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Finding Their Sparkle
Link to Libraries recently hosted local author Natasha Lowe at Kensington International School in Springfield. Lowe spent more than an hour with the third grade, discussing life as an author and reading from her latest novel, Lucy Castor Finds Her Sparkle. “I’m just bowled over by the incredible work Link to Libraries does,” Lowe said. “Getting books into the hands of kids is a small thing that can make a big difference. A book can offer a child a magical world to escape into. They become like old friends, to be read over and over again. I had such a wonderful time visiting Kensington School this morning and sharing Lucy with all the third-graders.”
New Life on Main Street
Country Bank announced it has donated its former building, located at 65-71 Main St., Ware, to the Quaboag Valley Community Development Corp. (QVCDC). “The bank is looking forward to the development of this property as a creative, innovative space for artists and crafts people to practice and teach, as well as display their work,” said Paul Scully, president and CEO of Country Bank. The retail space is currently being revitalized and will provide incubator space to three new small businesses to help them begin their journey. The plans for the retail space include a pottery studio that will work in conjunction with Workshop 13 on pottery classes for the public, an art gallery with a coffee shop, and an additional space for another artistic business. The QVCDC also received a $75,000 grant from the MassDevelopment Collaborative Workspace program to help with the renovations taking place in the new space. Pictured, from left: Alexandria Martinez, project specialist, QVCDC; Sheila Cuddy, executive director, QVDC; Scully; and Mary McGovern, CFO of Country Bank.
The MassMutual Foundation has awarded Teach Western Mass (TWM) $150,000 to support two teacher-pipeline programs, Generation Teach and the Urban Education Pathway (UEP). Both programs are critical to TWM’s efforts to recruit, prepare, and retain effective teachers to provide access to a world-class education to every student in Western Mass. Launched in partnership with Smith College in the fall of 2017, the first cohort of undergraduate Urban Ed Scholars includes 23 students from Mount Holyoke College, Hampshire College, Smith College, and UMass Amherst. Generation Teach is a summer fellowship for high-school and undergraduate students interested in exploring a teaching career.
Running for Their Lives
More than 2,500 girls, spectators, volunteers, and community members gathered on June 3 for the Girls on the Run Western Massachusetts 5K event at Springfield College, the culminating moment of the Girls on the Run season. Girls on the Run is a national, physical activity-based, positive youth-development program that uses fun running games and dynamic discussions to teach life skills to girls in grades 3-8. During the 10-week program, girls participate in lessons that foster confidence, build peer connections, and encourage community service while they prepare for the end-of-season celebratory 5K event. In Western Mass., more than 190 trained volunteer coaches facilitated the curriculum to 54 teams of girls this spring season, helping equip them with the physical and emotional skills necessary to carry them over the 5K finish line. There were 740 girls in the program this spring from 52 school sites.
Holyoke Community College (HCC) recently hosted students from Putnam Vocational Technical High School and Springfield High School of Science and Technology for Engineering Exploration Day. The students calculated the trajectory of projectiles, explored the computer science that enables 3-D printing, built bridges out of newspapers, plotted transit maps, solved logic puzzles, examined atomic structures, generated magnetic fields, and much more. “Engineering Exploration Day was not only about letting incoming students know about our STEM programs and classes; it also offered our STEM students the opportunity to share their personal experiences of how HCC has impacted their personal journeys,” said Melissa Paciulli, HCC’s STEM project administrator. Pictured: Alban Medina, 18 (right), gets ready to shock one of his classmates from Putnam during an exercise in electricity.
On May 15, Alzheimer’s Assoc. officials, local state legislators, and citizens impacted by Alzheimer’s disease gathered at the Grand Staircase at the Massachusetts State House for a day of awareness and conversation around the disease. The event, Alzheimer’s Advocacy Day, included a focus on pending legislation (H. 4116) that would support these individuals and their families while focusing on preparing various stakeholders on making the state more dementia-capable. H.4116 passed the House of Representatives on Jan. 31 and is expected to be in front of the Senate this summer. Attendees also met with their local legislators to share how Alzheimer’s has impacted their lives, thank their representatives for their support of H.4116, and urge senators to support the upcoming legislation.