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Strong Foundation

By Kathleen Mellen

eureka-2The reach of Girls Inc. of Holyoke — which operates programs for elementary-school-aged girls as well as teenagers — is striking, serving more than 1,750 girls each year through programs, peer education, and community outreach on a budget of $1.3 million. But other numbers are more impressive, such as statistics showing that Girls Inc. participants are more likely than their peers to get good grades, attend college, and find learning fun and valuable. What it all adds up to is a priceless foundation for success.

You could call it a lunch break on wheels.

Every Monday through Friday during the school year, Dianette Marrero uses her lunch hour to drive her daughters, Jasminn, 7, and Tatianna, 10, from their hometown of Chicopee to 52 Nick Cosmos Way in Holyoke, where the girls attend a licensed after-school program for ages 5 to 12, sponsored by Girls Inc. of Holyoke. And when her workday is done, Marrero returns to pick her daughters up.

Marrero says she doesn’t mind the drive in the least. She’s been sold on the nonprofit organization that educates and empowers girls from underserved communities ever since her daughters started attending its girls-only after-school program nearly two years ago. Through the program’s breadth of activities — including an in-depth literacy program, educational field trips, outdoor activities, and experiential, hands-on learning opportunities — she says her daughters are learning to be confident and motivated young women.

“Girls Inc. allows the girls to be confident with their peers,” Marrero told BusinessWest. “We’re a girls-only family, so this has been great for my daughters.”

Stella Cabrera, 16, has had a similarly positive experience: she has participated in nearly every program offered by Girls Inc. of Holyoke since joining up in the fifth grade. She first heard about the organization from a friend, and pleaded with her mother to let her attend.

The Girls Inc. Eureka! program is a STEM-based approach to education

The Girls Inc. Eureka! program is a STEM-based approach to education that places girls in labs and classrooms at UMass Amherst for intensive training.

“I was getting bullied by boys at school, and I wanted to try something new,” Cabrera said in an interview at the Girls Inc. administrative office and teen center at 6 Open Way in Holyoke. “It was really exciting because I’d never been in a place where it was just girls.”

Since then, she’s become more confident, and she credits Girls Inc. with the transformation.

“When I started out, I was a really shy person; I didn’t talk to many people,” she said. “Now I make friends with everybody. I don’t judge people. I’ve learned to accept people for who they are.”

Testimonials like these are music to Suzanne Parker’s ears.

“It’s our mission to inspire girls,” said Parker, the organization’s executive director. “The work that we’re doing, helping them to be successful, is really important.”

Girls Inc. of Holyoke, formerly the Holyoke Girls Club, operates programs for elementary-school-aged girls, as well as Holyoke’s only teen center just for girls. Serving more than 1,750 girls each year through programs, peer education, and community outreach, the organization aims to equip girls to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers, and grow up to be healthy, educated, and independent. It is one of more than 90 Girls Inc. affiliates of a network across the U.S. and Canada that serves more than 138,000 girls, ages 5 to 18.

“The programs we provide are developed to meet the very specific needs of girls,” Parker said. “Having the research and the support of the national organization really helps us with that.”

Why Girls Only?

Girls live in a society with different expectations about success for boys and girls, Parker said, and Girls Inc. aims to close that gap. By teaching personal-development and communications skills, conflict resolution and problem solving, and how to make healthy choices relating to their bodies and relationships, it aims to “inspire girls to be strong, smart, and bold by offering life-changing experiences and real solutions to the unique issues girls face,” according to its website.

“We work to build up their confidence, making sure they have self-esteem, but first and foremost, we make sure they’re exposed to opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise have,” Parker said. “All of those things are best done, we feel, in a girl-only environment, where they feel safe. They know they have a sisterhood here.”

From left, Girls Inc. of Holyoke participants Brandy Wilson and Stella Cabrera with Executive Director Suzanne Parker.

From left, Girls Inc. of Holyoke participants Brandy Wilson and Stella Cabrera with Executive Director Suzanne Parker.

The organization’s hallmarks are its mentoring programs, the girls-only environment, and its research-based, hands-on approach to learning. It also advocates for legislation and policies to increase opportunities for all girls.

The staff includes 11 full-time and four part-time professionals year-round, as well as an additional eight to 10 staff members who work in the full-day summer programs. In addition, more than 100 community members volunteer with the organization in a number of ways.

Nearly 70% of those who attend programs at Girls Inc. of Holyoke live in households earning $30,000 a year or less; one in 10 lives below the $10,000 line. The majority of members are Latina, Parker noted. While most live in Holyoke, some come from Chicopee, like Jasminn and Tatianna, and others live in Longmeadow, Wilbraham, South Hadley, Westfield, and West Springfield.

The organization’s newest strategic plan includes initiatives to broaden the organization’s reach, with in-school programs now being developed in Holyoke’s Peck Middle School, as well as Alfred G. Zanetti Montessori Magnet School and M. Marcus Kiley Middle School, both in Springfield.

In April, the organization was one of 17 Girls Inc. affiliates to receive a three-year grant award of $100,000 from the S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation to expand strategically to serve more girls growing up in low-income communities.

“Girls Inc. of Holyoke has a strong track record of making a measurable difference in the lives of girls,” said Judy Vredenburgh, president and CEO of Girls Inc. “As a well-run, sound organization, they are poised for expansion and growth, preparing more girls for responsible and confident adulthood, economic independence, and personal fulfillment.”

The programming reflects those initiatives, and its successes are measurable. For example, according to a national survey, one in six girls will not finish high school; by contrast, three-quarters of high-school girls who attend Girls Inc. programs report earning As and Bs on report cards, and 85% say they plan to attend college.

Finding Their Voice

Still, Parker said, girls who do well in math and science can pay a price socially at school, where they are often teased, even bullied, by other students. “We hear it from girls all the time. Bullying continues to be a major issue with girls across the country. And when you’re in school and you’re facing that, it’s hard to be successful.”

Girls Inc. addresses these gender-specific problems — and, more importantly, crafts solutions — in its girls-only environment.

“In order to be successful, girls have to have confidence, and they have to understand they have a voice and that they have the tools needed to be successful in that co-educational world we all live in,” she told BusinessWest. “There’s a need to provide a space for girls where they can come together, where they can take risks, try things they wouldn’t otherwise try.”

To that end, the organization fashions programs that promote academic success for girls in fields previously thought to be the domain of males. Chief among them is the Eureka! program, a STEM-based approach to education for eighth- through 12th-graders, which places girls in labs and classrooms at UMass Amherst for intensive training in science, technology, engineering, and math.

More than 100 girls are currently involved in Eureka!, attending the program for four weeks in the summer and on one Saturday a month during the school year, where they work with UMass professors who volunteer their time to offer hands-on experiences in fields like nanoscience, robotics, DNA research, and forensic science. In addition, the students are active daily in physical fitness and sports training, healthy living, and financial literacy.

Data shows that girls participating in Eureka! stay engaged in math and science throughout high school; many go on to higher education, often becoming the first in their family to attend a college or university, Parker noted. According to a recent survey, the percentage of girls participating in the program who identify themselves as “smart” increased by 13%, girls who think math is fun and interesting increased by 10%; and girls who feel comfortable in science class increased by more than 20%.

“Exposing girls to STEM skills and proficiencies is absolutely critical,” she went on. “While they might not all go into traditional STEM careers, the types of skills they’re learning, and the exposure they’re having, is absolutely critical. I believe that to the core.”

In the same survey, more girls also reported a positive body image, and nearly 90% of Eureka! girls see school as an opportunity “to learn as much as I can.” It also showed that the percentage of girls planning to go to a four-year college increased more than 10%.

Cabrera, now a high-school junior, and one of the original Eureka! scholars, wants to be a math teacher, and plans to attend college after she graduates from high school.

“I’ll be the first grandchild [in my family] to graduate and plan to go to college,” she said, adding that the program has significantly bolstered her confidence. “I really thrive, and I’ve gotten so much support for being strong. It’s a really inspiring program, and it really does help girls to understand their power and their impact on the world, and the amount of strength they have in themselves that they probably haven’t tapped yet.”

Avenues of Support

Girls Inc. of Holyoke’s annual budget is about $1.3 million, with between 55% and 60% of funding coming from the state. As a licensed after-school provider, it receives some funding from the state Department of Early Care. The teen center also receives support from the state Department of Public Health to run programs in pregnancy prevention and youth violence prevention. Specifically, the organization’s Healthy Relationships module helps girls learn to “identify, establish, and cultivate healthy relationships through assertiveness and negotiation skills,” and Project Bold works to “ensure that girls have the skills, knowledge, and support to be safe and reduce their risk of experiencing violence.”

But, Parker says, those funds don’t begin to cover the cost of providing a high-quality experience. For the past 10 years, the organization has held a Spirit of Girls breakfast, its signature fund-raising event; this year, on April 4 at the Log Cabin in Holyoke, a record crowd of about 450 people donated more than $140,000.

The organization also relies on foundation grants, as well as corporate and private donors. Indeed, Parker says there’s been a significant uptick in recent years in support from individuals. For example, participation in the three-year-old Champion for Girls initiative, through which individuals donate $1,000 or more, has risen from 15 annual donors to close to 100.

The organization also launched a program this year for ‘corporate champions,’ which is also seeing growing success, Parker said, with recent donations from CheckWriters Payroll, MassMutual, and PeoplesBank.

“Companies are definitely seeing the value of partnering with Girls Inc.,” she added. “We have to work hard; we’re always looking for people who are interested in investing in our work. We can’t do it alone.”

That work continues to enrich the lives of its members, from the STEM education of Eureka! to myriad teen-center programs offered on a drop-in basis, including art, creative writing, spoken-word expression, computer coding, and entrepreneurship, among others, as well as myriad field trips, classes, and workshops.

The success-based programming is not just reserved for the older girls. Last year, for example, a group of younger students, including Jasminn and Tatianna, developed a business model for a lemonade stand and put it into practice; the girls tested their lemonade recipe, did a market survey, and created a business plan to determine how much were they would charge for the lemonade. Then they launched their business in a real-life setting, setting up their stand at Celebrate Holyoke. Finally, the girls deposited the proceeds into a bank account and, together, decided how they would spend it.

That program, like others at Girls Inc. of Holyoke, builds a knowledge base that is useful in the real world, while building self-confidence, said Brandy Wilson, director of middle- and high-school programs.

“It’s all about exploring their options. So many times, girls who come in from what we consider an underserved community don’t know what their options are,” she explained. “We’re giving the girls experiences that make that lightbulb go off — that makes them realize, ‘I can do this.’”

Class of 2018 Difference Makers

Girls Inc. Inspires Members to Be Strong, Smart, and Bold

022_girlsincmain-diff2017Cynthia Carson admits it got quite crowded in her place last November.

Indeed, by her count, there were as many as 19 people camping out in her home in Brooklyn, N.Y., including her two children.

But this gathering was her idea, so she certainly wasn’t complaining. She had planned carefully, and her only real oversight, if one can call it that, was maybe underestimating what it might take to keep everyone plugged in — thus, there was a trip out to get some power cords.

Those powering up were current members of Girls Inc. of Holyoke, most of them high-school students, who were invited to the Big Apple by Carson, the head recruiter for the Nielsen Group’s sports and entertainment division, to do a little sightseeing and a whole lot of learning —  about jobs and careers and what it takes to be in those positions, but also about goals and dreams, how to set them, and how to make them reality.

Carson, who is quite the role model when it comes to all of the above, having attended both Georgetown and Harvard and spending two years in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua before starting her career, turned her home into a temporary B&B because she had been where her guests were a few decades ago. And she thought the excursion she planned would help them take some big steps forward.

Carson found Girls Inc., then the Holyoke Girls Club, more than 30 years ago, when she was in grammar school, and because she did, she also found friends, a different kind of home, mentors, direction, ambition, resilience, and, yes, a desire to give back.

Which is why her living room was fully occupied for those few days and she was taking her guests to destinations ranging from the 9/11 Memorial to a co-working facility bristling with tech startups, to Times Square.

“Girls Inc. fills a critical role,” said Carson as she talked about the nonprofit, how it changed her life, and why she remains involved. “It’s about turning average girls into leaders. You don’t need superpowers — you just need someone who believes in you. You need someone to give you guidance and provide the structure that some people may not have.”

We’ll be going back to New York, figuratively, a few more times in the course of explaining why Girls Inc. of Holyoke was chosen as a Difference Maker for 2018, because that visit represents a microcosm of not only its mission — to inspire girls to be strong, smart, and bold — but also how it goes about it carrying it out.

But we’ll spend most of our time at Open Square in Holyoke, where many Girls Inc. programs are based and where BusinessWest talked with several members. And we’ll also travel (again figuratively) to UMass Amherst, where an ambitious program called Eureka is not only introducing girls to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers, but giving them a taste of what they’re like and what they will need to know to thrive in such settings.

It does so through introductions to more role models, but also specific programs with titles like “Making Protein Glow in the Dark,” “Melting Ice and Rising Seas: What Does the Future Have in Store for Us?” and “Is there a Connection Between Breast Cancer and the Environment?” More on all that later.

Overall, Girls Inc., a national agency with 92 affiliates across the country, exists because there is a need for organizations that focus on that specific constituency, said Suzanne Parker, executive director of the Holyoke chapter, adding that one needs only to look at the headlines locally, regionally, and nationally to understand why.

Cynthia Carson, far right, leads her guests on a tour of Times Square

Cynthia Carson, far right, leads her guests on a tour of Times Square, one of many spots visited during a trip designed to inspire and educate the young ambassadors from Girls Inc. of Holyoke.

“We know that girls face an inordinate number of challenges and obstacles, everything from bullying and harassment to low expectations in their community,” she explained. “We know that, across the country, one in five girls is living in poverty, so girls living in neighborhoods without a lot of resources are facing a number of challenges.

“We know a lot of girls are facing academic issues and challenges — one in six girls across the country doesn’t finish high school,” she went on. “And locally, in communities like Holyoke and Springfield, the graduation rate is just above 50%.”

The nonprofit addresses those statistics in a number of ways, but especially through programming that helps girls of all ages make connections, gain confidence, find direction, create ambitious goals, and discover the resolve to meet them.

Its ability to succeed with these goals is evidenced by the sentiments expressed by some of the girls we met. Individuals like Emahnie Maldonado, 18, a senior at Chicopee High School, who has her sights set on the difficult physician’s assistant program at Springfield College. She summed up the Girls Inc. experience (we’ll hear that phrase again later) concisely and efficiently.

“It pushed me to talk to people and do things that I wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing otherwise,” she noted. “When I came here five years ago, I was quiet — I wouldn’t talk to anyone. And this program has really opened me up and allowed me to express myself and how I feel.”

The Nonprofit That Never Sleeps

When asked where she lived in Holyoke growing up, Carson paused for a minute, because while for most that would have been a short answer, for her it wasn’t.

“I had lots of addresses before I was age 7,” she told BusinessWest. “When the rent went up, we would move; there was a fire at one place I lived … and that’s why Girls Inc. was important to me growing up. It was a home base.”

Between the ages 5 and 11 or so, she went to the Girls Club, took part in several sports programs, and went on a number of trips, to farms and other locations. And she looks back on those activities as a way to close some of the “economic separation” that she could already recognize taking place in that community.

“Being a part of sports teams, having parents drive you to different places, being part of a group, and having leadership skills … requires structural help,” she explained. “And a lot of that is not available to some kids in economically stressed communities. So having Girls Inc. kind of filled in those voids.”

You won’t see that wording on the Girls Inc. mission statement or anywhere on the Web site, but that is essentially what it was created to do — become that structural help that Carson noted is so often missing among children like her.

Parker said Girls Inc. of Holyoke has been providing this structure, and believing in its members, since it was formed in 1981 as a Girls Club. (After Boys Clubs of America became a co-educational institution years later, Girls Clubs of America changed its name to Girls Inc.)

The Holyoke chapter, one of eight in Massachusetts, focuses its energies on girls living in low-income neighborhoods where resources are scarce. It currently serves more than 350 members, many of them from Holyoke, but there are a growing number from both Springfield and Chicopee, and Parker expects the numbers to continue to rise as awareness and positive referrals both increase.

But the nonprofit impacts the lives of all girls through advocacy, she went on, adding, again, that it exists to meet the specific wants and needs of girls, and there is certainly room (and demand) for such an organization regionally and nationally.

To explain why, she refers to that ‘Girls Inc. Experience,’ which is created through a mix of staff, a girls-only environment, and programming.

“We have highly trained professional youth-development staff  who understand the needs of girls and are trained to work to provide mentoring relationships with the girls so the girls know they have trusting adults in their lives they can go to, whether it’s issues or challenges they’re dealing with,” she explained, adding that this element separates Girls Inc. from other youth-focused organizations.

As for the girls-only environment, it amounts to a “safe space,” as she called it, not available in most other settings.

“Now more than ever, we see the need for that safe space where girls can take risks and take on challenges,” she went on. “They can do everything from coding to robotics to exploring health issues they may have. That girls-only environment is critical for girls to be thriving in that space.”

As for the programs, they are what Parker called ‘hands-on and minds-on,’ meaning they are highly engaging. And they are focused on four key areas of development:

• Literacy and Academic Success;

• STEM;

• Leadership and Critical Thinking; and

• Health, Wellness, and Sexuality.

All this is reflected in more of the titles attached to Eureka programs, such as “Don’t Lose Your Privacy on the Internet,” “Your Brain on Yoga: Silencing Anxiety from the Inside Out,” “Seeing the Forest for the Trees,” and “Are You What You Eat?: Building a Dietary Recommendation.”

It STEMS from Perseverance

Carson told BusinessWest there were several motivations for the road trip to New York. First, there was the desire to give back to the organization that had been so important to her growing up — something she had already done in several ways, including her role as keynote speaker at its annual fund-raising breakfast last October.

But there was more to it. She said she had nagging questions about whether, overall, girls were being compelled to reach high enough and push themselves hard enough to succeed in a rapidly changing, increasingly competitive world, especially within the STEM universe.

Members of Girls Inc. in Holyoke

Members of Girls Inc. in Holyoke pose for a group shot with tech-industry representatives at one of the WeWork buildings in Manhattan during their recent visit to New York.

So she put together a jam-packed Tech Day, which was actually two days. Students met a number of women, including two who grew up Holyoke, in various STEM careers, with the goal of making sure the visitors returned to Western Mass. with a full appreciation of the depth of careers available to them — and what it would take to enter those fields and succeed there.

One stop was to one of the WeWork buildings in Manhattan, a co-working space. There, a panel of women working in the tech field for both companies they started themselves and giants like BuzzFeed, talked about not only their work, but the adversity many of them overcame to get where they were.

“They spoke about what it was like to be a woman and a woman of color in the tech world,” said Parker, adding that the visitors also met individuals who made it from the same streets in Holyoke they grew up on to the highly competitive environment in New York.

