Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative

Meeting Notes

Date:   August 8, 2019

Time:   1:00pm to 2:30pm

Place:   Holyoke Public Library

Picture for Notes

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        

Monica Baldyga: Girl Scouts of Central and Western Mass Leadership Experienc       1:05pm - 1:20pm

With her family moving to the US from Cuba when she was 2 years old, she was connected with the Girl Scouts organization through her church & priest. This connection changed not only her American experience, but also her families. Girl Scouts began getting her mother very involved in different activities from bake sales, craft fairs and even camping. Being involved in these experiences offered the opportunity to bring back experiences to their whole family. More than 50% of girls in the US have been involved in girl scouts however until recently the majority of those 50% were most likely mainly White or African American who were involved. The GCSWM are currently looking to expand knowledge of girl scouts organizations to more cultures and races. 80% of women who are leading in tech field were once Girl Scouts, 73% of senators were Girl Scouts, 100% of Secretary of State were Girl Scouts. Girl Scouts offer a variety of programs which touch on different areas such as NASA, a cyber security program, and even the cookie sales are structured around a financial literacy program. All programs have community service component and ways to earn badges. Please reach out to connect and brain storm of how different things could be beneficial to different families. The Girl Scouts organization begins working with females who are in kindergarten through senior of high school. They have the opportunity to earn the Gold Award which is commonly earned as juniors or seniors in high school. If you join the military you are entered one rank higher, and also available for college scholarships. College application gets moved up in review process if gold award earned. Girl Scout membership cost $35/year, but financial assistance is available. If your agency or organization is in need of volunteers, send over flyer to GS and see if they would be good volunteers from different age ranges. Best time to request is fall, winter & spring as many leaders take summer break

Handed out packets and flyers in both Spanish and English along with financial assistance options. Troops predominantly ran by volunteers so commonly meet locally in public place. Does not have transportation available.

If interested in volunteering as leaders they offer training and support (must pass criminal background check CORI and obtain membership organization $25/yr for adults. Membership covers secondary accidental insurance when participating in G.S. events.

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

Cynthia Espinosa: Nueve Esperenza

Documentary of El Mercado from Puerto Rico along with guest speaker on Aug 29th. Cynthia will be stepping down as program manager for new opportunity therefore program manager position is available & flyer handed out regarding opening.

Shannon Sarkisian: Community Outreach Holyoke Community College

Fall classes are starting in less than 1 month. Currently piloting late start classes which start late/mid-September for students who register late or need extra assistance. The HCC campus center is now open & done with renovations and open to the public. Shannon offers presentations for agencies or organizations on college readiness, etc.

Stefany Garcia: Donahue School

Hosting family meet and greet august 20th from 2-5 PM, Donahue school only! District is holding two initiative around kindergarten families – countdown to kindergarten August 12th & parade August 29th

Daisy Rentas: EN White School

Block party August 10th from 11 AM-2 PM to give parents opportunity to sign up for extra curricular activities & welcome families into the school

Liz Plouffe: New Heights Counselling Center

Mental health & substance use for adults. Offer domestic violence program along with natural anger management. Continuing with their brown bag lunches for individuals facing homelessness along with continuing CPR & first aid trainings until end of summer.

Jose Montalvo: Clean Slate

Outpatient medicated assisted treatment for alcohol/opiates, cards and brochures available on further services.

Israel Rivera: Candidate for City Councilor at Large

Will be hosting a greet the children at Kelly school, looking for more coordinators. Now partnering with One Holyoke to begin organizing for annual event which feeds 4,500 community members.

Mel Antuna: Way Finders

Specialize in overseeing section 8 housing, running shelter programs, own and manage affordable housing. Walnut street location information handed out (Carlos Vega housing) for those working in agriculture or farm culture (or retired) and would pay 30% of their household income to live in that area. Please contact if you know of anyone who would qualify for this.

