations for families in need through the holiday season. After the January class they will be holding another class in April.

Allison Proctor: Springfield DHHS

HCAT meeting at Hampden County Sheriff’s Department on Wedneday Jan 9th from 1pm-2:30.

James Biscoe: Clean Slate

Offers outpatient treatment for opioid and alcohol.  They are open every day to service community

Rondey Allen: Cross point

Christian counseling center. Client centered capable or serving 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. 

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

Sharon Pineault: Goodwill Career Academy

They provide interview preperation, resume, job readiness skills.  Program provides vouchers to those engaged. They have a 12 week program for those interested in a career in human services. 

Israel Rivera: One Holyoke CDC

Israel thanked people for coming out and supporting his community dinner on 12/5.  He believes that they had between 300-350 in attendance. He continued to thank the school department for the event and other contributors. CDE and Umass art department, new arrivals project revisited for the youth projected for February 8th.

Anna Jaramillo: Holyoke Health Center

Health care, dental care, answering questions about masshealth, enrolment questions

Cheryl Labrie: YMCA

Gearing up for basketball league beginning this week in partnernship with HSNI.

Molly and Abby: Girls on the Run

They talked about Girls on the run of Western MA being a national program geared to after school. They engage girls from 3-8th grade afterschool program to teach about goal setting and life skills. Served 500 girls in 36 sites. Spring season starts in march predicting 70 schools and 1000 girls. Coming to HPS but welcoming other schools, recruiting coaches currently. Social emotional health and running.

Simon Elliot: Mass Fair Housing Center

The help families who are struggling to use section 8 housing and policies that say you need 3x the rent to qualify. Fair housing is making the case against discrimination caused by this. Fair housing testing program, like secret shopping for rental and sales market to detect discrimination which is later followed up. Sophie talked about an adapted skate program for people with disabilities.

Helena Dixon: Valley Opportunity Council (VOC)

Valley opportunity council adult education: referrals for older students, high-set, English as a second language. There is a new class that is focused on people who have a GED, high-set or a diploma who want to work on reading, math, and writing in order to brush up on those points before going to college.  Passed around flyer and talked about the many grants they have received to offer classes at various times in many different areas of study.  Contact them at (413) 612-0206 for more information. Class is Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, from 9:30am-1ppm at VOC.

Sophie Schouboe: The Food Bank of Wester MA

She handed out flyers for the locations of the food banks in the area. Offering snap application assistance along with DTA.

Dan Bisson: Catie’s closet

Talked about their partnership with public schools in Lowell. They identify unused space in schools to turn into free stores for people who need school supplies, clothing, toiletries etc.  70 of these have been set up in public schools around the state. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Conor Bevan: Holyoke Boys and Girls club

Thanked the basketball league partners and reported that the program is going well and is looking forward to the non-contatct boxing program starting next year.

Naisha Hernandez: Girl Scouts

Passed around information sheets on the Girl Scouts

Lt. Maria Pelchar: Holyoke Fire Department

Reported out on many car accidents (23) in December and to put phones down while driving.

Dean Santaigo: Peck School

They have an event on 12/19 at Peck School.  It will be an art show/bake sale.

Maritza Egerstrom: St Paul’s Church

Veterans program will be selling t-shirts next month.

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.  Recently, the local cable station partnered with them to air their podcasts.  He continued to say that this will provide kids to with more opportunity to promote things that are happening in Holyoke. 

State Representative Aaron Vega

State Rep. Vega thanked the members in the room. He announced that he will be around for another 2 years. He encouraged everyone  to reach out to their state reps if they collect state funds.  Talked about DTA funding  if your clients get cash benefit, and get a job, thy no longer lose that cash benefit for 6 months after getting the job. The child care voucher is still good for 12 months after getting a job. Increased the assets from $2500 to $5000

Yoshi Bird/Senaida Torres: YWCA- Rape Crisis Center

Holyoke teen transition living for pregnant and teen new moms, other young teen help centers. Domestic violence survivors and financial stability help for them.  Senaida was introduced in her new role and will be working with survivors to get them financially stable when leaving an abusive relationship.

Rafael Santos: Hampden County Sheriff’s Department

Rafael talked about his role as a case manager to assist individuals who are transitioning home.  He provides in reach services to identify their areas of need and refer them out to the many agencies in the room.  Employment and mental health referrals. Challenges facing the real ID which requires birth certificates and social security cards. Addressed identity theft issues. Basketball league helping out Ed with delivering curriculum at the YMCA

David Mccoy: HSNI Outreach

Talked about his work with Hope for Holyoke- help for alcohol and drug addiction. Event at Bethany Assembly of God this weekend, ‘Christmas Tree Extravaganza’.  It will be this weekend Friday/Saturday and Sunday 3- 6

Officer Edgar Lopez: Holyoke Police Dept. 

Works with code enforcement and the board of health.

Ed- talked about the basketball leagues at the boys and girls club and YMCA, bullying curriculum, intentional

mentorship and character development.

Old Business / New Business

Next Meeting is Thursday, January 10th at 1:00pm Holyoke Public Library

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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