To say that the trip as a whole, and especially Tech Day, made an impression would be an understatement.

“You got to met people who made it out of Holyoke,” said Maldonado. “It really showed that it’s possible to make it out and make it big somewhere else.”

In essence, the Eureka program was created with the same basic intent — to inspire girls and compel them to reach higher, while understanding the hard work it will take to get there.

This national initiative is a five-year program that girls enter when they’re in the eighth grade. It’s a year-round endeavor (with ‘Eureka Saturdays’ in the winter, spring, and fall), but really picks up steam in the summer. And it’s carried out in conjunction with the College of Natural Sciences at UMass, which, as Parker put it, “rolled out the maroon carpet” for the Girls Inc. members.

Elaborating, she said roughly half the hours devoted to Eureka are spent in STEM workshops in labs and other facilities across the UMass Amherst campus, including the Polymer Science Center and the Integrated Science Building.

“They’re working with professors in all different STEM fields, from the computer scientists to the structural engineers,” said Parker, adding that students are bused to the campus daily over four weeks during the summer for an intense regimen of learning that includes such things as the “science of tree climbing.”

The program progresses over its five-year duration to include not only the workshops on the UMass campus (designed specifically for first- and second-year participants, known as ‘rookies’ and ‘veterans,’ respectively), but also externships with area companies for third-year students, dual-enrollment classes at Holyoke Community College during the fourth year, for which the participants receive both high-school and college credits, and paid internships for fifth-year students, known as ‘graduates.’

The Eureka program was conceptualized to generate interest in STEM careers still dominated by men — and keep girls interested, said Parker, noting that, while it’s still relatively early when it comes to quantifying its impact, there are already many positive signs.

“Some of the early indicators are strong and positive,” she told BusinessWest. “Girls are saying, ‘I’ll take a harder class,’ because they know if they don’t take algebra and do well in it, they’re not going to go on to college.

“Eureka is convincing them that’s OK to be smart and it’s OK to be smart in science particularly,” she went on. “And that’s important because there’s still that stigma of the scientist, that this is something not accessible to them.”

Inspirational Thoughts

There are qualitative measures as well, including the comments of some of the Girls Inc. members who spoke with BusinessWest.

Kayah Brown, 16, for example, now has ambitions to become a reconstructive plastic surgeon, a career path inspired in part by her grandmother’s battle with breast cancer, but especially by an externship at the Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institute she garnered through the Eureka program.

Kayah Brown

Inspired by her grandmother’s battle with breast cancer, Kayah Brown has set her sights on becoming a reconstructive surgeon.

“I was able to meet some of the breast surgeons at Baystate Medical Center and talked with them about what led them to become surgeons,” said Brown, a student at the MacDuffie School in Granby, adding that, through Girls Inc. and Eureka, she has gained not only insight into the wide spectrum of STEM careers, but the confidence to consider that path.

Her sister, Sabria, 18, a senior at MacDuffie, echoed those thoughts.

“Girls Inc. has provided the foundation for me to be the best person I can be,” she explained. “It inspired me to want to study computer science; it’s the first time I was exposed to coding and programming and just working with computers. And that’s what I’m taking right now — AP computer science, and I’m building an app.”

Elaborating, she said her app is for businesses and schools, and it amounts to a digital lost-and-found service. While she has high hopes for it, she’s more focused on getting more women of color into STEM careers and computer science in particular.

Interest in STEM was one of the many common threads that ran through comments offered by nearly a dozen girls, ages 9 to 18.

The words heard most often were ‘friends’ — they’ve all made some through their participation; ‘home’ — that’s what the facility itself has become to many; ‘confidence’ — a quality nearly every one of those who spoke said they have more of because of Girls Inc., and ‘support’ — something the nonprofit, its leaders, and fellow members have provided in myriad ways.

Meanwhile, they collectively talked about visits to farms, art galleries, museums, and a host of other destinations chosen to both educate and inspire.

Carla Lopez, 12, a student at Sullivan School in Holyoke, told a story that many sitting around the conference-room table could relate to. She came to Girls Inc. at age 7. Her parents were divorced, and her mother, who worked full-time, brought her to Girls Inc. in hopes that she would find friends, make connections, and fill the hours until she came home from work with meaningful, educational experiences.

“At first, I thought it was an ordinary program where you colored, built with blocks, and lot of other simple stuff,” she recalled, turning the clock back almost half her lifetime. “But it took my life to a new level; we learned coding, we went swimming, we’ve been on a whole bunch of field trips.

“There are a lot of girls here who are just like you, and they’re experiencing the same things as you,” she went on, adding that facing these issues and challenges together makes them less daunting, especially with the support of staff members.

As for Stella Cabrera, 18, a senior at Holyoke High School, she’s probably the longest-tenured member of the Holyoke chapter, having started there seven years ago. She’s looking at the ROTC program at UMass Amherst and, longer-term, at a career in the military as a biochemist.

Thanks to experiences made possible by the Eureka program, Stella Cabrera has her sights set on being a biochemist.

Thanks to experiences made possible by the Eureka program, Stella Cabrera has her sights set on being a biochemist.

She said she came to Girls Inc. after heavy lobbying by her mother, because she was bullied at the YMCA. She found a group of girls and a corps of staffers focused on building her up, not tearing her down.

“As you allow them in, they’ll build you up,” she told BusinessWest. “They’ll be your friends — they’ll be your best friends — and they’ll be your second family. And they’ll give you confidence, the integrity, and the friendship you need to handle all that life throws at you.”

On the Right Track

Returning to Gotham one more time, Carson said that, as one might expect, New York was itself a sometimes intimidating learning experience for the young women who went on the trip, right down to the subway system — and the challenging feat of getting 17 people on at the same time.

But after only a little while, the visitors were starting to become familiar in their new environment and master its intricacies, including the subway itself.

“At the end of the second day, by about our seventh subway ride, one of the girls said, ‘I’m going to lead; I know how to do this,’” she recalled. “She wanted to take the lead and get everyone on the subway, and that was really neat.”

Life certainly won’t be as easy as leading a group of friends down to a subway station, but the analogy works on many levels, including the most simple of them — finding one’s way and getting to where one wants to go.

It happened on a subway in New York, and thanks to Girls Inc. — a true Difference Maker in every sense of that phrase — it can, and does, happen in life itself.

Just ask Cynthia Carson.

George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]

Features Special Coverage

A Journey Continues

Suzanne Parker, left, and Yadillete Rivera-Colón

Suzanne Parker, left, and Yadillete Rivera-Colón in the new home of Girls Inc. of the Valley on Hampden Street in Holyoke.

An adventure.

A struggle.

An experience.

A journey.

Suzanne Parker used all those terms and others that would be considered synonyms, usually with more than a hint of understatement in her voice, to describe the process of taking Girls Inc. of the Valley to the doorstep of opening its new headquarters facility in Holyoke.

The journey, adventure, or whatever she wants to call it is far from over. In fact, construction is still in what would be considered phase 1. But most of the really hard work — and there has been a mountain of it — is now behind Parker, executive director of this nonprofit, and countless others who have been involved.

Thus, they can focus even more of their energies on making this facility all that they hoped it could be when people first started thinking about a new home more than seven years ago.

Indeed, Parker noted that the ceremonial ‘thermometer’ erected on a sign just outside the property on Hampden Street needs to be adjusted to reflect that 92% of the stated $5 million fundraising goal has now been met. Meanwhile, work continues inside on the various spaces that will define this facility, from a community room to a maker space to a teen lounge.

The work to create a new space for Girls Inc. began in earnest out of necessity — specifically, the knowledge that a 40-year lease on property the nonprofit was leasing in downtown Holyoke was expiring and would not be renewed — and brought Parker and other leaders of Girls Inc. to countless properties in or near downtown Holyoke in search of the perfect fit, knowing that such a thing probably didn’t exist.

But they found something close in the former headquarters of the O’Connell Companies on Hampden Street, a building, or at least portions of it, that date back to the late 19th century.

“Throughout this journey, we have gained a great deal of visibility, and people have been able to learn about who we are, what we do, and why Girls Inc. is so important to this region. It’s been a great opportunity to tell our story and get people involved.”

Retrofitting the multi-level structure, complete with many unique spaces, has become a labor of love for those involved with Girls Inc. — and so much more.

Indeed, for many of the girls who are members, it has been a unique, hands-on learning experience, with real-life lessons in everything from marketing to fundraising to architecture. In fact, several girls worked directly with lead architect Kuhn Riddle to design one of the spaces in the new home.

The ‘thermometer’ measuring donations to the Girls Inc. campaign needs to be updated to reflect that more than 90% of the needed $5 million has been raised.

The ‘thermometer’ measuring donations to the Girls Inc. campaign needs to be updated to reflect that more than 90% of the needed $5 million has been raised.

Meanwhile, this quest for, and the building of, a new home has been a tremendous opportunity for Girls Inc. to gain exposure, make new connections, and strengthen existing ones, said Parker, adding that this work is ongoing as the nonprofit works to raise that remaining 8% of the funds needed.

“Throughout this journey, we have gained a great deal of visibility, and people have been able to learn about who we are, what we do, and why Girls Inc. is so important to this region,” she said. “It’s been a great opportunity to tell our story and get people involved.”

And, in many ways, the project has been a means to celebrate and promote women in all kinds of businesses who have been involved in this endeavor. That list includes those working in fundraising, finance, law, architecture, and construction, as we’ll see.

This has also been a study in perseverance, said Yadilette Rivera-Colón, an assistant professor of Biology at Bay Path University, BusinessWest Forty Under 40 winner, and current Girls Inc. board chair, noting that the many inherent challenges in a project like this were magnified greatly by the pandemic, which made every aspect of the work more difficult.

Summing it all up, Parker said that, while there is much to do, a celebration of all that has been accomplished — and learned — is in order. And Girls Inc. will do that in March as it marks the passing of the 90% milestone in fundraising, as well as the completion of the first phase of construction. There will be tours and an opportunity to make more connections and more friends.

It will be an occasion to celebrate what’s been done and what this new home will be — and there is much in both categories.

 

Home Work

As she talked about the search for a new home and the many properties she and others toured during that lengthy process, Parker paused, glanced skyward, and let out a heavy sigh, body language that pretty much told the story.

“There was a four-year period where I was visiting nearly every building in the city of Holyoke,” she told BusinessWest, adding that, while many were attractive in some respects, none could really check all the boxes she wanted to check.

One was seemingly perfect in most ways, but had little if any parking, she said. Other property makeovers into a permanent home for the agency were simply out of the agency’s price range. And a great number simply needed way too much work to fit the bill.

Eventually, some properties graduated beyond the tour stage and into the exploration, or feasibility, stage, and that further consideration meant investments in time, energy, and sometimes money, she explained. And as the vetting process continued, there were often hard decisions about if and when to let go and move on to something else.

“To have to decide not to go ahead with it is a big decision,” she explained. “You’ve invested time and energy and resources into that, but you have to make a decision … that this is not the one. But you don’t know if the one is out there. There were lots of hard decisions to make.”

The property on Hampden Street didn’t exactly check all the boxes, either. Indeed, its front door is literally a five-foot sidewalk away from a very busy street, said Parker, adding that there were infrastructure issues as well.

But those few shortcomings were all but lost in everything else the building provided — from ample parking at a lot just a few hundred feet away to a backyard; from easy access to a nearby public park to 16,000 square feet of intriguing space Parker described as a “blank canvas” that would enable Girls Inc. to accomplish its primary goal of bringing all of its staff and programing under one large roof.

The property became available somewhat unexpectedly in 2020, at the height of the pandemic, and in many respects because of it — its owners had decided it would not be viable as office space moving forward with the advent of remote work. After some due diligence, those at Girls Inc. decided their search was over.

Some of the new and innovative spaces at the new home of Girls Inc

Some of the new and innovative spaces at the new home of Girls Inc. of the Valley include a teen lounge (seen here), a maker space, and a community room.

But the laundry list of challenges certainly wasn’t, especially with the way the pandemic slowed many aspects of this broad endeavor or prompted a full pause.

First, let’s back up a bit.

Our story starts back in 2016, with the knowledge that a new home was needed, said Parker, adding that an initial fundraising campaign, with a goal of $3 million, was launched in 2018 — long before a suitable space had been found. And the campaign got off to a great start, with gifts from the Kendeda Fund and the Elaine Nicpon Marieb Charitable Foundation.

“We were doing well,” said Parker. “And then, the pandemic hit, and we had to take a pause from the campaign. But the campaign steering committee continued to meet regularly throughout that time; we figured out how to use Zoom, we met virtually, and they kept meeting month after month.

“I think some people might have pulled the plug on a campaign,” she went on. “But we kept working.”

And this work enabled Girls Inc. to push ahead after all its due diligence on the Hampden Street property and eventually commence work in the spring of 2022, bringing a long-held dream that much closer to reality.

Cynthia Medina Carson, an executive recruiter, talent consultant, and leadership coach now living in New York, is one the campaign co-chairs and a Girls Inc. alumna who grew up not far from its original home. She remembers walking into what was then a new space for Girls Inc. back in the early ’80s.

“The approach has been, ‘we’re not going to make this for you without you.’ Every part of the process involves the stakeholders; they have to be part of it, so that, in the end, this will be a building we will all be proud of.”

She also remembers thinking that setting aside space for girls was somewhat radical at the time — but very important. It gave girls a place to go, things to do, and opportunities to learn. She said that space — and the programs staged in it — was so important to her development that she signed on to get involved in finding and creating a new home.

“I know there’s a lot of afterschool programs and online stuff, but having the actual physical space where people can congregate and be who they need to be around people who advocate for them and champion them is a very unique thing to have for women,” she said. “So it was very important for me to get involved in this project.”

And like the others we spoke with, she said this has been a challenging journey, but an invaluable learning experience as well.

“It was hard and crazy, and it wasn’t the journey everyone thought it would be,” she noted. “We ended up where we needed to be, but it was hard; it was intense.”

 

Designs on Growth

As Parker and Rivera-Colón led BusinessWest on a tour of the facilities, they stopped in a number of the emerging spaces. In each one, they talked about how they would enable Girls Inc. to serve more girls and expand its mission.

The renovations were scheduled to enable significant amounts of program space to be ready this summer, said Parker, adding that, given the property’s prior uses as a home to lawyers, engineers, and other professionals, minimal work will be needed to prepare the space for the agency’s staff and administration.

These emerging spaces include:

• A community room, a large space suitable for both small- and large-group activities. It will be the site of healthy-living programming, including dance, active games, yoga, and meditation;

• Maker space, which will be the cornerstone of the Eureka! program, where eighth-grade girls begin a five-year journey toward possible careers in STEM fields. The space will be educational and fun, with hands-on activities; and

• A teen lounge, a space for teen girls to call their own. A relaxed and empowering environment, it will be loaded with college-readiness resources and will host a diverse range of teen-centered programs.

The renovation work at the agency’s new home — and many stages of the process that came before it — have, as noted earlier, provided learning experiences for girls involved with the agency, said Parker, noting that teens gave tours to donors and potential donors.

The red hard hats

The red hard hats at the home of Girls Inc. reflect a project that has been an adventure and a learning experience on many levels.

Meanwhile, some of the Eureka! program teens learned about architecture and design from the team at Kuhn Riddle, led by president Aelan Tierney (one of BusinessWest’s Women of Impact for 2022), and actually made one of the design decisions on one of the spaces — a lobby area outside of the teen center.

Overall, nothing about the new home for Girls Inc. has been finalized without the input of they main stakeholders: the girls themselves, said Rivera-Colon, adding that this includes the location of Parker’s office.

“The approach has been, ‘we’re not going to make this for you without you,’” she explained. “Every part of the process involves the stakeholders; they have to be part of it, so that, in the end, this will be a building we will all be proud of. Everyone has had input, from the youngest girls up to Suzanne, which I think is incredible.”

While offering tours and providing input on the new space, girls have also seen women at work on every facet of this project, which was another goal and another part of the learning experience, said Parker, adding that many area women professionals have been integral to this project.

That list includes Tierney at Kuhn Riddle; attorney Rebecca Thibault with Doherty Wallace Pillsbury & Murphy, a former Girls Inc. board member; construction managers D’Lynn Healey and Ta Karra Greene with Western Builders, the general contractor for the project; Vicky Crouse, president of Commercial Lending at PeoplesBank; and Julie Cowan, vice president of Lending for MassDevelopment.

These professionals serve as role models, said Parker, adding that, from the start, this project was to be women-led and girl-focused.

“It’s been incredible the number of women involved in leadership roles on this project,” Rivera-Colón said. “And it wasn’t by accident.”

Summing up the feelings of most people involved with this project, she added that “we’ve been so long in planning and executing all this that it doesn’t seem real that we’re finally here. But we are.”

 

Bottom Line

Given the words used by Parker and others to describe this long and difficult process, one can see why those involved would certainly not want to do this any time soon.

The good news is they won’t have to; the property on Hampden Street will suit the needs of Girls Inc. for decades to come.

While acknowledging that fact, all those involved also recognize that, as challenging as this journey has been, it has also been rewarding on countless levels. And it encapsulates all that this thriving agency is all about: enabling girls to learn, grow, and reach their full potential — together.

Considering all that, this has certainly been an exercise in building momentum for Girls Inc. — figuratively but also quite literally.

 

Daily News

NEW YORK, N.Y. —  Girls Inc., a nonprofit that inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold, released “Stronger, Smarter, Bolder: Girls Take the Lead,” a report of studied insights into what is needed to ensure girls are prepared to succeed in leadership roles in business, politics, and their communities.

The report presents both a wide-ranging analysis of the latest research on the primary factors shaping girls’ lives today and recommendations for the most crucial supports communities should focus on for girls. In a new study by the American Institutes for Research, girls who receive the supports offered by Girls Inc. have a significant advantage over their peers who do not.

While more women are in key leadership positions today than ever before, there still exists a pervasive gender gap in top leadership. “Stronger, Smarter, Bolder: Girls Take the Lead” outlines four fundamental supports that Girls Inc. has determined are universally beneficial to girls and create the conditions for girls to overcome systemic societal challenges and become strong leaders: providing mentoring relationships, encouraging girls to develop and use their voices, promoting positive self-image, and fostering intellectual confidence.

These supports help girls navigate and overcome the multifaceted, interconnected, and persistent barriers they face. The report highlights some of the most recent and significant research on girls, pointing to trends in 11 key factors that shape their lives. The report presents a comprehensive, holistic view of the landscape in which girls in both the U.S. and Canada are growing up. The following factors are examined: physical activity, mental health, substance use, teen pregnancy, educational achievement, STEM experiences, graduation rates, juvenile justice, healthy relationships (encompassing harassment), sexual abuse, and leadership opportunities.