Demaris Aponte: Natural Ventures

Cannabis Company. Spoke about fruits/veggies being grown indoors so will be supplied to community year round. Giving out free classes for career building along with offering nutrition classes. Looking to educate on cannabis, not necessarily promote. Free vendor tables available for flyer which was handed out.

Nayrobi Rosa-Soriano: One Holyoke CDC

Community cleanup is going great with the school department scheduled to clean tomorrow (8/9) – you can join in on any clean up group! Looking to hold extra event this month. Holding transportation to HSNI back to school event for individuals for families who are looking to attend but may have limited transportation options. Volleyball tournament will be held at Springfield Park – 6 youth teams & 6 adult teams. All day event with food trucks. Will be hosting a sponsored youth soccer team program for kids in the Holyoke flats – all paid for program. Holyoke City That Reads is still going strong! Nature and nurture program at the Holyoke flats who adopted and planted a tree and care for tree weekly. Meet and greet – cannabis industry on August 28th.

Michelle Luciano: River Valley Counselling Center

Working with kids who are not diagnosed with substance use disorders but may need intervention. Program is still being developed. Will be working out of Peck School. Referral needs: ages 8-13, poor school attachment, lack in academic development, substance use history or parental substance use disorder.

Melany Mendoza: Mass Mentoring Partnership

Work with any program/district which communicates with young individuals (sports, after school program) and try to support them by learning their needs. For small organizations have funding available. Will also offer a few trainings throughout the year– trauma awareness, mentor relationships, etc. They have received increased funding for formal mentoring programs to $1 million. Back to school event is next weekend – still need volunteers! Sign up on volunteer sheet & will send email with link to register to volunteer…please pass on!! Flyers handed out.

Tyra Minto: CHD Safety Zone

Work with individual’s aged14-24 year olds who are in unstable housing or homelessness. Programming is different for over/under 18. Please contact for more information or specifics.

Rachel Dowd: Holyoke Teen Library

Partnered with students from Puerto Rico along with community youth to paint murals in library!

Joanne O’Toole: Homework House

Open to register kids for fall - open September 16th (Guadalupe, St. Paul’s Appleton st) in church buildings but not affiliated with church itself. It is a free program. Registration August 13th & 15th. October 10th will be holding their annual breakfast. Always looking for volunteers & also a few paid positions available currently such as site supervisor.

Glen Sexton: Hampden County Sheriff’s Department

Oversee community restitution program, some positions are paid (DPW, parks, Holyoke housing authority) individuals go out to clean up areas of the community for non-profit. Looking to partner with community clean ups.

Elizabeth Rivera: Thrive HCC

For students who are in need of shelter or housing. Thrive also assists with SNAP applications and budgeting help. Always accepting donations from community residents for pantry items which is also open to the community. Walk-in appointments available on Wednesdays to meet one on one or can schedule an appointment.

Iohan Vega: Holyoke Media Center

Documenting murals completed at library and will be showing documentary of process soon. Working on putting more content on social media and invites anyone who has content to be shared to please connect and figure out way to create programming. Having Wednesday sessions at library for youth to engage in media literacy and in the fall hoping to continue program but for adults. Radio plasma will be featuring interviews for city council public elections. Any candidates who refuse interview, they will do profile on individual from content they collect. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sophia Schouboe: Food Bank

Passed out locations of local food banks & HIP locations which are also listed on website. Information provided in English & Spanish for SNAP applications and will be having support coming to town. Individuals are also able to complete applications in person or over the phone. Anyone who has SNAP is automatically enrolled in the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) and is granted extra money to use at local food stands – must be HIP certified food stand. ‘Will bike for food’ event will be held at the end of September.

Allison Scott: Dial Self/Americorps Vista

10 month full time program with inspired leaders working with youth. This program will be beginning later this month and they still have a few positions available – apply to program if interested. If you are an agency or organization who serves the youth, please contact if looking to expand.

Rebecca Rennick: Tapestry

Teaches sexual education and will begin LGBTQ competency trainings to further individuals understandings of their community and how we can provide appropriate services.