“The research shows us that Girls Inc. is making progress on some of the toughest issues girls face — but we, and all of us working in this field, still have a ways to go, especially for girls of color, LBGTQ+ girls, and low-income girls,” said Stephanie Hull, president and CEO of Girls Inc. “They need equity of access to well-being and opportunity, and we have to see the whole girl in her context and community. That’s what Girls Inc. has always done. We think that’s a key to the success we’ve achieved.”

Recently, the American Institutes for Research completed a rigorous comparison study designed to isolate and identify the impact of Girls Inc. on girls’ lives. The evaluation was a two-year, quasi-experimental research study that compared girls in Girls Inc. with a similar group of non-participating girls on subjective self-report measures from girls on their experiences, skills, and attitudes, and objective measures from schools on academic and school-based performance.

Researchers determined with confidence that, regardless of demographic, academic, and social characteristics, girls who participated in Girls Inc. were outpacing their peers in multiple areas of success and were more likely to see themselves as leaders, with the skills and capabilities to influence and improve their local communities; exercise regularly and participate in sports teams; have higher standardized math test scores and self-confidence in STEM subjects, and see themselves in STEM careers; and be engaged in and attend school, be less likely to be suspended, and be prepared for life after high school.

“Our study found that girls who participate in the Girls Inc. experience demonstrated improved academic performance, school-related behaviors, physical activity, and leadership outcomes,” said Deborah Moroney, managing director of American Institutes for Research, a not-for-profit research organization focused on social-science research, evaluation, and technical assistance.

“For those of us that work and volunteer at Girls Inc., we see girls grow and thrive every day,” said Suzanne Parker, executive director of Girls Inc. of the Valley. “For a nonprofit, though, that’s not enough. This third-party evaluation demonstrates the positive impact that Girls Inc. makes in the lives of girls, and demonstrates to the community that the investment is worthwhile.”

Parker added that the study will also show areas in which Girls Inc. can continue to grow and strengthen. “To be a part of an organization like Girls Inc. that has demonstrated the commitment to showing its impact feels pretty darn good.”

Women of Impact 2019

Executive Director, Girls Inc. of the Valley

Girls Inc. Leader Is an Innovator, Role Model, and Inspiration

The phone call came roughly 13 years ago, but Suzanne Parker remembers it like it was yesterday.

It came several days after she had agreed to become the new executive director of Girls Inc. of Holyoke, but a few days before she officially took the helm. The caller was informing her that the nonprofit was not going to be able to make payroll that week — unless some action was taken.

“I said, ‘you have a line of credit — and you’re going to have to use it,’ she recalled, adding that this was an expensive but very necessary step for an organization that had relied heavily on a federal grant that was due to expire soon and essentially lacked a plan for sustainability.

As she recounted that phone call all these years later, Parker said she wasn’t entirely surprised by it — “I went into this with my eyes wide open,” she told BusinessWest, noting that she was well aware of the agency’s fiscal condition — and not at all fazed by it.

“I like a good challenge — I knew what I was getting into,” she said, adding that she was in many ways motivated by the situation she found herself in.

Indeed, within a year she had righted the financial ship at the agency through a series of cost-cutting and revenue-generating steps (more on those later) and recalls with a huge dose of pride that she has never again had to tap that aforementioned line of credit.

“Suzanne lives and breathes Girls Inc.’s mission and vision — for girls to be strong, smart, and bold.”

But Parker, who earned a law degree earlier in her career and has certainly put it to very good use in her position, has done much more than put Girls Inc. of Holyoke on solid financial footing. Since becoming executive director in late 2006, she has led the nonprofit on an ambitious course of expansion — geographically, programmatically, and in terms of its overall impact to the region as a whole and to the individual girls who walk through the door.

For starters, she has taken the organization beyond its original borders and into Springfield and Chicopee, territorial expansion that has prompted a name change to Girls Inc. of the Valley. She has also helped introduce new programs, including the hugely successful Eureka program, an innovative and intensive five-year program that Girls Inc. operates in partnership with UMass Amherst and which is developing a pipeline of girls into STEM majors and careers.

Overall, Parker has become deeply and energetically involved in every aspect of the program, from board recruitment to fundraising; from events management to marketing.

And the results have been stunning, with the local chapter of Girls Inc. winning recognition for its efforts regionally — the nonprofit was named one of BusinessWest’s Difference Makers for 2018, for example — and within the Girls Inc. network, especially for its innovative programming.

Melyssa Brown-Porter, chair of the Girls Inc. board, put Parker’s impact on the nonprofit, area girls, and the region in its proper perspective while nominating her to be a Woman of Impact.

“Suzanne lives and breathes Girls Inc.’s mission and vision — for girls to be strong, smart, and bold,” she wrote. “She is extremely passionate about the work that GI is doing for girls and the communities they live in. She is always looking out for the best interest of the girls and concentrates very hard on the results programming has on their lives. Her focus is to reach and serve more girls with impact on our community.

“Suzanne has been an innovator and leader throughout her career,” Brown-Porter went on. “In tune with workforce needs and changes in the economy, Suzanne was piloting state-of-the-art science, technology, engineering, and math programs for girls long before STEM became the focus that is today.”

Innovator. Leader. Inspiration. These are the words many people have used to describe Parker’s work not only at Girls Inc., but at Holyoke Chicopee Springfield Head Start before that and other stops on a lengthy career working with and on behalf of young people.

Some of her best work, however, may be as a role model for the girls who come into the program.

Indeed, Parker, who became a mother at 41, has managed to effectively balance work, life at home, and deep involvement in the community, meaning that girls looking for proof that all that can be accomplished need only walk down a few doors at the Girls Inc. complex in Open Square.

And now, those looking for more descriptive terms that can be applied to Parker have three more — Woman of Impact. Although, truth be told, they’ve probably been using them all along.

Orchestrating Progress

Parker joked that, while she played the clarinet well in her youth growing up in Belchertown — and later in some impressive performance venues, like the Esplanade and Government Center in Boston — she didn’t play it well enough to get paid to do it.

But her love of music prompted her to get a degree in music education from UMass Amherst and eventually teach instrumental band music at Cohasset Middle School. And that’s a good place to begin our story, because it was there that Parker developed an interest in working with young people — and a passion for helping those less privileged.

Seen here with some members of Girls Inc. of the Valley, Suzanne Parker has become a mentor and role model for many members.

“Cohasset was a very affluent community, and, with my humble beginnings in Belchertown, it was a little bit of a culture shock for me,” she explained. “The students I connected with the most were those who were part of the METCO program, mostly students of color living in Dorchester.

“It was important to me to make sure they were included in the band,” she went on. “I also wanted to include kids of different abilities, something that wasn’t the case when I got there, thus creating an environment and atmosphere where there was a lot of inclusion. That’s what I was most proud of from my work there.”

These themes of inclusion and working to provide opportunities to those less fortunate would define her work throughout her career.

Fast-forwarding a little, Parker said she soon realized that she wanted and needed more than teaching, but didn’t know exactly what. She started by returning to Western Mass. and working in sales for a time. Her career path took a rather sharp turn, however, when she saw a sign on the roadside advertising for Head Start substitute teachers.

She knew was overqualified, but took the job anyway, with her first assignment at the Westover Air Reserve center for Head Start. She spent the next 16 years moving up the ladder, serving in a number of roles and eventually deputy director.

Along the way, she realized she needed another degree, and after considering several options, including a master’s in social work and a master’s in education — she settled on a law degree.

“A friend of mine who I grew up with decided to go to law school at Western New England University, and he passed,” she recalled. “And I said to myself, ‘I know that guy — I think I’m as smart as this guy; I think I can do it.’”

So she applied, received some needed financial aid, and went to law school part-time at night, commencing an arduous journey that ended in 2003 when she passed the bar.

“There were many days of tears because I was working tons of hours as a senior-level exec at Head Start,” she said in reference to the difficult task of balancing everything she was doing at the time. “But I did it.”

And now, her very unofficial job description at Girls Inc. is to not only show young girls that they, too, can do it — but to give them a road map for getting where they want to go and the tools to get on the right course and stay on it.

Degrees of Progress

As noted, she has put that law degree to good use, providing ample evidence that such an education isn’t just for those who want to work in the courtroom.

“I use it every day,” she told BusinessWest. “That law-school education helps you every day as an executive director. I use it with everything I’m involved with: contracts, employees, real estate, administrative law — we have federal and state funding — as well as writing skills — I was on the Law Review. It was a really great education, and it has really helped me.

Beyond serving as a great advertisement for law school, those comments hint at Parker’s broad job description at Girls Inc. Slicing through it all, though, her primary work early on involved turning the organization around, putting it on solid financial ground and a path to sustainability — and keeping it on that path.

“It’s all about the mission. It’s so empowering, and there is such a need; we know that there are still gaps that exist with women and girls with regard to opportunities and pay and STEM fields … there’s still such a need, and that’s why we do what we do.”

She’s done that through a variety of measures, including some restructuring, belt-tightening, and the establishment of several of reliable fundraisers, especially the annual Spirit of Girls breakfast, launched in 2007, which does a lot more than raise roughly $150,000 each year, although that is certainly significant.

Indeed, girls involved in the program are heavily involved with the event, and several take to the microphone — in front of an audience of more than 500 people — to talk about Girls Inc. and how it is impacting their lives.

“We keep the expenses incredibly low; it’s a light breakfast, and we don’t pay for speakers — the girls are the speakers,” she told BusinessWest. “It’s an empowering experience for the girls themselves — they take leadership roles in this event.”

The breakfast is just one of the ways the organization works to empower girls and put them on the path to becoming leaders — in their chosen fields and the community as well.

Looking ahead, Parker said the obvious goal is to broaden the regional impact of Girls Inc. and continue those efforts to give the nonprofit the same qualities it strives to give young girls — to be strong, smart, and bold.

Thus, the agency will look to continually extend its reach within Springfield and Chicopee, while keeping Holyoke as its home and base. Finding a new, permanent home is one of the assignments moving forward, said Parker, as is creating sustainability for the Eureka program, conducted in partnership with UMass Amherst and its College of Natural Sciences, Bay Path University, and several other area colleges, and scaling up that initiative. A capital campaign to pay for all this is also in its formative stage.

As for Parker, who has continually sought out new challenges throughout her career, she’s looking forward to being with Girls Inc. as it strives to get to the next level.

“It’s all about the mission,” she noted. “It’s so empowering, and there is such a need; we know that there are still gaps that exist with women and girls with regard to opportunities and pay and STEM fields … there’s still such a need, and that’s why we do what we do.

“Every year, we have the conversation — am I still helping this organization, and is it still a win-win, for me and Girls Inc.?” she went on. “As long as I can still feel challenged and that we’re growing and we’re changing, and that I have something to give and I’m making a difference, I’m in.”

Leading by Example

And there are a great many people who are happy she’s in.

Indeed, Parker has become a Woman of Impact not just because of what she’s done as the leader of a nonprofit clearly in need of strong leadership.

She’s also reached that status by being an effective role model for the girls who join her program — and girls across the region. Years ago, she set goals for herself, understood what was needed to reach those goals, and positioned herself to succeed.

That, in a nutshell, is what Girls Inc. is all about, and while its success doesn’t stem from the work of a single woman, Parker’s influence has greatly enhanced its ability to carry out that all-important mission.

George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]

Daily News

 

HOLYOKE — Girls Inc. of the Valley has named nine recipients of its first-ever Dream Maker Award ahead of the agency’s Spirit of Girls event on May 5.  

During the past two years, several members of the community have stepped up to provide high-quality learning opportunities for youth, advocate for funding for Girls Inc. programs, and volunteer their time, talents, and treasure to benefit 

Girls Inc. of the Valley. Girls Inc. is awarding the following people the Dream Maker Award. 

 

  • Mary Kay Brown is director of Partnerships at John J. Duggan Academy, a Social Justice Magnet School, Kennedy Middle School, and the Academy at Kiley. She has been the liaison to get Girls Inc. programming in Springfield schools and has advocated for funding from the district for Girls Inc.’s healthy sexuality curriculum;

 

  • Angelina Cicerchia graduated from UMass Amherst in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree and currently works at Mass General Hospital. She has been a champion for youth, which includes her dedication as a mentor in Girls Inc.’s College Access Now (CAN) Mentor Program;

 

  • Cady Coleman is a former NASA Astronaut and Air Force colonel with more than 180 days in space, accumulated during two space shuttle missions and a six-month expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), where she acted as the Lead Robotics and Lead Science officer. Coleman is a vocal advocate for inclusion in STEM fields. She has hosted workshops to energize youth about space and science careers, and inspired girls to dream bigger and pursue a career as an astronaut;

 

  • Rep. Patricia Duffy represents the state’s Fifth Hampden District, which consists of Holyoke and is expanding to include Chicopee Ward 3B in January 2023. She continues to advocate for state funding for Girls Inc. and hosted the press event at Girls Inc.’s new home at 480 Hampden Street. Rep. Duffy’s weekly resource meetings for organizations during the height of the pandemic were also impactful;

 

  • Sarah Etelman has been a part of the Girls Inc. family for more than 12 years (which includes nearly a year as a consultant before a full-time position opened up). During that time, she’s been witness to the many transformations that Girls Inc. inspires. During the pandemic, she helped keep girls creatively engaged with felting workshops, and outfitted Girls Inc. staff with handmade masks.

 

  • Nikai Fondon is a recent graduate of the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst, and now works at a woman-owned marketing agency. She hosts her own podcast called She Did That!, dedicated to highlighting women of color leaders in our community. She has lent her voice to the Girls and Racism Town Hall, and worked with Girls Inc. teens to develop their own Zine

 

  • Jean Mendoza currently serves as the director of Marketing & Communications for Auxiliary Enterprises at UMass Amherst, where she facilitates and leads high- level marketing projects and strategic plans for the campus community and beyond. A Springfield native, her commitment to enrich, empower, and engage her local community has been a priority throughout her career. She has shown up for youth in many ways, most recently as a mentor in the CAN Mentor Program.

 

  • Senator John C. Velis represents the 2nd Hampden and Hampshire district in the Massachusetts State Senate, which includes the City of Holyoke and 10 other cities and towns in Western Massachusetts. He has been a champion of the Eureka! Program, secured a $50,000 earmark for Girls Inc.’s new building on 480 Hampden St., and continues to advocate for state funding.
  • WWLP-22News, an NBC affiliate, is the area’s multimedia leader and the most watched television station in the market. The station and its reporters have participated in important conversations that center and elevate girls’ voices in the community, like Project Red to bring awareness to the inaccessibility of period products during the pandemic, and Project TEAL, to shine a light on the hyper-sexualization of girls and women of color.
Women of Impact 2020

CEO, Girls Scouts of Central & Western Massachusetts

She’s a Role Model and a Strong Advocate for Women and Girls

Pattie Hallberg

Pattie Hallberg

Pattie Hallberg has a large collection of keepsakes scattered about her office on Kelly Street in Holyoke. Together, they effectively tell a story of who she is, what she does, what she believes, and what’s important to her.

There’s the Ruth Bader Ginsburg bobblehead, for example, an indication of whom she draws inspiration from. There’s also the sign siting on her window sill that reads “No Solicitors, Unless You Sell Thin Mints,” a nod to her role as CEO of the Girls Scouts of Central & Western Massachusetts (GSCWM) and one of the programs for which the organization is most noted — cookie sales.

There are also a few framed quotes. One, attributed to Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts, reads: “The Work of Today is the History of Tomorrow, and We Are Its Makers.” There’s another that’s unattributed and says simply “Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You.”

Hallberg must have been at least a little scared the day she made the decision to leave her job as chief executive of Invent Now Kids Inc., a subsidiary of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, and find a new challenge. Actually, she and her husband took the same plunge, if you will.

“I had four girls, and we were all kind of in transition,” she said while relaying the story. “My oldest was graduating from college, my two youngest were graduating from high school, and Jessica was at Lehigh University. I decided it was time for a transition for me; my husband and I decided that we were going to leave Northeast Ohio, and whoever found a job first — that’s where we were going to go.”

Long story short, she found employment first. Only it wasn’t a job she found, but a passion — or, to be more, precise, a new outlet for an existing passion.

“This is a business about relationships. I spend a lot of time talking to people who were Girl Scouts about what Girl Scouts meant to them. And then I talk to a lot of girls about what they’re doing, what they want to do, and where they want to go.”

This bold career move itself, fueled by ambition, confidence, and some adventurousness as well, makes a Hallberg a fine role model for the thousands of Girl Scouts under her charge. But there are plenty of other reasons why she’s worthy of that descriptive phrase. That list includes her accomplishments with this Girl Scout body, which resulted from a merger, which she managed, of three councils; her advocacy for young women; her work to inspire girls to pursue careers in STEM; her involvement in the community (she’s involved with groups ranging from the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts to the Investing in Girls Alliance in Worcester); and even how she has handled the responsibilities of being a mother and grandmother.

“It’s so important to teach children in general — for me, my job is girls — to learn about the community and to give back to their community,” she said. “That’s the ultimate community service in Girl Scouting, and I try be a role model for that; I try to give back to my community as best I can.”

Mostly, though, she is a role model, and a Woman of Impact, for the way in which she has devoted most of her career to understanding the issues and challenges facing women and girls — and there are many of them — and being proactive in finding ways to address them.

When asked about what her work entails, Hallberg said there is a lengthy job description, as might be expected when managing a $4 million agency. But overall, she said it boils down to two main duties — listening and relationship building.

“This is a business about relationships,” she explained. “I spend a lot of time talking to people who were Girl Scouts about what Girl Scouts meant to them. And then I talk to a lot of girls about what they’re doing, what they want to do, and where they want to go.”

Suffice it to say, during her career advocating for women and girls, she has gone well beyond talk. And that’s why she was nominated for, and is a recipient of, this BusinessWest honor.

 

Moving Stories

Among her many goals and aspirations, Hallberg wants to someday hear someone say, ‘Eagle Scout? Is that the equivalent of being a Gold Scout in the Girl Scouts?’ or words to that effect.

Pattie Hallberg says she enjoys spending time with Girl Scouts, and those who have been Scouts and can talk about what that organization has done for them.

Pattie Hallberg says she enjoys spending time with Girl Scouts, and those who have been Scouts and can talk about what that organization has done for them.

She’s heard the reverse of this question more times than she would care to say or count, because while most everyone has heard references to Eagle Scouts, the highest rank in Boy Scouts and a proud line on any résumé, only those in the know understand its counterpart. Hallberg wants more people to know and thus put an end to those frustrating questions.

But she has more pressing concerns at the moment, especially the many challenges facing girls of all ages today. When asked to give a list, Hallberg put stress at the very top of it.

“Girls are under an incredible amount of stress today,” she explained. “There’s the stress to do well in school, and all those things that we’ve all had, but there’s this added layer to it now that’s really overwhelming.”

Much of this stress is connected to bullying, she went on, adding that, while it has always been an issue, today it is an even deeper concern, for obvious reasons.

“The stories are overwhelming … what can happen to a girl in just a moment, mostly around the internet,” she said. “It’s frightening, and it really takes its toll on these girls.”

For these reasons, the Girls Scouts and especially the GSCWM have always been focused on creating what Hallberg called a “safe space,” one in which they could be different and unique. But beyond that, the agency is devoted to giving them opportunities — and the confidence to realize them.

Pattie Hallberg has devoted much of her life to being an advocate for women and girls, especially in her current role with the Girl Scouts.

Pattie Hallberg has devoted much of her life to being an advocate for women and girls, especially in her current role with the Girl Scouts.

Which brings her back to STEM, and the numbers involving girls in those fields, statistics that in large part fueled her desire to seek a new career challenge.

“I developed a sincere concern about girls and women in the STEM field,” she recalled, flashing back to her days at the Inventors Hall of Fame. “The youth STEM programs we ran … at the elementary-school level, in kindergarten, first, and second grade, half of those kids were girls, and half were boys. Around third or fourth grade, the girl numbers started to drop, and there were more and more programs where there was a disproportionate number of boys.”

Years later, the problem persists to a large degree, she said, adding that changing this equation has been one of her many goals with the GSCWM.

Indeed, since arriving in Western Mass. in 2008, Hallberg has done much more than merge three Girl Scout councils, covering 186 communities, into one, although that was a significant feat in itself. She has shaped the organization into a leader in this region in advocacy for young women and also put in place an aggressive strategic planning process that has sharpened the council’s focus and championed leadership development of young women.

As part of these efforts, the council has instituted a Girl Leadership Board made up of two dozen girls who meet regularly with Hallberg to share ideas, concerns, challenges, hopes, and aspirations. An important aspect of this board is the manner in which she has created space and practice for young women to speak out and experience being heard and empowered to bring their ideas to life through scouting.

“We have 18 middle- and high-school girls, and I meet with them once a month on a Saturday morning,” she told BusinessWest. “They are fantastic at talking about what it’s like to be a girl right now, what they need from programs like the Girls Scouts, and what they want, which is different from what they need. So I get a lot of perspective.”

And this perspective often helps shape programming and the overall direction of this 108-year-old institution, said Hallberg, noting that her job essentially involves a balance of honoring the history and traditions of the Girls Scouts, but also looking to the future as well.

“There’s so much to learn from the past and so much to learn about the future from these girls,” she went on. “What I try to do beyond the job of running this business and organization is to really try to understand the issues for both women and girls in our area and to advocate for them.”

 

Bottom Line

Managing the GSCWM, an agency that covers territory ranging Worcester to the New York border, requires Hallberg to travel extensively. She rolled her eyes when asked how many miles she puts on her car each year.

She spends the time on the road listening to books on tape — and thinking.

Thinking about the many challenges facing young women today — from bullying to financial literacy to having the skills needed to succeed in today’s technology-driven economy.

She’s managed to convert many of these thoughts into effective action, and this helps explain why she is a member of the Women of Impact class of 2020.

 

George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]

Sections Super 60
Program Marks 25 Years of Honoring the Top-performing Companies

Super60logoIt started a quarter-century ago.

The program was smaller — it was known as the Fabulous 50 back then — and was conceived as a fund-raising event for what is now the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield (ACCGS), and also as an opportunity to celebrate the top-performing companies that characterized the region’s diverse economy.

Along the way, it has become a fall tradition, and the phrase ‘Super 60 company’ has become a bragging right for businesses large and small, said ACCGS President Jeff Ciuffreda, as he referenced the class of 2014.

It will be celebrated on Nov. 14 at Chez Josef in Agawam, which has traditionally been sold out for the Super 60 luncheon, and should be this year as well.

And, as in the previous 24 years, the Super 60 lists are characterized by diversity — in a number of forms (see snapshots below). First, geographically. Nearly 20 cities and towns in Western Mass. are represented by the companies in the Total Revenue and Revenue Growth categories, including both the larger cities, such as Springfield, Holyoke, and Westfield, but also the smaller towns, such as Ware, Belchertown, and Southwick.

There’s also diversity in terms of the industrial sectors represented on those lists. There are winners from the financial-services sector, retail, manufacturing, education, healthcare, technology, service, distribution, construction, and the region’s large nonprofit realm. And there’s diversity in terms of size, with some of the region’s largest employers on the Total Revenue list, and some of its smaller rising stars on the Revenue Growth compilation.

Add it all up, and this year’s winners provide ample reason for optimism as the region continues to battle its way back from the prolonged recession that began in 2007.

“Small business is the backbone of our region,” said Ciuffreda, “and the success of this year’s winners is a clear indication that our regional economy is strong.”

This strength is reflected in the numbers posted by this year’s winners. The average revenue of the companies in the Total Revenue category exceeded $35 million, with combined revenue of more than $1 billion. Meanwhile, one-third of the companies in the Revenue Growth category posted growth in excess of 50%, with the average growth of all honorees in that category at more than 49%.

Topping the Total Revenue category is West Springfield-based Balise Motor Sales, which now boasts more than 20 facilities (new- and used-car dealerships, collision-repair shops, and car washes) in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Placing second is the Stavros Center for Independent Living, with NUVO Bank & Trust Co. placing third.

In the Revenue Growth category, Springfield-based City Enterprise Inc., a woman-owned commercial and residential builder, finished on top, followed by Troy Industries Inc. and Chemex Corp.

Also, 16 companies qualified for both categories. They include the Dennis Group, Gandara Mental Health, Joseph Freedman Co., Maybury Associates, M.J. Moran, Northeast Treaters, NUVO Bank & Trust Co., PC Enterprises (Entre Computer), Pioneer Valley Concrete Services, Premier Source Credit Union, Tighe & Bond, Troy Industries, Universal Plastics Corp., and Whalley Computer Associates. Each was placed in the category where it finished highest.

The winners will be saluted at the annual luncheon, which this year will feature Friendly Ice Cream President and CEO John Maguire as keynote speaker.

Maguire is credited with engineering a strong turnaround at the company, which began with a single shop in Springfield in 1935, grew into a regional powerhouse, but struggled through the ’90s and the first part of this century, eventually filing for bankruptcy.

The celebration luncheon is presented by Health New England and sponsored by Hampden Bank, Zasco Productions, and WWLP-TV22.

Reservations for the luncheon are required and can be made online at www.myonlinechamber.com or by e-mailing Sarah Mazzaferro at [email protected]. Tickets are $50 for ACCGS members, $70 for non-members. The deadline for reservations is Nov. 7.

Fast Facts:

What: The Super 60 Luncheon
When: Nov. 14, 11:30 to 1:30 p.m.
Where: Chez Josef, Agawam
Keynote Speaker: John Maguire, president and CEO, Friendly’s
For more Information: Visit www.myonlinechamber.com

TOTAL REVENUE

1. Balise Motor Sales
122 Doty Circle, West Springfield
(413) 733-8604
www.baliseauto.com
Jeb Balise, President and Dealer
Now one of the largest retailers of new and used automobiles in New England, Balise Motor Sales, which traces its roots back to 1929, operates more than 20 dealerships, collision-repair shops, and car washes in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Brands sold and serviced include Buick, Chevrolet, GMC, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Lexus, Mazda, Nissan, Scion, Subaru, Toyota, and Volkswagen. The company now employs more than 1,000 people at its various facilities.

2. Stavros Center for Independent Living
210 Old Farm Road, Amherst
(413) 256-0473
www.stavros.org
Jim Kruidenier, Director
The Stavros Center for Independent Living, founded in 1976, is one of the oldest independent-living centers in the country. It is the goal at Stavros to give people with disabilities the tools to take charge of their life choices, act on their own behalf, and overcome situations that reduce their potential for independence. The company operates three offices, in Amherst, Springfield, and Greenfield. Offerings include deaf and hard-of-hearing services, housing services, building services, options counseling, a transition-to-adulthood program, personal-care-attendant services, and many others.

3. Nuvo Bank & Trust Co. *
1500 Main St., Springfield
(413) 787-2700
www.nuvobank.com
Dale Janes, CEO
NUVO Bank is a locally owned, independent small-business bank located in downtown Springfield. NUVO provides loans, deposits, and cash-management services for personal-banking and business-banking needs.

The Assoc. for Community Living
220 Brookdale Dr., Springfield
(413) 732-0531
www.theassociationinc.org
Barbara Pilarcik, R.N., Executive Director
For 60 years, the Assoc. for Community Living has been creating opportunities, building relationships, and improving lives of children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families. The agency’s caring and experienced workforce empowers individuals with developmental disabilities to live with dignity, bringing fulfillment, community, and valuable relationships into their lives.

Charter Oak Insurance and Financial Services Co.

330 Whitney Ave., Holyoke
(413) 374-5430
www.charteroakfinancial.com
Peter Novak, General Agent
A member of the MassMutual Financial Group, Charter Oak been servicing clients for 127 years. The team of professionals serves individuals, families, and businesses with risk-management products, business planning and protection, retirement planning and investment services, and fee-based financial planning.

City Tire Company Inc.
25 Avocado St., Springfield
(413) 737-1419
www.city-tire.com
Peter Greenberg, President
Brothers Peter and Dan Greenberg, the third generation of a family-owned business founded in 1927, have grown the business to 11 locations in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The company offers one-stop shopping for tires of all shapes and sizes and a full compliment of maintenance and repair services.

Commercial Distributing Co. Inc.
46 South Broad St., Westfield
(413) 562-9691
www.commercialdist.com
Richard Placek, Chairman
Founded in 1935 by Joseph Placek, Commercial Distributing Co. is a family-owned and -operated business servicing more than 1,000 bars, restaurants, and clubs, as well as more than 400 package and liquor stores. Now in its third generation, the company continues to grow through the values established by its founder by building brands and offering new products as the market changes.

The Dennis Group, LLC *
1537 Main St., Springfield
(413) 746-0054
www.dennisgrp.com
TOM DENNIS, CEO
The Dennis Group offers complete planning, design, architectural, engineering, and construction-management services. The firm is comprised of experienced engineering and design professionals specializing in the implementation of food-manufacturing processes and facilities.

Environmental Compliance Services Inc.
588 Silver St., Agawam
(413) 789-3530
www.ecsconsult.com
MARK HELLSTEIN, PRESIDENT AND CEO
For more than 25 years, ECS has specialized in environmental site assessments; testing for asbestos, lead, indoor air quality, and mold; drilling and subsurface investigations; and emergency-response management.

Gandara Mental Health Inc. *
147 Norman St., West Springfield
(413) 736-8329
www.gandaracenter.org
Dr. Henry East-Trou, CEO
Focusing on the Latino/Hispanic community, Gandara Center provides substance-abuse recovery, mental-health, and housing services for men, women, children, adolescents, and families throughout the Pioneer Valley.

Joseph Freedman Co. Inc. *
115 Stevens St., Springfield
(888) 677-7818
www.josephfreedmanco.com
John Freedman, President
Founded in 1891, the company provides industrial scrap-metal recycling, specializing in aluminum, copper, nickel alloys, and aircraft scrap, and has two facilities in Springfield — a 120,000-square-foot indoor ferrous facility, and a 60,000-square-foot chopping operation.

Kittredge Equipment Co. Inc.
100 Bowles Road, Agawam
(413) 304-4100
www.kittredgeequipment.com
Wendy Webber, President
Founded in 1921, Kittredge Equipment Co.is one of the nation’s leading food-service equipment and supply businesses. It boasts 70,000 square feet of showroom in three locations — Agawam, Williston, Vt., and Bow, N.H., making it the largest total showroom in New England, with in-stock inventory of equipment and smallware consisting of more than 7,000 different items. The company also handles design services, and has designed everything from small restaurants to country clubs to in-plant cafeterias.

Marcotte Ford Sales
1025 Main St., Holyoke
(800) 923-9810
www.marcotteford.com
BRYAN MARCOTTE, PRESIDENT
The dealership sells new Ford vehicles as well as pre-owned cars, trucks, and SUVs, and features a full service department. Marcotte has achieved the President’s Award, one of the most prestigious honors given to dealerships by Ford Motor Co., on multiple occasions over the past decade.

Maybury Associates Inc.*
90 Denslow Road, East Longmeadow
(413) 525-4216
www.maybury.com
John Maybury, President
Since 1976, Maybury Associates Inc. has been designing, supplying, and servicing all types of material-handling equipment throughout New England. Maybury provides customers in a wide range of industries with solutions to move, lift, and store their parts and products.

Northeast Treaters Inc./Chemical Wood Treaters *
201 Springfield Road, Belchertown
(413) 323-7811
www.ntreaters.com
David Reed, President
Northeast Treaters, founded in 1985 in Belchertown, is a manufacturer of pressure-treated lumber. In 1996, an additional facility was added in Athens, N.Y. to produce fire-retardant treated lumber.

Quabbin Wire & Cable Co. Inc.
10 Maple St., Ware
(413) 967-6281
www.quabbin.com
Paul Engel, President
Quabbin Wire & Cable Co. is a privately held corporation that manufactures a variety of thermoplastic shielded and unshielded cables that are sold through distribution. Cable applications and markets include local area networks (LANS), industrial LAN systems, telecommunications systems, control and Instrumentation, process-control interconnect, computer peripherals, low-capacitance data, point-of-sale equipment, sound and audio instrumentation, fire alarm and security systems, medical devices, and custom-designed signaling applications.

Rediker Software Inc.

2 Wilbraham Road, Hampden
(800) 213-9860
www.rediker.com
RICHARD REDIKER, PRESIDENT
Rediker software is used by school administrators across the U.S. and in more than 100 countries, and is designed to meet the student-information-management needs of all types of schools and districts.

Sarat Ford Lincoln
245 Springfield St., Agawam
(413) 789-5400
www.saratford.com
Jeff Sarat, President
Founded in 1929 by John Sarat Sr., Sarat Ford has become the largest Ford dealership in Western Mass., and today, grandson Jeff Sarat leads the company. The full-service dealership includes a state-of-the-art body shop, and a new, 10,000-square-foot expansion offers a 24-bay service center that houses a $1 million parts inventory featuring Ford, Motorcraft, Motorsport, and a variety of other specialty manufacturers.

Specialty Bolt & Screw Inc.
235 Bowles Road, Agawam
(413) 789-6700
www.specialtybolt.com
Kevin Queenin, President
Founded in 1977, Specialty Bolt & Screw (SBS) is a full-service solutions provider of fasteners, vendor-managed inventory (VMI) programs, and c-class commodities. Based in Agawam, it has locations in Valcourt, Quebec; Juarez, Mexico; Queretaro, Mexico; Rovaniemi, Finland; and Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

Spectrum Analytical Inc.
11 Almgren Dr., Agawam
(413) 789-9018
www.spectrum-analytical.com
Hanibal Tayeh, CEO
For more than a decade, Spectrum Analytical Inc. has provided quantitative analysis of soil, water, and, more recently, air samples, as well as petroleum products. Consulting firms, industries, municipalities, universities, and the public sector are among the constituencies that make up the client list.

Springfield College
263 Alden St., Springfield
(413) 748-3000
www.springfieldcollege.edu
Mary-Beth Cooper, President
Founded in 1885, Springfield College is a private, independent, coeducational, four-year college offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs with its Humanics philosophy — educating students in spirit, mind, and body for leadership in service to others.

Tighe & Bond Inc. *
53 Southampton Road, Westfield
(413) 562-1600
www.tighebond.com
David Pinsky, President
Having celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2011, Tighe & Bond specializes in environmental engineering, focusing on water, wastewater, solid-waste, and hazardous-waste issues, and provides innovative engineering services to public and private clients around the country and overseas.

United Personnel Services Inc.
1331 Main St., Springfield
(413) 736-0800
www.unitedpersonnel.com
PATRICIA CANAVAN, PRESIDENT
United provides a full range of staffing services, including temporary staffing and full-time placement, on-site project management, and strategic recruitment in the Springfield, Hartford, and Northampton areas, specializing in administrative, professional, medical, and light-industrial staff.

University Products Inc.
517 Main St., Holyoke
(413) 532-3372
www.universityproducts.com
John Magoon, President
University Products is one of the nation’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of materials for conservation, restoration, preservation, exhibition, and archival storage. The company’s catalog includes thousands of paper and plastic enclosures, specialty tapes and adhesives, preservation framing supplies, and archival storage boxes. In addition, it distributes furnishings, tools, equipment, chemicals, and other materials that contribute to the field of preservation.

Valley Fibers Corp.

75 Service Center Road, Northampton
(413) 584-2225
www.yarn.com
Steve Elkins, CEO
Valley Fibers Corp., operating as Webs Amera’s Yarn Store, was founded in 1974, and ships products for knitters, weavers, and spinners in Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, the continental U.S., and internationally. Products consist of all forms of natural and man-made fibers for clothing and accessories in addition to crochet accessories, tools, and more.

Valley Opportunity Council Inc.

35 Mount Carmel Ave., Chicopee
(413) 552-1554
www.valleyopp.com
Stephen Huntley, Executive Director
The Valley Opportunity Council (VOC) is the largest and most diverse community-action agency in the region. It has a network of support and collaborative services that include energy assistance, nutrition, early education and childcare, adult education, senior services, housing, money management, and transporation.

WestMass ElderCare Inc.
4 Valley Mill Road, Holyoke
(413) 538-9020
www.wmeldercare.org
Priscilla Chalmers, Executive Director
WestMass ElderCare is a private, nonprofit agency with a mission to “to preserve the dignity, independence, and quality of life of elders and disabled persons desiring to remain within their own community.” The agency offers a variety of services for elders, their families and caregivers, and persons with disabilities. Programs and services include supportive housing, home care, options counseling, adult family care, nutrition programs, adult foster care, and group adult foster care.

Whalley Computer Associates Inc. *
One Whalley Way, Southwick
(413) 569-4200
www.wca.com
JOHN WHALLEY, PRESIDENT
WCA is a locally owned family business that has evolved from a hardware resale and service group in the ’70s and ’80s into a company that now focuses on lowering the total cost of ownership of technology and productivity enhancement for its customers. Whalley carries name-brand computers as well as low-cost performance compatibles.

YMCA of Greater Springfield
275 Chestnut St., Springfield
(413) 739-6951
www.springfieldy.org
Kirk Smith, President and CEO
The YMCA of Greater Springfield, established in 1852, is the fourth-oldest Y in the world, second-oldest in the country, and third-oldest in North America only to Montreal and Boston. The Y provides services annually to more than 115,000 members, and the program participates in 14 cities and towns across the region. Facilities include the Downtown Springfield YMCA Family Center, the Scantic Valley YMCA Family Center in Wilbraham, the Agawam YMCA Wellness & Program Family Center, and the Dunbar YMCA Family & Community Center in Springfield.