Cheryl Labrie: YMCA

Expanding preschool program which will be moving in onto site from St. Paul’s to the YMCA location. They have been granted a community build grant for new playground (beech tree side of building) which will begin in October – if any volunteers to help assemble it will be held on October 4th. The kids attending camp will be designing the new playground with design team from Washington.

Maritza Martinez: CFCE

Connect families to different services who have young children. Monday countdown to kindergarten will be held at the museum to enhance comfortability level for children and families. Resources will be available on upstairs level along with dinner offered and a story walk with a tour of museum. This is seen as a healthy & exciting way to transition for young children and their families. Flyers handed out. Must register for event to attend. Play group flyer handed out, also at Enlace de Families every Monday.

Dennis Gonzaelz: Hope for Holyoke/Gandara

Handed out this month’s calendar for Hope for Holyoke events. Voices From Inside will perform August 14th at 6:30pm. This a group of women who either faced incarceration or struggled with a substance use disorder. Currently collaborating with Holyoke hospital with new opiate treatment – offer suboxone and by the next night an intake will be done. Trying to initiate same day treatment styles! Holyoke Hospital will transport individuals who are looking to leave Hampden County and maybe attend treatment elsewhere.

James Maloney: Hope for Holyoke/Gandara

September events: Puerto Rico day parade in Springfield, 27th a recovery march will be held starting at Appleton st and ending in Veterans Park – this will be a 5 hour event. At Veterans Park there will be live music, food & resources available. Gambling ambassadors available to come out and speak at agencies or organizations.

Michelle Daries: Department of Children and Families

Looking for potential foster homes within the area. Flyers handed out.

Jazmin Serrano: Sullivan School

Back to school event at Sullivan School will be held on August 22nd

Ali Pinschmidt: Don’t Take That Receipt

A youth & adult coalition put together to educate community members on receipt paper and the toxins which it can contain. Other labels such as amazon or parking tickets can also contain same or similar toxins. A team can come in and do training to different agencies or organizations about safer options. Expanding from Holyoke area into Springfield, West Springfield, etc.

Bill Hadley: Chief Justice Holyoke District Court

Looking to get to know community better and what adversities they face. Majority of charges are drug related so trying to get out into community (working with Chief, Sheriff, local hospitals, recovery coaches) to find new approaches to the judicial systems current approach on substance offenses. Looking to change approach from prosecution to treatment, rather than criminal records try to help assist individuals. Bench bar to be held beginning of September with the goal of bringing clinicians and recovery coaches into the court house.

Katherine Ramos: En Lace de Familias

Family resource center which works with children who require assistance (truancy, extra support in school, behavioral needs) and are looking to enhance quality of education and care. They provide free workshops for the community on topics such as parenting, nurturing fathers, co-parenting & cooking matters. Currently creating an email list of community partners to send out monthly calendars to.

Shelly Bath Lenn: The Garden Center

Works with individuals ages 5-18 in school settings when someone close to them passes with no restrictions on how they passed, when they passed, or where they passed. Also offer an onsite program for whole family treatment opportunities.

Altavise Chinn: Center for Student Services

Work with youth from ages 16-24 with hi-set prep along with after completing hi-set for job training. Career readiness programs and trainings are also offered. Job placement opportunities such as internships and resume building can be inquired.

Alijah Leombiano: MSPCC

Anyone can access services. They provide trauma services for individual’s ages 3-22. Currently have no wait list so eager for referrals!

Pack the Backpacks Event: Friday, August 9th 9am to 12pm                                               2:25pm - 2:27pm

Old Business / New Business

                       Next Meeting is Thursday, August 8th at 1:00pm Holyoke Public Library

                     Back to School Event: Saturday, August 17th 1pm to 5pm

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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Reminder: Last Chance for 7th & 8th Grade Sign-Ups 11/15/19

Just a reminder, last chance for 7th & 8th to sign-up tonight at Kelly School at 6:00pm, please use door #7.

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