* Indicates company qualifed in both categories

REVENUE GROWTH

1. City Enterprise Inc.
38 Berkshire Ave., Springfield
(413) 726-9549
www.cityenterpriseinc.com
Wonderlyn Murphy, president
City Enterprise Inc. offers skilled general-contracting services to the New England region. The company prides itself on custom design and construction of affordable, quality homes and the infrastructure surrounding each project.

2. Troy Industries Inc. *
151 Capital Dr.,
West Springfield
(866) 788-6412
www.troyind.com
Erhan Erden, president
Troy Industries is a leading U.S. government contractor that designs and manufactures innovative, top-quality small-arms components and accessories and complete weapon upgrades. Many iconic firearms manufacturers incorporate Troy products into their weapons, including Smith & Wesson, Sturm Ruger & Co., Viking Tactics, POF-USA, LaRue Tactical, LWRC International, Noveske, and HK Defense.

3. Chemex Corp.
11 Veterans Dr., Chicopee
(413) 331-4460
www.chemexcoffeemaker.com
Liz Grassy, president
The Chemex coffeemaker was invented in 1941 by Dr. Peter Schlumbohm. Made simply from non-porous, borosilicate glass and fastened with a wood collar and tie, it brews coffee without imparting any flavors of its own. Chicopee-based Chemex Corp., a family-owned company, manufactures Chemex coffeemakers, bonded filters, handblown water kettles, and accessories for worldwide distribution.

American Pest Solutions Inc.
169 William St., Springfield
(413) 781-0044
www.413pestfree.com
Robert Russell, president
For about a century, American Pest Solutions has been taking care of families and business owners to keep their properties free from ants, bedbugs, rodents, roaches, termites, and other harmful pest infestations. By utilizing products and pest-treatment solutions designed to minimize impacts on the surrounding environment, American takes an ecologically sensitive approach to pest control for the environmentally concerned client.

Boys & Girls Club Family Center Inc.
100 Acorn St., Springfield
(413) 739-4743
www.bgcafamilycenter.org
O’Rita Swan, executive director
The Boys & Girls Club Family Center, featuring a regulation-size gym, a full-size indoor swimming pool, and rooms where kids study and play, is devoted to the idea that children need a place where they are nurtured, protected, and loved. The center offers a variety of activities for children and teens, at all times of the day and early evening. Open year-round, its programs include a pre-school program, after-school program, teen drop-in program, and summer camp.

CanAm Fibers
100 State St., Ludlow
(413) 525-9018
www.canamfibers.net
Peter Meuiner, president
CanAm Fibers has established itself as a well-known and highly respected supplier of varied and specialty-grade paper products to export markets, particularly third-world countries, a segment that allows CanAm to offer domestic suppliers a feasible and economically advantageous avenue in which to dispose of excess material.

Convergent Solutions Inc.
9501 Post Office Park, Wilbraham
(413) 509-1000
www.convergentsolutions.com
Arlene Kelly, CEO
A healthcare billing solutions provider founded in 2006, Convergent Solutions provides hardware and software products that help eliminate human error in medical billing processes, thus helping bring down the cost of healthcare.

Dietz & Co. Architects Inc.
17 Hampden St., Springfield
(413) 733-6798
www.dietzarch.com
Kerry Dietz, CEO
Dietz & Co. provides a full range of architectural services in the public and private sectors, including work in housing, education, healthcare, commercial facilities, historic preservation, and sustainable projects. The firm seeks to bring the benefits of integrated design into all its projects, from individual buildings to entire neighborhoods.

FIT Solutions, LLC
25 Bremen St., Springfield
(413) 733-6466
www.fitsolutions.us
Jackie Fallon, president
Since 2004, FIT Solutions has been partnering with clients, from small-business owners who have only a few IT needs to large companies that have small IT departments, to provide the best candidates for a variety of IT positions. Serving both the Massachusetts and Connecticut markets, FIT Solutions determines the exact qualifications and skills needed, as well as the personality traits desired, in order to find candidates that fit an array of technology-based positions.

The Gaudreau Group
1984 Boston Road, Wilbraham
(413) 543-3534
www.gaudreaugroup.com
Jules Gaudreau, president
A multi-line insurance and financial-service agency established in 1921, the Gaudreau Group combines the traditional service philosophy of an agency with the talents of a dynamic marketing organization. With the expertise and resources that enable clients to respond to an ever-changing economic environment, the agency offers a broad range of insurance and financial products from basic life, home, and auto insurance to complex corporate services, employee benefits, and retirement plans.

GMH Fence Company Inc.
15 Benton Dr., East Longmeadow
(413) 525-3361
www.gmhfence.com
Glenn Hastie, owner
Serving the Western Mass. area for more than over 20 years, GMH Fence Co. is one of largest and most respected fence companies in the region. The fencing contractor offers quality service and fence installations from a selection of wood, aluminum, steel, and vinyl fencing that are durable and virtually trouble-free for residential, commercial, and industrial fencing requests.

Haluch Water Contracting Inc.
399 Fuller St, Ludlow
(413) 589-1254
Thomas Haluch, president
For 30 years, Haluch Water Contracting has served the region as a water-main construction and excavation contractor specializing in water, sewer, pipeline, and communications and power-line construction.

Hampden County Career Center / CareerPoint
850 High St., Holyoke
(413) 532-4900
www.careerpointma.com
David Gadaire, executive director
Since 1996, Hampden County Career Center Inc., d/b/a CareerPoint, has been serving the workforce and economic-development needs of individual job seekers, social-service agencies, and the business community throughout Hampden County and beyond. The center transforms the maze of complex, bureaucratic employment and training programs into one seamless service-delivery system for job seeking and employer customers alike.

Holyoke Community College Foundation Inc.
303 Homestead Ave., Holyoke
(413) 552-2546
www.hcc.edu/the-hcc-foundation
Erica Broman, executive director
The Holyoke Community College Foundation was created four decades ago to help the college meet the needs of the region’s citizens and workforce, by raising both funds and awareness and supporting programs and activities in keeping with the mission of the college.

Innovative Business Systems Inc.
161 Northampton St,. 
Easthampton
(413) 584-4274
www.for-ibs.com
Dave DelVecchio, president
For a quarter-century, IBS has provided information-technology solutions designed to meet the stated business objectives of its customers through a process-oriented, consultative approach, with services including exchange conversions, data-replication solutions, disaster recovery and business continuity, and much more.

Janice Yanni, DDS
180 Westfield St., West Springfield
(413) 739-4400
www.yanniorthodontics.com
Dr. Janice Yanni, owner
Dr. Janice Yanni specializes in orthodontic treatment for children, teens, and adults with offices in West Springfield as well as Tolland, Conn., using the latest in technology and a variety of treatment options, including Invisalign, Invisalign Express, Incognito, Six Month Smiles, and traditional braces.

M.J. Moran Inc. *
4 South Main St., Haydenville
(413) 268.7251
www.mjmoraninc.com
James Moran, CEO
The M.J. Moran company was formed in February of 1978 and has steadily grown in size. Services include plumbing, HVAC systems, process piping systems, high-pressure gas and steam systems, medical-gas systems, design/build services, and mechanical construction management. Repeat customers include Top Flite/Callaway Golf, Milton Bradley, Suddekor, Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, Amherst College, Eaglebrook School, Northfield Mount Hermon, and the Cooley Dickinson Hospital.


Market Mentors, LLC

1680 Riverdale St., West Springfield
(413) 787-1133
www.marketmentors.com
Michelle Abdow, principal
A full-service marketing firm, Market Mentors handles all forms of marketing, including advertising in all mediums, media buying, graphic design, public relations, and event planning.

Netlogix Inc.
181 Notre Dame St., Westfield
(413) 586-2777
www.netlgx.com
Marco Liquori, president
NetLogix offers a wide range of IT services, including equipment sales; managed network services and remote monitoring; network design, installation, and management; network security and firewalls; disaster-recovery and business-continuity services; VoIP; wi-fi; and more.

Northeast Security Solutions Inc.
33 Sylvan St.,
West Springfield
(413) 733-7306
www.northeastsecuritysolutions.com
George Condon, president
Northeast Security Solutions takes a unique, integrated approach to security by bringing together locks, access control, alarms, safes, camera systems, and door-replacement systems to enhance clients’ security.

O’Connell Professional Nurse Service Inc.
14 Bobala Road, Holyoke
(413) 533-1030
www.opns.com
Francis O’Connell, president
For more than two decades, O’Connell Professional Nurse Service has grown to deliver a range of home-health and staffing services across the Pioneer Valley. Services range from nursing care and geriatric healthcare management to advocacy and transportation.

Paragus Strategic IT
84 Russell St., Hadley
(413) 587-2666
www.paragusit.com
Delcie Bean IV, president
While still in high school, Delcie Bean founded Paragus IT in 1999, first under the name Vertical Horizons and then Valley ComputerWorks. Under the Paragus name, it has grown dramatically as an outsourced IT solution for area clients. From information technology solutions to CMR-17 compliance to EMR implementation, Paragus provides business computer service, computer consulting, information-technology support, and other proactive services to businesses of all sizes.

PC Enterprises / Entre Computer *
138 Memorial Ave., West Springfield
(413) 736-2112
www.pc-enterprises.com
Norman Fiedler, CEO
PC Enterprises, d/b/a Entre Computer, assists organizations with procuring, installing, troubleshooting, servicing, and maximizing the value of technology. In business since 1983, it continues to evolve and grow as a lead provider for many businesses, healthcare providers, retailers, and state, local, and education entities.

Pioneer Valley Concrete Service Inc. *
66 North Chicopee St., Chicopee
(413) 534-8171
Dan Smith, owner and president
Pioneer Valley Concrete Service is one of the largest open-shop concrete contractors in New England with experience in warehouse, industrial, institutional, foundation, flatwork, and mass concrete construction, with single-limit bonding capacity in excess of $12 million and aggregate bonding capacity in excess of $20 million, and more than 80 field personnel in addition to a fully staffed office.

Premier Source Credit Union *
232 North Main St.,
East Longmeadow
(413) 525-2002
premier-sourcecu.com
Bonnie Raymond, CEO and president
Premier Source Credit Union (formerly Kelko Credit Union) was founded in 1941 by the employees of Kellogg Envelope Co. Kelko merged with Twin Meadows Federal Credit Union in 2000, with Spalding Employees Credit Union in 2001, and with Embeco Credit Union (Hasbro Games) in 2006. Combining the resources of these credit unions has allowed it to continue providing personal attention, while expanding its products and services.

Topato Corp.
14 Industrial Parkway, Easthampton
www.topatoco.com
Jeffrey Rowland, president
Topato Corp. is a widely recognized online retailer of webcomic and related merchandise established around 2004 by artist Jeffrey Rowland. Its services are exclusively for established, original, independent Internet creators with a proven record of solid updates and a considerable existing audience.

Universal Plastics Corp. *
75 Whiting Farms Road, Holyoke
(800) 553-0120
www.universalplastics.com
Joseph Peters, CEO
Since 1965, Universal Plastics has been a leading force in the custom thermoforming industry. It specializes in precision custom thermoforming, a plastic-manufacturing process that converts a sheet of plastic into a highly detailed finished product with less tooling investment than other plastic molding processes.

V&F Auto Inc.
443 Springfield St, Agawam
(413) 789-2181
www.vfauto.com
Frank Palange, owner and president
Since 1988, V & F Auto Inc. has been a local, family-owned and -operated auto-repair center servicing Agawam and neighboring areas. As an approved AAA auto-service shop, its ASE-certified technicians have years of experience working on both domestic and import vehicles of all makes and models and can work with customers to find cost-effective repair and maintenance alternatives.

Valley Home Improvement Inc.
340 Riverside Dr.,
Florence
(413) 517-0158
www.valleyhomeimprovement.com
Steven Silverman, owner
Valley Home Improvement has specialized in home improvement, renovations, and remodeling service in Leeds, Hadley, Amherst, Sunderland, Florence, and Northampton since it was founded in 1991. Home-improvement and remodeling services include kitchen design, bathrooms, additions, sunrooms, screen porches, basement finishing, weatherization/insulation services, garages, and custom cabinetry and countertops.

Westside Enterprises Inc.
1004 Shoemaker Lane, Agawam
(413) 786-1414
www.westsideenterprises.com
Gary Mitchell, president
With a proven track record for project management and superior craftsmanship, Westside Enteprises is a general contractor offering project management, consulting/site management, project estimating, contract negotiations, quality-control management, subcontractor coordination, material purchasing and handling, site work, interior fit-up, and in-house craftsmen. Other specialties include all types of landscaping, retaining walls, snow removal, and emergency construction.

* Indicates company qualifed in both categories

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Girls Inc. of the Valley announced plans for major expansion and the launch of its new campaign. The organization is in the early stages of an ambitious, comprehensive campaign, “Her Future, Our Future,” with three primary goals: to develop a permanent Girls Inc. home in downtown Holyoke; to expand school-based programming in Holyoke, Chicopee, and Springfield; and to extend the Eureka! STEM education program.

To that end, it has received $500,000 in support from the Kendeda Fund, a private grantmaker based in Atlanta. This transformative gift will support the expansion of Girls Inc. of the Valley’s programs and create a stronger network that encourages girls to achieve. Girls Inc. of the Valley is launching this campaign to offer more girls fundamental support and research-based programming. These programs are designed to empower girls and present them with opportunities to navigate barriers they face in school and beyond. More than 85% of the girls who participate in Girls Inc. of the Valley’s programs say they view their future positively and plan to go to college; most will be the first in their families to do so. Girls Inc. hopes the positive and lasting effects of its programs on girls who participate will grow substantially.

A rigorous, comparative study by the American Institutes for Research found that Girls Inc. girls have an advantage over their peers in more than 20 key areas. The findings demonstrate that girls not only thrive at Girls Inc. of the Valley, but they are also more likely than other girls to see themselves as leaders, with the skills and capabilities of influencing and improving their local communities.

While there are more women today in key leadership positions than ever before, there is still a pervasive gender gap in top leadership. The need for qualified science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professionals in the workforce continues to grow, and women — particularly women of color — continue to be underrepresented in these fields. At the heart of Girls Inc. of the Valley is a comprehensive approach to whole-girl development that equips girls to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers and grow up healthy, educated, and independent. The “Her Future, Our Future” campaign is a bold initiative designed to positively influence generational change and provide tangible opportunities for girls in the region to achieve academic and personal success.

“We are so appreciative for the Kendeda Fund’s belief in the importance of girls’ growth and development,” said Suzanne Parker, executive director of Girls Inc. of the Valley. “Simply put, we couldn’t have made this happen without an incredible, devoted team of volunteers and staff. This gift has fueled all of us in the early stages of our campaign.”

When the campaign is complete, Girls Inc. of the Valley will serve more than 1,000 girls per year — nearly 5% of the combined female population of the Holyoke, Chicopee, and Springfield public school systems — and be positioned to advance policy initiatives, structures, and best practices to address the unique challenges that await girls, equipping them with the skills and tools to achieve their goals and take charge of their futures.

Departments

The following business incorporations were recorded in Hampden and Hampshire counties, and are the latest available. They are listed by community.

AGAWAM

Mechanical Plastics Corp., 65 Moylan Lane, Agawam 01001. John M. Murphy, same. Plastics parts manufacturer.

MFK Enterprises Inc., 6 Sycamore Terrace, Agawam 01001. Max F. Kozynoski, same. Embalming and related services to funeral homes.

AMHERST

Amherst Rotary Good Works Fund Inc., 90 Gatehouse Road, Amherst 01002. Leslie Smith, 538 Market Hill Road, Amherst 01002. (Nonprofit) To solicit charitable donations to distribute to worthwhile community causes.

Education Without Borders Inc., Pratt Dormitory, Amherst College, Amherst 01002. Paige Fern, 202 South Dormitory, Amherst College, Amherst 01002. (Nonprofit). To advance education and literacy, improve the lives of children in developing countries.

One Northampton Street Enterprises Inc., 7 Pomeroy Lane, Amherst 01002. Valerie Hood, 28 Farmington Road, Amherst 01002. Purchase and management of a business.

BELCHERTOWN

Shelton Brothers Inc., 205 Ware Road, Belchertown 01007. Daniel Wesley Shelton, 5 Pointview Road, Ware 01082. Marketing.

BRIMFIELD

RAD Insurance Holdings Inc.,73 Dunhamtown Palmer Road, Brimfield 01010. Maria N. Thomson, same. (Foreign corp; DE) Insurance agency holding company.

CHICOPEE

Chester Village Market Inc., 29 Albert St., Chicopee 01020. David H. Befford, same. To operate a convenience store.

Dmitriy’s New England Construction Inc., 108 Meadow St., Chicopee 01013. Dmitriy Salagornik, 15 New Ludlow Road, Apt. 27, Chicopee 01013. New construction and remodeling.

J.P. Precision Machine Co. Inc., 165 Front St., Chicopee 01028. Zbigniew Szwedo, 69 Crestwood St., Chicopee 01020. Machine manufacturing and design.

Sturbridge Inn Inc., 357 Burnett Road, Chicopee 01020. Kamlesh Patel, 738 Main St., South Portland, ME 04106. Dinesh Patel, 357 Burnett Road, Chicopee 01020, treasurer. To operate and manage real estate.

Swamishri Corp., 1782 Westover Road, Chicopee 01020. Kamlesh C. Patel, 11 Trotters Walk., West Springfield 01089. Convenience store.

W1KK Wireless Association Inc., One Broadcast Center, Chicopee 01013. Robert P. McCormick, 116 Swan Ave., Ludlow 01056. (Nonprofit) To maintain amateur radio facilities for emergency communications and public service, etc.

EAST LONGMEADOW

Criterium Events Inc., 64 Brynmawr Dr., East Longmeadow 01028. Peppino Maruca, 44 Harkness Ave., East Longmeadow 01028. To engage in the management and services of marketing events.

Powday Management Inc., 444A North Main St., East Longmeadow 01028. Gregory Z. Szyluk, II, 117 Oakwood Dr., Longmeadow 01106. To deal in real estate.

Quilts & Treasures Inc., 325 Elm St., East Longmeadow 01028. Mrs. Valerie V. Morton, same. Retail sales of sewing and craft materials.

FLORENCE

45 Pine Street Associates Inc., 45 Pine St., Florence 01062. Virginia H. Hoener, same. To own and manage real estate, etc.

Kids Rule Playhouse Inc., 320 Riverside Dr., Florence 01602. Miadelia M. Marcus, same. Themed parties and supplies.

Tibetan Association of Western Massachusetts Inc.,
10 Matthew Dr., Florence 01062. Tashi Dolma, same. (Nonprofit) To preserve the rich cultural heritage of Tibet, practice the guidelines from the Tibetan government in exile headed by His Holiness The Dala Lama, etc.

GRANVILLE

Moore Money Inc., 191 Reagan Road, Granville 01034. Maryadele G. Moore, same. Lease of real estate.

River Hollow Golf Inc., 191 Reagan Road, Granville 01034. Scott A. Moore, same. To operate a golf driving range and miniature golf course.


HADLEY

Steel Structures Detailing Inc., 245 Russell St., Hadley 01035. Henry Lederman, 190 West Pomeroy Lane, Amherst 01002. Steel detailing.

HOLYOKE

J.T.’s Bakery and Caf» Inc., 514 Westfield Road, Holyoke 01040. John C. Taylor, 333 Nottingham St., Springfield 01104. Retail bakery and related sales.

Little Mountain Animal Hospital Inc.,
435 Northampton St., Holyoke 01040. Mark S. Restey, same. To operate a veterinary business.


HOLYOKE

Massachusetts Oncology Services, P.C., 5 Hospital Dr., Holyoke 01040. Daniel E. Dosoretz, M.D., 13221 Ponderosa Way, Fort Myers, FL. 33907; Corporate Service Co., 84 State St., Boston, registered agent. To provide professional radiation therapy services.

Bradford Builders Inc., 9 Harlo Clark Road, Huntington 01050. Bradford J. Moreau, same. Construction of buildings, etc.


INDIAN ORCHARD

DMG Promotions Inc., 250 Verge St., Suite 6 & 7, Indian Orchard 011151. Carmine Costantino, same. Distribution of gifts and novelties.

LUDLOW

Environmental Technologies Inc., 545 West St., Suite C, Ludlow 01056. Ewa Lupa, 2 Blossom Lane, Belchertown 01007. General construction including lead abatement and mold remediation and treatment.

MONSON

Norcross Restaurant Inc., The, 125 Main St., Monson 01057. Rita C. Belanger, 11 Advance St., Bondsville 01009. Restaurant, cafe and catering.

Prospect Lawncare Inc., 55 Reimers Road, Monson 01057. Christopher N. Russell, same. Lawncare and carpentry.

NORTHAMPTON

Extremes Inc., 73 Barrett St., #3103, Northampton 01060. Gulshan K. Arora, same. Software development and consulting, retail business.

McLain Fitness Inc.,141 Damon Road, Unit E, Northampton 01060. Laura McLain, 5 Lyman St., Easthampton 01027. Fitness center.

Pinecrest Acres Realty Corp., 35 Holyoke St., Northampton 01060. John Edwards, same. To develop and sell residential property at North Main St., Petersham, MA.

The Sandinista Barista Inc., 400 South St., Northampton 01060. Timothy J. Carey, same. To construct and operate one or more restaurants and food service establishments.

PALMER

S.M.G. Camp Inc.,
140 Breckenridge St., Palmer 01069. Edward P.
Gadarowski, R.D. #1, Box 232, 106 Kenyon Hill Road, Cambridge, NY 12816. William Mullen, 140 Breckenridge St., Palmer 01069, secretary. (Nonprofit) To maintain a free camping facilities for Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts — in memory of Stephen M. Gadaroswki and his love of scouting and camping.

SOUTH HADLEY

Dry Brook Development Inc., 14 Alvord St., South Hadley 01075. L. Philip Lizotte Jr., 390 Hadley St., South Hadley 01075. Real estate development.

KES Realty Corp., 33 Fairview St., South Hadley 01075. Patrick J. Spring, same. To deal in real estate.

SPRINGFIELD

Cobalt Financial Inc., 155 Maple St., Suite 402, Springfield 01105.
William B. Foster, same. (Foreign corp; DE) To deal in real estate
transactions.

Evinshir Inc., 827 State St., Springfield 01109. Evins C. Brantley, 91 Dunmoreland St., Springfield 01109. To deal in restaurants, inns, taverns, cafes, etc.

Filco Vending Inc.,1111 Sumner Ave., Springfield 01118. Philip A.
Frogameni Jr., same. Sale and lease of vending machines.

Jerry’s Lawn Sprinklers Inc., 307 Gillette Ave., Springfield 01118.
Gerald E. Dansereau, same. To install and maintain lawn sprinklers, etc.

JP&B Concepts Inc., 1334 Liberty St., Springfield 01104. John P. Gent, 26 Ivan St., Springfield 01104. To operate restaurants.

Mass Bottle & Can Redemption Inc., 23 Morgan St., Springfield 01107. Dany Nguyen, 230 Senator St., Springfield 01129. Bottle and can redemption center.

Upper Hill Resident Council Inc., The, 215 Norfolk St., Springfield 01109. Adrienne C. Osborn, same. (Nonprofit) To enhance the quality of life in the Upper Hill community of Springfield.

WESTFIELD

A & G Transport Co., 241 E. Main St., Suite 253, Westfield 01085. Andrey Krasun, 126 Union St., A 8-15, Westfield 01085. Transportation.

All In One Shop Inc., 1144 Southampton Road, Westfield 01085. George Mathew Changathara, same. Convenience store sales.

Mass Consulting Services Inc., 6 Clinton Ave., Westfield 01085. John Turner, same. Geotechnical testing, consulting and construction monitoring.

WILBRAHAM

Neighborhood Deli Inc., 2341 Boston Road, Wilbraham 01095. Ilyas Yanbul, 59 Cedar St., Ludlow 01056. Restaurant business.

Quinn’s Fine Jewelry Inc., 2040 Boston Road, Wilbraham 01095. Brian Alexander Quinn, 12 Kelly Lane, Hampden 01036. Retail jewelry store.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — PeoplesBank will present $75,000 to Girls Inc. of the Valley at its annual Business Leaders Reception on Thursday, Jan. 30 from 8 to 9 a.m. at Cubit Coworks, 164 Race St., Holyoke.

Girls Inc. of the Valley is in the early stages of a $5 million comprehensive campaign with three primary goals: to build a permanent home in downtown Holyoke; expand school-based programming in Holyoke, Chicopee, and Springfield; and extend the Eureka! STEM education program.

As a result of the campaign, Girls Inc. of the Valley will serve more than 1,000 girls each year with intensive, research-based programming designed to empower girls and provide opportunities to succeed in school and beyond. This partnership will help Girls Inc. of the Valley to expand its program offerings and create a stronger network that encourages girls to achieve, and contributes to the bank’s goals of community vibrancy and academic excellence.

PeoplesBank President and CEO Tom Senecal will be in attendance at Girls Inc. of the Valley’s annual Business Leaders Reception to present the comprehensive campaign gift in the form of a large check.

“We have chosen to support Girls Inc. of the Valley with this sizable grant because they consistently demonstrate the actual outcomes of their programs, and because they have shown such a strong and unwavering commitment to the communities they serve,” he said. “The future of our region depends upon an active and engaged workforce, and Girls Inc. of the Valley is helping to prepare many of these future leaders. We applaud their efforts and encourage others in the business community to join us in building up and developing these exceptional girls.”

The need for qualified science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professionals in the workforce continues to grow, and women — particularly women of color — continue to be underrepresented in these fields. Girls Inc. of the Valley programs like Eureka! expose girls to the STEM fields and support them with mentors and guidance, specialized curricula, internships, and other hands-on opportunities to nurture their curiosity and interests. The “Her Future, Our Future” comprehensive campaign is designed to significantly move the needle on breaking the cycle of poverty and providing tangible opportunities for Pioneer Valley girls to achieve academic and personal success.

“PeoplesBank has been investing in the Girls Inc. of the Valley Experience for years, long before I became the executive director,” said Suzanne Parker, executive director of Girls Inc. of the Valley. “They are a company that truly walks the talk when it comes to community care and involvement. The banks employees have volunteered for events and hosted girls on field trips, and bank leaders have lent their expertise as board and committee members. Most recently, the bank has wowed us with this $75,000 commitment for ‘Her Future, Our Future.’ We are so thankful for PeoplesBank’s loyal support.”

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Girls Inc. of the Valley is looking to the community for support as it launches Project Red on Menstrual Hygiene Day, Thursday, May 28, to collect donations of essential wellness supplies that will benefit girls in the Pioneer Valley. Project Red’s mission is to supply 500 girls in the Valley with a four-month supply of menstrual products. 

Access to essential menstrual products has been challenging due to COVID-19, as many girls relied on schools or after-school programs for their menstrual-product needs. Many families are having to choose between purchasing these products or purchasing food. Girls Inc. of the Valley is looking to the community to help lead the charge in supporting girls in the community by encouraging the creation of fundraising pages, donations of supplies, and help spreading the word across social platforms. Girls Inc. will accept donations of a variety of new and unopened products: toothpaste, body wash, bars of soap, toothbrushes, deodorant, menstrual pads with wings, and monetary gifts. It has received support for Project Red in the form of a $1,500 grant from Health New England.

Donations will be accepted at the Girls Inc. of the Valley headquarters at 6 Open Square Way in Holyoke on May 28 from 1 to 5 p.m. Contactless, curbside dropoff will be offered.

A monetary donation or creation of a fundraising page can be made by following these simple steps: visit www.givegab.com/campaigns/project-red, select ‘make a donation’ or ‘start fundraising,’ and follow the step-by-step instructions to create a fundraising page.

“As Girls Inc. of the Valley staff members continued to reach out to our girls, the need for menstrual products became abundantly clear,” Executive Director Suzanne Parker said. “We are launching Project Red to ensure girls in the Valley have access to these essential products, and we invite the community to join us in our efforts. Health New England, an amazing community partner, has already stepped up to provide a $1,500 grant to support Project Red.” 

Project Red is an initiative that directly aligns with Girls Inc. of the Valley’s healthy sexuality curriculum and mission to inspire and prepare all girls to develop and achieve their full potential, and that begins with putting their wellness needs first. All partners understand how important it is for Girls Inc. to be there for girls right now, especially during trying times due to COVID-19.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Girls Inc. of the Valley recently launched its new initiative, She Votes, with a recorded video from U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren to educate and support future women voters. The goal is to make sure every girl sees herself as a voter, knows the process, and is ready when it’s her turn.

The Girls Inc. team are experts on girls and their development, both locally and nationally. Girls Inc. of the Valley is part of a 150-year-old organization that always puts girls first, inspiring them as they grow into strong, smart, and bold women. The privilege of voting is our most powerful agent of change.

Meanwhile, only 14 states in the U.S. allow 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote, and Massachusetts is one of them. Girls Inc. of the Valley aims to pre-register as many 16- and 17-year-old girls as possible in this community-wide volunteer effort and to launch a peer fundraising campaign to support the She Votes curriculum. She Votes and Girls Inc. has received commitments from a variety of sponsors, including MassMutual, Peerless Precision, Lotus & Compass Inc., and Chikmedia. Click here to see Warren’s video.

“Girls Inc. teaches us that today’s girls are tomorrow’s leaders,” the senator said. “I want every girl in Massachusetts and across the country to know they can get out there and make their voices heard. Once you turn 16, you can pre-register to vote here in Massachusetts. You don’t have to wait until you’re 18 to be ready for the next election.”

The campaign launched earlier this week on UNICEF’s International Day of the Girl, and will last through Saturday, Oct. 24. Girls Inc. of the Valley hosted a Facebook Live event to premier the launch video from Warren and will be showing video spotlights from a variety of other influential women in politics throughout the campaign. Their goal is to highlight, through these videos, the importance of voting and having women in elected office. The She Votes campaign will take place right here in the Valley, while simultaneous media activities will take place across the U.S. and the globe.

The She Votes campaign is a bold initiative designed to significantly move the needle on providing tangible opportunities for Pioneer Valley girls to achieve academic and personal success. This initiative will help Girls Inc. of the Valley members to learn and share with their families the voting process, and be ready to become a generation of activists accelerating social change.

If interested, or have questions regarding this initiative, contact Jessica Colson at (413) 319-0011 or [email protected].

Departments

The following business incorporations were recently recorded in Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties and are the latest available. They are listed by community.

AGAWAM

ADYS Mortgage Inc., 67 Hunt St., Agawam 01001. Adam J. Dubilo, 7 East Circle, East Longmeadow 01028. Mortgage broker.

TW Home Improvement Inc., 24 Dwight St., Agawam 01001. Timothy S. Wyckoff, same. Home improvement.

AMHERST

Financial Development Agency Inc., 49 South Pleasant St., Amherst 01002. Matthew Blumenfeld, 335 Middle St., Amherst 01002. To serve not-for-profit organizations with cost-effective grant writing, capital campaign and marketing services.

La Piazza Ristorante Inc., 30 Boltwood Walk, Amherst 01002. Mauro Aniello, 12 Lady Slipper Lane, Hadley 01035. Restaurant.

CHICOPEE

American Team Cleaning Services Inc., 94 Woodbridge Road, Chicopee 01022. Maggie O. van Zandt, same. Commercial cleaning service.

Cote’s Family Restaurant Inc., 582 Chicopee St., Chicopee 01013. Michael Cote, 31 Rowley St., Agawam 01001. Full-service family restaurant.

EASTHAMPTON

Mantis Graphics Inc., 1 Adams St., Easthampton 01027. Bradley J. Robbins, same. Graphic art production.

Stop and Wash Inc., 13 Matthew Dr., Easthampton 01018. Timothy McLane, same. To operate a laundromat.

EAST LONGMEADOW

Olympic Inc., 611 North Main St., East Longmeadow 01028. Chong T. Lee, 34 Tanglewood Dr., Longmeadow 01106. To instruct Tae-Twon-Do martial art, promote sportsmanship, etc.

Pattenaude Enterprises Inc., 191 Chestnut St., East Longmeadow 01028. Scott Pattenaude, same. Rent inflatables — sell spices wholesale and retail.

GRANBY

Digisoft Inc., 56 Morgan St., Granby 01033. Wayne P. Masse, same. To develop, manufacture, and sell computer software, operating systems, etc.

GREENFIELD

Cunill America Inc., 21 Mohawk Plaza, Suite 4, Greenfield 01301. Xavier Cunill, same. (Foreign corp; DE) Wholesale distribution of silver goods.

HADLEY

Mass Frenzy Inc., 2 Frallo Dr., Hadley 01035. Ralph W. Loos, same. (Nonprofit) To foster girls national amateur basketball competition, etc.

Valley Technology Outreach Inc., 84 Russell St., Hadley 01035. Delchie Bean, same. (Nonprofit) To collect technology equipment from schools, businesses, etc., to be refurbished and donated or sold to nonprofit organizations.

HAMPDEN

Hampden House Catering Inc., 128 Wilbraham Road, Hampden 01036. Dana R. Gahres, 131 Stony Hill Road, Hampden 01036. Catering business.

HOLYOKE

Angel Rivera Inc., 360 High St., #2, Holyoke 01040. Saiid Rivera, same. Retail.

Baystate Technology Solutions Inc., 199 Hillside Ave., Holyoke 01040. William P. Glover, same. Computer solutions.

HOLLAND

JJL Biomed Services Inc., 58 East Otter Dr., Holland 01034. Jeffrey J. Lafleur, same. To test biomedical patient related equipment in nursing and other health care facilities.

 

NORTHAMPTON

3 J Massad Inc., 54 Easthampton Road, Northampton 01060. Linda W. Massad, 63 Florence Road, Easthampton 01027. Gas station.

Main Street Motion Media Inc., 52 Olive St., Northampton 01060. Kathleen Evelyn Kamping, same. (Nonprofit) To educate and expand our community’s relationship to each other and the world through film and media arts, etc.

PALMER

Mangoes Inc., 233 Wilbraham Road, Palmer 01065. Felipe El Karim, 37 Brookfield Road, Brimfield 01010. Restaurant.

SOUTH HADLEY

Marlin Inc., 89 Amherst Road, South Hadley 01075. David Marlin, same. Computer software sales.

SOUTHWICK

Canterbury Lane Homeowners Assocation Inc., 106 Coes Hill Road, Southwick 01077. David W. Berry, same. (Nonprofit) To hold title to and maintain common areas in the Centerbury Lane, Westfield subdivision, etc.

SPRINGFIELD

44 Record Company Inc., 137 Undine Circle, Springfield 01109. Alex A. Nieves, same. Music recordings and promoter.

Andrew S. Jusko, M.D., P.C., 299 Carew St., Springfield 01104. Andrew S. Jusko, 1134 Longmeadow St., Longmeadow 01106. The practice of ophthalmology.

Angel Touch Cleaning Services Inc., 1655 Main St., Springfield 01103. Iris Enid Garcia Morales, 19 Arthur Picard Cir., Indian Orchard 01151. Cleaning and construction.

Brican Inc., 155 State St., Springfield 01103. Brian Gibbons, 80 Champlain Ave., Springfield 01151. General contractor; commercial construction.

Children Living with Aids Network-Kenya Inc., 1341 Sumner Ave., Springfield 01118. George Kasiligwa Kahi, 76 Ambrose St., Springfield 01109. (Nonprofit) To assist in caring for the orphans of the HIV/AIDES pandemic and affected children, etc.

Community Empowerment Services Corp., 736 State St., Springfield 01109. Linda Wellington, 20 Matthew St. Springfield 01128. Job placement, vocational evaluation, skill training.

WEST SPRINGFIELD

Bancroft Chrysler Jeep Inc., 499 Riverdale St., West Springfield 01089. Aldo M. Bertera, 162 Forest Ridge Road, West Springfield 01089. The retail sale and service of new or used automobiles, trucks, etc.

Racers Edge Performance Inc., 196 Baldwin St., West Springfield 01089. Anthony Stack, 618 Allen St., Springfield 01108. Sales/repairs.

WESTFIELD

G&F Custom Built Homes Inc., 419 Springdale Road, Westfield 01085. Shaun C. Giberson, 76 Wolcott Ave., West Springfield 01089. Real estate development and management business.

Morse Hospitality Concepts Inc., 19 Lockhouse Road, Apt. 9-1, Westfield 01085. Joshua Morse, 492 Federal St., Montague 01351. Hospitality.

WILBRAHAM

Madden Insurance Agency Inc., 132 River Road, Wilbraham 01095. Karen L. Madden, same. An insurance producer.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Girls Inc. of the Valley has received a generous $1 million gift from the Elaine Nicpon Marieb Charitable Foundation in support of its Eureka! program and as part of the Girls Inc. of the Valley campaign, “Her Future, Our Future.” This $1 million commitment will provide approximately two-thirds of the total cost of Eureka! programming over the next five years.

The next five years are important for Eureka! because the program will be taken from its pilot status into a full-fledged model with strong longitudinal outcome data and long-term professional evaluation. With this data and evaluation, the program will have opportunities to attract national-level institutional support, including through the national Girls Inc. network and Girls Inc. of the Valley’s Eureka! partner, UMass Amherst.

In order to continue to build opportunities for girls in the region, Girls Inc. is conducting its first major capital campaign. The “Her Future, Our Future” campaign is a bold initiative designed to significantly increase tangible opportunities for girls to develop confidence and interest in achieving academic and personal success. With STEM careers from nursing to engineering to lab sciences to computer programming playing an ever-more important role in the workforce, Eureka! provides a major opportunity to open up those career pathways to more than 120 girls per year and to position those girls for success in gaining access to higher education. Overall, “Her Future, Our Future” will support significant expansion at Girls Inc., to the point that it will serve approximately 5% of all girls in the Holyoke, Springfield, and Chicopee public-school systems.

The campaign seeks to raise $5 million to accomplish three critical strategic goals: building a permanent home in downtown Holyoke; expanding school-based programming in Holyoke, Chicopee, and Springfield; and advancing and sustaining Eureka! by securing the program and solidifying its role as an important regional pipeline to higher education and STEM careers.

“The Elaine Nicpon Marieb Foundation’s investment in Girls Inc. and Eureka! is truly indicative of their commitment to creating tangible pathways to brighter futures for girls,” said Suzanne Parker, executive director of Girls Inc. of the Valley. “Their dedicated support of our Eureka! program, which encourages girls to explore opportunities in STEM and higher education, aligns with that priority. We are so grateful to the foundation’s trustees for their partnership, their generosity, and their belief in the work that we do at Girls Inc. of the Valley. This is a transformational commitment for us and an anchor gift to the ‘Her Future, Our Future’ campaign.”

Departments

The following business incorporations were recorded in Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties and are the latest available. They are listed by community.

AMHERST

CampusLive Inc., 9 East Pleasant St., second floor, South Amherst 01002. Jared R. Stenquist, same. (Foreign corp; DE) Online communities for college students.

Latinos Unidos Inc., 460 West St., Rear, Amherst 01002. Norma Maritza Lopez Strectwilk, 79 Colonial Village, Amherst 01002. Food and beverage service.

CHICOPEE

Change Happens Inc., 71 Mary St., Chicopee 01020. Renee Simone, same. Behavioral health and substance abuse therapy, etc.

Sneaker Emporium Inc., 113 Wheatland Ave., Chicopee 01020. Natasha C. Perez, 142 Mill St., Apt. 19, Springfield 01108. (Nonprofit) To provide low-cost footwear to communities and individuals who cannot afford reliable footwear.

Western Mass Shipping Inc., 282 Narragansett Blvd., Chicopee 01013. Frank C. Brooks, same. Going postal shipping store.

EAST LONGMEADOW

The Hindes Group, 5 Revere St., East Longmeadow 01028. Carl R. Hindes, same. Consulting, entertaining, catering, R.E.

GREENFIELD

Valley Mart Inc., 4 Mill St., Greenfield 01301. Muhammed Eyasin, 162 Davis St., Greenfield 01301. Convenience grocery store and lottery sales.

HOLLAND

AMA Construction Services Corp., 29 Lakeshore Dr., Holland 01521. Albert Gene Lavalley, III, same. Energy efficiency and construction services.

LONGMEADOW

Creation World Inc., 226 Franklin Road, Longmeadow 01106. Tatyana Zak, same. Apparel custom design, alterations, retail, wholesale.

Hung Fa Inc., 795 Maple Road, Longmeadow 01106. Yungfong Yeung, 551 Washington St., Enfield, CT 06082. Xiao Ni, 809 Maple Road, Longmeadow 01106, registered agent. Food business.

Longmeadow Youth Sports Council Inc., Community House, 735 Longmeadow St., Longmeadow 01106. John Dowd, 139 Longmeadow St., Longmeadow 01106. (Nonprofit) To create and promote an organized and structured athletic program focused on girls and boys youth sports in Longmeadow, etc.

LUDLOW

Gowen, Trombly & Goldsmith Insurance Group Inc., 34 Chestnut St., Ludlow 01056. Gordon L. Goldsmith, 223 Chicopee St., Granby 01033. Property and casualty insurance agency.

NORTHAMPTON

Greenstone Partners Inc., 5 Cedar St., Unit B, Northampton 01060. Timothy Thompson, same. Importation of precious stones from Columbia into the US.

Herrell’s Development Corp., 8 Old South St., Northampton 01060. Judith U. Herrell, 13 Ranch Ave., Easthampton 01027. To operate ice cream franchises.

Summit Woodworks Inc., 340 Riverside Dr., Northampton 01060. Nelson Shifflett, 1114 Shelburne Falls Road, Conway 01341. Carpentry and woodworking.

ORANGE

Dean’s Beans Foundation Inc., 50 R.W. Moore Ave., Orange 01364. Dean Cycon, 9 Cemetery Road, Leverett 01054. (Nonprofit) To design and fund people-centered development throughout the coffee growing countries of the world, etc.

SOUTH HADLEY

Airmeith Bodyworks Inc., 10 Waite Ave., South Hadley 01075. Antony T. Kelly-Niziolek, same. Massage and sale of bath and body works.

 

FOH Inc., 769 Worthington St., Springfield 01105. Robert S. Carroll, 211 Concord Road, Longmeadow 01106. Ownership and operation of homeless shelter.

Halsho Pizza & Grill Inc., 7 Audubon St., Springfield 01108. Halsho Amin, 47 Hutchinson St., Revere 01251, Restaurant.

IT Advisors Inc., 57 Florence St., Springfield 01105. Darnel Ali, same. St. (Nonprofit) To provide free and low cost technical consulting services for implementation of voice over IP (VOIP).

J&S Express Inc., 501 Berkshire Ave., Springfield 01109. Svetlana Barrios, same. General contracting.

Labor One Enterprises Inc., 44 Maynard St., Springfield 01109. Stewart Wilkerson, same. (Nonprofit) To assist individuals in obtaining and securing gainful employment.

Mak G Entertainment Inc., 327 Saint James Ave., Springfield 01109. Anibal Olivieri, same. (Nonprofit) Development of youth and artists in music production and design.

Sun Roofing Construction Inc., 71 Walnut St., Springfield 01105. Richard Rousakis, 201 Monrovia St., Springfield 01104. Residential roofing.

Two-Step Dance Studio Inc., 42 Albemarle St., Springfield 01109. Latoya Withrow, same. (Nonprofit) To help children learn how to dance for little or no cost.

SUNDERLAND

Emerald Island Realty Corp., 87 South Silver Lane, Sunderland 01475. Ross B. Finch, same. Real property purchase and sale and leasing.

WESTFIELD

A & J Grocery Inc., 40 Franklin St., Westfield 01085. Amjad Hussain Malik, same. Grocery store with gas station.

GG’S Auto Repair Inc., 988 D Southampton Road, Westfield 01085. John R. Gagnon, 36 Old Holyoke Road, Westfield 01085. Auto repair and service.

The Hockey Project Inc., 19 Mallard Lane, Westfield 01085. Donald L. Moorhouse Jr., same. (Nonprofit) To provide opportunity for hockey competition, in local, state, national or international events at the amateur level for underprivilleged children.

Trala Diversified Enterprises Inc., 1 West Parker Ave., Westfield 01085. Lawrence Siok, same. E-commerce, general merchandise.

WCJ Inc., 15 Brimfield Way, Westfield 01085. Christopher Viale, same. Wholesale and retail sale of consumer products.

WILBRAHAM

Aljera Inc., 2589 Boston Road, Wilbraham 01095. Alexander A. Berezkin, 38 Souie Road, Wilbraham 01095. Hold real estate.

Belas Inc., 2589 Boston Road, Wilbraham 01095. Alexander A. Berezkin, 29 Soule Road, Wilbraham 01095. Bar/restaurant.

Western Massachusetts House of Hope Inc., 7 Bellows Road, Wilbraham 01095. George Charles Collins, same. (Nonprofit) To provide substance free housing and life skills training for individuals seeking recovery from substance abuse.

Wings of Love Inc., 348 Stony Hill Road, Wilbraham 01095. Rev. Brian Glen Tracy, 41 West Colonial Road, Wilbraham 01095. (Nonprofit) To provide charitable and educational services to those in need in Springfield and area communities.

WEST SPRINGFIELD

Gengras Motors Inc., 1712 Riverdale St., West Springfield 01089. E. Clayton Gengras, Jr., 30 Braeburnie Ln., Bloomfield, CT 05002. Corporation Service Co., 84 State St., fifth floor, Boston, registered agent. Acquisition, ownership, and operation of automobile dealerships.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Girls Inc. of the Valley has launched its new initiative, She Votes, with a recorded video from Senator Elizabeth Warren to educate and support our future of women voters. The goal is to make sure every girl sees herself as a voter, knows the process, and is ready when it’s her turn. They’ve launched this campaign with two primary goals:

The Girls Inc. team are experts on girls and their development, both locally and nationally. Girls Inc. of the Valley is part of a 150-year-old organization that always puts girls first, inspiring them as they grow into strong, smart, and bold women. The privilege of voting is our most powerful agent of change. Only 14 states in the United States allow 16 and 17 year-olds to pre-register to vote, and Massachusetts is one of them. Girls Inc. of the Valley aims to pre-register as many 16- and 17-year-old girls as possible in this community-wide volunteer effort and to launch a peer fundraising campaign, to support the She Votes curriculum.

She Votes and Girls Inc. has received commitments from a variety of sponsors including MassMutual, Peerless Precision, Lotus & Compass Inc., and Chikmedia.

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s video can be found on the Girls Inc. of the Valley Website and Facebook page:

“Girls Inc. teaches us that today’s girls are tomorrow’s leaders,” said Senator Warren. “I want every girl in Massachusetts and across the country to know they can get out there and make their voices heard. Once you turn 16, you can pre-register to vote here in Massachusetts. You don’t have to wait until you’re 18 to be ready for the next election.”

The campaign launched October 1, on UNICEF’s International Day of the Girl, and will last through October 24. Girls Inc. of the Valley hosted a Facebook Live event to premier the launch video from Senator Elizabeth Warren and will be showing video spotlights from a variety of other influential women in politics throughout the campaign. Their goal is to highlight the importance of voting and having women in elected office with these videos. The She Votes campaign will take place right here in the Valley; simultaneously national and international media activities will take place all across the globe.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Poised to boost its reach three-fold over the next five years, Girls Inc. of Holyoke has chosen a new name — Girls Inc. of the Valley — to embody its bigger, wider impact across Western Mass.

The agency will keep its headquarters in Holyoke, said Executive Director Suzanne Parker at a press conference this morning at WGBY’s headquarters in downtown Springfield, and stay as committed as ever to the city of its origin. But with Girls Inc. members now hailing from Springfield, Chicopee, South Hadley, and other surrounding communities, a name change was certainly needed.

“Girls Inc. of the Valley gives a message of inclusivity and will help us move forward,” said Parker, adding that the agency now serves more than 500 girls across the Pioneer Valley. “Not everyone realizes that we serve girls from several communities. As we continue to grow and expand our footprint, we are proud to have a name that better shows who we are.”

Girls from area communities will continue to benefit from Girls Inc. of the Valley programs held at the Holyoke center headquarters on everything from literacy to leadership, said Parker, but the agency is also expanding into surrounding communities and has partnered to work inside 10 schools, including Springfield’s Chestnut Academy Middle School and Chicopee’s Bellamy Middle School and Dupont Middle School.

“We began in Holyoke and will always be in touch with our deep legacy there,” said Melyssa Brown-Porter, chair of the board of directors of Girls Inc. and an alumna herself. “But our strategic goals all center around impacting more lives through growth in the Valley, and going where the girls need us the most. And the new name gives us the most room for growth.”

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Girls Inc. of the Valley received a $145,000 grant from the Amelia Peabody Foundation, which will enable the organization to further develop its virtual programming, help prepare for the time when in-person programs may resume, continue its Learning Pod collaboration with Holyoke Public Schools, and ultimately bring staff together in one building, fostering even greater creative and collaborative synergies.

The foundation awarded $25,000 to Girls Inc.’s general program and $120,000 to its comprehensive campaign, “Her Future, Our Future.” This commitment will help Girls Inc. to establish a new, permanent home and provide the space, resources, and opportunities needed to enable more girls to participate in the transformative Girls Inc. experience. The grant will support both program planning and implementation; funds will be used for staffing, expanded outreach, and program supplies. Additionally, the grant will facilitate bringing all Girls Inc. staff together under one roof to create greater collaborative and economic efficiencies.

“We truly value and appreciate the continued support of the Amelia Peabody Foundation,” said Suzanne Parker, executive director of Girls Inc. of the Valley. “We thank them for this tremendous generosity toward operations and our campaign, which will be made over the next two years.”

Girls Inc. of the Valley aims to inspire all girls to see themselves as leaders with the skills and capabilities to improve and influence their local communities. The goals of its Staying Connected with Girls Project are to:

• Successfully engage girls during this period of extreme isolation, providing fun and skill-building activities paired with mentoring support from our trained staff;

• Maximize growth opportunities that virtual programming provides to reach a broader cross-section of girls and gain new volunteers; and

• Position Girls Inc. of the Valley to be ready to seamlessly transition back to in-person programming when appropriate.

“The Amelia Peabody Foundation’s support will be instrumental as we expand and enhance Girls Inc. of the Valley’s center and school-based programs in Holyoke, Springfield, Chicopee, and beyond, and give 1,000-plus girls per year the chance they deserve,” Parker said.

Daily News

By Jane Roulier

In schools, on the streets, in relationships, and online, girls in communities across the country are experiencing bullying and harassment. In addition to sexual harassment, many girls experience discrimination based on their race, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, religion, and more.

Over the past year, one in four high school girls has been bullied on school property, which negatively affects everyone involved — the victim, the harasser, and the bystanders — as well as the learning environment.

While Massachusetts has laws requiring schools to develop and implement plans to address bullying, Girls Inc. of Holyoke recognizes that bullying is not limited to the school grounds. Indeed, the prevalence of social media means that bullying follows girls into their homes and lives outside of school. Children who are bullied often have little reprieve.

To address this pervasive problem, Girls Inc. dedicates Girls Inc. Week 2017, May 8-12, to helping girls advocate for change and make our communities better places to live.

But this is an initiative that goes on year-round — because it must.

Girls Inc. recently surveyed nearly 800 members of our national network, including girls and alumnae, parents, staff, board members, and donors, to determine the top challenges facing girls today. Nearly 70% of respondents identified ‘bullying, harassment, and sexual violence’ as an issue of concern to them. We can’t ignore this. This is a problem that affects us all.

It is important we understand the facts and myths about bullying and harassment in order to effectively address this issue.

Myth: Bullying is just ‘kids being kids,’ and we should stop making it such a big deal.

Fact: Bullying can cause lasting harm. Repeated or severe conduct based on sex or other protected categories is unlawful harassment.

Myth: If it happens off school grounds, it’s not the school’s responsibility.

Fact: Under Title IX, schools have to address conduct they know about, or should know about, that leads to a hostile environment or impedes a student’s ability to benefit from the educational program.

Myth: Bullies are ‘problem kids’ who have aggression issues and should be punished.

Fact: Actually, it is quite common for kids who bully to be victims themselves.

Myth: Bullying will stop only if the victim stands up to the bully.

Fact: Just as society does not expect victims of other types of abuse to “deal with it on their own,” we should not expect this from victims of bullying or harassment.

Girls Inc. encourages girls to be change agents within their communities, boldly advocating for themselves and others. Along with more than 450 other attendees at Girls Inc. of Holyoke’s Spirit of Girls breakfast fund-raiser last month, I witnessed girls doing this. Girls as young as 7 through 17 spoke confidently in front of this large crowd about how the programs at Girls Inc. have impacted their lives by building their self-esteem and encouraging them to make sure their voices are heard. Because of what they are learning, these girls will not be afraid to advocate for themselves or others.

Girls Inc. of Holyoke is also working every day to change policies, attitudes, and beliefs to improve the conditions in which girls are growing up. It takes all of us coming together to ensure that girls feel safe in their schools, in their communities, and with their peers.

Together, we can put an end to bullying and harassment to create more inclusive, kind, safe, and supportive schools and communities.

Jane Roulier is chair of the board of directors for Girls Inc. of Holyoke.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Girls Inc. of the Valley recently welcomed five new members to its board of directors: Nikai Fondon, George Keady, Alaina Macaulay, Cheri Mills, and Ciara Speller. These new members join the current board of directors to support strategic planning to map out the future of the organization.

Fondon has worked at Marketing Doctor Inc. since January as a marketing specialist and previously worked at the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts (CFWM) as a donor-engagement coordinator and scholarship program associate for four years. She currently serves as a board member for the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield (YPS). She has been a panelist for the 2020 Girls and Racism Virtual Town Hall and has worked with Girls Inc. teens on creative writing and marketing projects. She was recognized as a Dream Maker at Spirit of Girls 2022.

Keady has worked at UBS Financial Services/Wealth Management in Springfield for 39 years and, upon retirement this year, was a managing director. He has served as a board member for CFWM and Saint Michael’s College, and was a chairperson for Glenmeadow Retirement Community and Bay Path University. He has been a long-time champion for girls and friend of Girls Inc.

Macaulay is the senior director for Inclusion and Strategic Engagement at UMass Amherst. She worked previously at UMass Amherst Isenberg School of Management for three years as the executive director of Diversity and Inclusion and, before that, at Elms College as the director of Diversity and Inclusion for two years. She has been involved with Girls Inc. through support of the 2020 Girls and Racism Virtual Town Hall. She currently serves as a board member for YPS and Chester Theatre Co.

Mills has worked at PeoplesBank for eight years as a Business Banking manager and is currently the assistant vice president. She has been involved with Girls Inc. as a volunteer through the finance committee this past year. She also served on the corporate and community impact committee and helped secure sponsorship commitments for Spirit of Girls 2022.

Speller has worked at WWLP as an evening anchor for five years. She has been involved with Girls Inc. for the past couple of years, including as the moderator for the 2020 Girls and Racism Virtual Town Hall and host for Spirit of Girls 2021. She and WWLP did the news broadcast live for Spirit of Girls 2022 on location at the Big E, where she was also a recipient of a Girls Inc. Dream Maker award. She also serves as a board member for the nonprofit I Found Light Against All Odds.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Girls Inc. of the Valley received a $2,000 grant from the Rotary Club of Springfield to support Girls Inc. of the Valley’s “Bridge the Digital Divide” project. This donation will help girls and their families overcome social and economic stressors during this pandemic.

In the midst of the upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for positive, girl-focused, youth-development programming is stronger than ever. Girls who were already dealing with adverse childhood experiences like poverty and racism need additional support during these challenging times, and this donation from the Rotary Club of Springfield will allow both organizations to help serve the community.

Many of the girls have been asking if Girls Inc.’s Eureka! STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education program will happen during the summer of 2021. To ensure the safety of their participants, staff, and volunteers, Girls Inc. will provide Eureka! University, a virtual version of the program, this summer.

Girls Inc. of the Valley aims to inspire all girls to see themselves as leaders with the skills and capabilities to improve and influence their local communities, and its leaders are concerned that COVID-19 will widen the existing digital divide between those with ready access to computers and the internet and those without these resources. Currently, five Springfield Eureka! participants do not have the technology to access virtual programming. Girls Inc. of the Valley’s “Bridge the Digital Divide” project will provide each girl with a Chromebook and wi-fi capability to ensure her ability to participate in Eureka! University this summer, and continue Eureka! programming during the school year.

“We are so grateful to the Springfield Rotary Club for this grant to fund our ‘Bridging the Digital Divide’ project,” said Suzanne Parker, executive director of Girls Inc. of the Valley. “It is critical for girls to have the technology they need to succeed in order to grow up healthy, educated, and independent. This generous grant will provide access to technology that is crucial for girls in the Valley.”

Daily News

HOLYOKE — After a four-year search, Girls Inc. of the Valley unveiled what will become its new home on Tuesday — the former ‘O’Connell building’ on Hampden Street in Holyoke.

At an elaborate, well-attended press conference, Girls Inc. leaders announced that the nonprofit had acquired the property and has mapped out extensive renovation efforts and plans to open the new facility perhaps as early as a year from now.

Girls Inc. Executive Director Suzanne Parker (photo by Adam Belson Photography)

Girls Inc. Executive Director Suzanne Parker told those assembled that, as part of a strategic plan created more than four years ago, the nonprofit has sought a new home that will bring all its programs together under one roof and facilitate growth that will enable it to serve more girls in the Pioneer Valley. The search for such a facility has been a long and sometimes difficult undertaking, she noted, one that eventually brought Girls Inc. to the Hampden Street property, which was the longtime home to the O’Connell Companies, and later law offices after O’Connell built a new headquarters on Kelly Way in Holyoke.

“In many ways, the pandemic has helped make this possible,” said Parker, noting that the law firm’s plans to attract office tenants to the property were certainly impacted by changes in how and where people work.

Girls Inc. closed on the property earlier this month, acquiring it for $790,000 with financing from PeoplesBank, said Parker, noting that extensive renovations to many portions of the property will bring the price tag for the project to roughly $3.5 million. A capital campaign — the Her Future, Our Future campaign, which has an overall goal of $5 million — was launched more than a year ago, she said, adding that funds raised through that campaign will be used to cover those costs.

A rendering by Kuhn Riddle Architects of the future front entry of the Girls Inc. facility

The site brings a number of benefits, said Parker, listing a 55-space parking lot and ample room — 16,000 square feet over two floors — for facilities that will include a cutting-edge STEM makers’ space, library, two multi-purpose rooms, a teen lounge, a kitchen and dining area, administrative offices, and more.

The press conference included remarks from Holyoke Mayor Terry Murphy and several Girls Inc. leaders and alumna, including Cynthia Medina Carson, board member and co-chair of the Her Future, Our Future campaign, who remembers becoming involved with Girls Inc. when she was just 5.

“What we need now is the next-generation place for Girls Inc. — a location that enables our programming to match up to where we want and need to be, for girls,” she said.

Picture This

A photo essay of business happenings in Western Mass.

Email ‘Picture This’ photos with a caption and contact information to [email protected]

 


 

Elevating the Brand

Valley Vodka Inc., maker of V-One Vodka, announced a new partnership with Julious Grant and Ty Law. Grant brings 29 years of executive-level experience in the spirits industry, having held senior leadership roles in sales and marketing in some of the most successful companies in the world. Law, an NFL Hall of Famer, won three Super Bowls as a cornerback with the New England Patriots. This partnership comes on the heels of Valley Vodka Inc. completing a multi-million-dollar purchase and renovation of its own ‘farm to glass’ distillery in Kamien, Poland. “With our new distillery, expanded production, and new packaging, this is the perfect time to introduce more people to our clean-drinking vodka,” V-One creator Paul Kozub said. “Julious and Ty are tremendous assets to help us expand distribution and increase brand awareness.” Pictured, from left, are Grant, Kozub, and Law.

 


Supporting the Community

Florence Bank recently pledged $50,000

Florence Bank recently pledged $50,000 to the YMCA of Greater Springfield to help fund the new wellness and childcare center that opened at Springfield’s Tower Square on Dec. 5. The new, state-of-the-art facility includes a 15,000-square-foot education center that serves infants through elementary-school students. Additionally, the facility includes a new, 12,000-square-foot wellness center with premium strength and conditioning equipment in a space that overlooks the city. Pictured, from left: Jeffrey Poindexter, YMCA of Greater Springfield board chair; Dexter Johnson, YMCA of Greater Springfield president and CEO; and Nicole Gleason, Springfield branch manager and vice president of Florence Bank.

 


Highest Honors

For the third consecutive year, the Beta Gamma Sigma (BGS) Chapter at Western New England University

For the third consecutive year, the Beta Gamma Sigma (BGS) Chapter at Western New England University earned the “highest honors” designation for its campus engagement and programming for the 2018-19 academic year. One indicator of the chapter’s engagement is participation at the annual Global Leadership Summit (GLS), which chapter President Tessa Wood and Secretary Kathryn Wells attended last year. The GLS enables delegates to participate in professional-development workshops and share best practices with student leaders from other BGS chapters worldwide. Pictured, from left: chapter members Wood, Finance Chair Emily Sajdak, Service Chair Krystyna Germano, and Vice President Teddy Doyle.

 


Record Donation

Holyoke Community College (HCC) has received the largest donation

Holyoke Community College (HCC) has received the largest donation in the college’s 74-year history — $7.5 million — from the Elaine Nicpon Marieb Foundation, established by the late Elaine Marieb, a longtime HCC faculty member, alumna, best-selling textbook author, and Northampton native. The donation includes $5 million outright and a $2.5 million matching gift that will go toward future renovations of HCC’s main science facility, the Marieb Building, as part of a multi-phase plan to expand the recently opened Center for Life Sciences to encompass the entire three-story structure. Pictured: HCC Biology Professor Emily Rabinsky (center) teaches a biotechnology lab in the Center for Life Sciences.

 


Advocating for Girls

Executives from Girls Inc. of the Valley recently joined executives

Executives from Girls Inc. of the Valley recently joined executives from Girls Inc. of Lynn, Worcester, and Berkshires on the State House floor to highlight the Eureka! program — which prepares teenage girls to participate and excel in cutting-edge, dynamic STEM careers — and advocate for its inclusion in the state budget. Pictured, from left: Ruth Roy, campaign director, Girls Inc. of the Valley; Kelly Marion, CEO, Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center, home of Girls Inc. of the Berkshires; Victoria Waterman, CEO, Girls Inc. of Worcester; Agnes Nkansah, Girls Inc. of Worcester Eureka! alumna and student at Brandeis University; Suzanne Parker, executive director, Girls Inc. of the Valley; Deb Ansourlian, executive director, Girls Inc. of Lynn; Brenda Nikas-Hayes, director of Eureka!, Girls Inc. of Worcester; Sidney Hamilton, outreach and site coordinator, Girls Inc. of the Berkshires; Lena Crowley, director, Teen and Middle School Program, Girls Inc. of Lynn; and Alexandra DeFronzo, supervisor of STEM Programs, Girls Inc.

 


Read Across America Day

First American Insurance Agency recently took part in Read Across America Day

First American Insurance Agency recently took part in Read Across America Day by reading to students at Saint Stanislaus School as part of its Kids First campaign. The campaign is an ongoing effort to support children and teens in Western Mass. through education and play. The staff volunteers time and resources through several activities and fundraisers throughout the year. Pictured, from left: Theresa Kelly, Kristie Learned, Ginger Marszalek, and Meghan Harnois from First American Insurance Agency.

 


 

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Girls Inc. of the Valley has raised more than $67,000 to date from its Spirit of Girls 2021 event, which will help support ongoing program needs.

The virtual event was held on May 6 and was attended by notable women such as U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former NASA astronaut Cady Coleman, Mount Holyoke College leadership fellow and political figure Carmen Yulín Cruz, actress Tequilla Whitfield, WWLP weeknight anchor Ciara Speller, and Girls Inc. President and CEO Stephanie Hull.

Girls Inc. of the Valley has had to opt for safer, virtual options, which is why this year’s Spirit of Girls event was held 100% virtually. Attendees heard directly from girls, staff, and notable celebrities regarding the importance of celebrating their place at the table. Girls Inc. of the Valley will be posting a link to a video of the event on its YouTube channel, where it will still accept monetary gifts as well.

“We are so thrilled to have had such strong, smart, and bold role models volunteer to lend their voices to Spirit of Girls 2021,” said Suzanne Parker, Girls Inc. of the Valley’s executive director.

Girls Inc. of the Valley aims to inspire all girls to see themselves as leaders with the skills and capabilities to improve and influence their local communities.

Daily News

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University students joined Girls Inc. of Holyoke at the university’s Empsall Hall last week to launch public service announcements (PSAs) in honor of International Day of the Girl Child, a celebration designated by the United Nations on Oct. 11. The PSAs, created by students in the Communications program, reflected different perspectives on how to encourage and empower girls of all ages and backgrounds.

“By creating PSAs for International Day of the Girl Child that they really believe in, our students are not only building their skills in communication, they’re using curiosity to solve problems and inspire others, and it speaks volumes to their commitment to being strong, smart, and bold,” said Janine Fondon, chair of Undergraduate Communications. “In the Communications program, we are celebrating our ability to join together as a community to raise our positive voices for change, challenge, and opportunity. We’re glad that we had this opportunity with leaders and guests from the community to have the conversation needed for girls and women to be inspired, engaged, and curious.”

The event featured a ‘COMMversation,’ where university students and local panelists, including Girls Inc. Executive Director Suzanne Parker, Women’s Fund of Western Mass CEO Donna Haghighat, Springfield School Committee member LaTonia Monroe Naylor, Open Pixel Studios co-founder and animator Kathryn Taccone, and author and Bay Path Professor Maria Luisa Arroyo, engaged in conversations about how to create a world where girls can feel safe as they explore their individual paths to success. Bay Path students of all disciplines used their storytelling skills to focus on what they feel are currently the biggest challenges, as well as opportunities for girls and women. A walk-through gallery of their PSAs was displayed, prompting discussion among guests, faculty, staff, and other students.

“To be among Bay Path University students, staff, and faculty, and other panelists from the community, was a wonderful way to start International Day of the Girl Child,” Parker said. “Talking about women’s leadership is something we are passionate about at Girls Inc., where we work to inspire girls to be strong, smart, and bold, so it was an honor to be here.”

Naomi Naylor, daughter of LaTonia Monroe Naylor, attended the event as a local student ambassador. She showcased and described a work of art she painted called “Colors of Acceptance.” Following the event, she donated this piece to Bay Path University through Fondon. Arroyo, who was Springfield’s inaugural poet laureate, signed her book at the event. The ongoing partnership between Girls Inc. and Bay Path University for International Day of the Girl Child was further highlighted in the afternoon as Fondon offered a presentation of her research for “The Intersection: Women of Color On the Move.”

Departments

The following incorporations were recorded in Hampden and Hampshire counties between mid-February and mid-March, the latest available. They are listed by community.

AGAWAM

Greenback Management Company Inc., 417 Springfield St., Suite 154, Agawam 01001. John G. Molta, 21 Blairs Hill Road, Agawam 01001. To deal in real estate, etc.

Top Knotch Tree Service Inc., 80 Howard St., Agawam 01001. Marilyn J. Kane, same. To own and operate a tree service business.

AMHERST

Hidden Tech Inc., 2 Teaberry Lane, Amherst 01002. Amy Zuckerman, same. (Nonprofit) To provide networking and educational opportunities for its members, etc.

CHICOPEE

Chessey Inc., 36 Steadman St., Chicopee 01013. Joseph J. Chessey Jr., same. Restaurant.

H & U Corp., 241 Chicopee St., Chicopee 01013. Fouzia Rafiq, same. Convenience store.

New England Aquatic Designs Corp., 297 Broadway St., Chicopee 01020. Mark Johnston, same. Aquarium installation, design work and holding.

EASTHAMPTON

Easthampton Woodworks Inc., 188 Pleasant St., Easthampton 01027. Richard E. Alcorn, 11 Dickinson St., Amherst 01002. Manufacture wooden windows and doors.

EAST LONGMEADOW

Body Tones Spa Inc., 22 Fernwood Dr., East Longmeadow 01028. Amy Impagnatiello, same. A tanning spa and related cosmetology services.

HAMPDEN

Domigi Baking Inc., 19 South Road, Hampden 01036. Lorraine A. Hanley, same. To deal in baked goods.

HOLYOKE

HHC Developer Inc., 230 Maple St., Holyoke. Jay Breines, same. To own and operate real estate.

INDIAN ORCHARD

E. Z. E. L. Inc., 567-569 Main St., Indian Orchard 01151. Norma J. Makol, 698 South West St., Feeding Hills 01030. A restaurant.

LONGMEADOW

SNEH Inc., 641 Converse St., Longmeadow 01106. Satish Kumar, same. To operate a restaurant.

LUDLOW

Buoniconti Company Inc., The, 391 Westerly Circle, Ludlow 01056. Michael A. Buoniconto, same. On-site computer services for businesses and consumers.

Commercial Machine Inc., 305 Moody St., Suite B, Ludlow 01056. Kevin J. Sullivan, 82 West St., Belchertown 01007. Machine and tool shop.

NORTHAMPTON

Angelo’s Golden Harvest Inc., 391 Damon Road, Northampton 02060. William A. Denucci, 110 High Meadow Road, West Springfield 01089. Garden center.

SOUTH HADLEY

Friends of Buttery Brook Park Inc., 15 Westbrook Road, South Hadley 01075. Linda Young, same. (Nonprofit) To improve and promote Buttery Brook Park, etc.

Exclusive Car Service Inc., 27 Hadley St., South Hadley 01075. David P. White, same. Limousine service.

SOUTHAMPTON

Wiseman and Son Transportation Inc., 38 High St., Southampton 01073. Jim Wiseman, same. A trucking company.

SOUTHWICK

Drakeview Sandwich Co. Inc., 327 North Loomis St., Southwick 01077. Nancy R. Cannizzaro, same. Retail food sales.

SPRINGFIELD

Diocesan Cemeteries of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts Inc., 65 Elliot St., Springfield 01103. Timothy A. McDonnell, 76 Elliot St., Springfield 01103. To promote and ensure the appropriate and respectful committal of the dead in the Springfield Diocese.

HTMD Inc., 494 Central St., Springfield 01105. Hong V. Tran, 469 Page Blvd., Springfield 01104. Liquor package store.

Lawn Sprinkler Company Inc., The, 63 Bridle Path Road, Springfield 01118. Dino T. Frigo, 57 Palmyra St., Springfield 01118. Lawn sprinkler sales and service.

Opportunity Guidance Support Inc., 46 Kent Road, Springfield 01129. Anthony L. Brice, same. (Nonprofit) To engage in charitable activities.

Pioneer Valley Recruiting Inc., 821 North Branch Parkway, Springfield 01119. Juliette Hahn Nguyen, same. Employment agency.

Springfield Multicultural Conservatory of the Arts Inc., 2754 Main St., Springfield 01107. Wilfredo Moreno, 119 Stafford St., Springfield 01104. (Nonprofit) To promote and assist emerging artists through instruction in music, art, etc.

The Keg Room Inc., 87 State St., Springfield 01103. Christopher J.
Kolodziey, 52 Colony Dr., East Longmeadow 01028. To operate a restaurant and food take-out.

WESTFIELD

Blanchard Homes Inc., 147 Eastwood Dr., Westfield 01085. Stephen D. Blanchard, same. To deal in real estate.

D G Manufacturing Inc., 362 Elm St., Westfield 01085. Dallas Grogan, 57 Telephone Road, East Otis 01029. To manufacture plastic products.

Westfield Girls Lacrosse Association Inc., 98 Woodcliff Dr., Westfield 01085. Gary O’Grady, same. (Nonprofit) To support amateur athletes and coaching staff providing a competitive Lacrosse program, etc.

WEST SPRINGFIELD

R & S Package Store Inc., 529 Union St., West Springfield 01089. Richard Lajeunesse, 71 Greentree Lane, Somers, CT 06071. Frank A. Caruso, 127 Mulberry St., Springfield 01105, registered agent. A retail package store.

Events

Lists of the previous seven 40 Under Forty classes

Class of 2013

Timothy Allen, South End Middle School
Meaghan Arena, Westfield State University
Adrian Bailey Dion, Harold Grinspoon Foundation
Jason Barroso, Tighe & Bond
Elizabeth Beaudry, NUVO Bank & Trust Co.
Melyssa Brown, Meyers Bothers Kalicka, P.C.
Kam Capoccia, Western New England University College of Pharmacy
Jeremy Casey, Westfield Bank
Tommy Cosenzi, TommyCar Auto Group
Erin Couture, Florence Savings Bank
Geoffrey Croteau, MassMutual Charter Oak Insurance and Financial Services
William Davila, The Gandara Center
Ralph DiVito Jr., Yankee Candle Co.
Shaun Dwyer, PeoplesBank
Erin Fontaine Brunelle, Century 21 Hometown Associates
William Gagnon, Excel Dryer Inc.
Allison Garriss, Clinical & Support Options Inc.
Annamarie Golden, Baystate Health
L. Alexandra Hogan, Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin, P.C.
Samalid Hogan , City of Springfield
Xiaolei Hua, PeoplesBank
Mark Jardim, CMD Technologies
Danny Kates, Wealth New England and MassMutual Charter Oak Insurance and Financial Services
Jeremy Leap, Country Bank
Danielle Letourneau-Therrien, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County
Isaac Mass, Law Office of Isaac J. Mass
Kelvin Molina, HAPHousing
Brenna Murphy McGee, Commonwealth of Massachusetts/City of Holyoke
Vanessa Pabon, WGBY-TV
John Pantera, Fitness Together Franchise Corp./Elements Therapeutic Massage
Justin Pelis, North Country Landscapes & Garden Center
Shonda Pettiford, Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst
Shannon Reichelt, S. Reichelt & Co., LLC.
N. Andrew Robb, Burgess, Schultz & Robb, P.C.
Stacy Robison, CommunicateHealth Inc.
Rachel Romano, Veritas Preparatory Charter School
Jennifer Root, Center for Human Development,Terri Thomas Girls Program
Jonathan Stolpinski, Westfield Electroplating Co.
Walter Tomala Jr., TNT General Contracting Inc.
Mark Zatyrka, American Homecare Federation Inc.

Class of 2012

Allison Biggs, Graphic Designer
Christopher Connelly, Foley/Connelly Financial Partners
Scott Conrad, Center for Human Development
Erin Corriveau, Reliable Temps Inc.
Carla Cosenzi, Tommy Car Corp.
Ben Craft, Baystate Medical Center
Jessica Crevier, AIDS Foundation of Western Mass.
Michele Crochetiere, YWCA of Western Mass.
Christopher DiStefano, DiStefano Financial Group
Keshawn Dodds, 4King Edward Enterprises Inc.
Ben Einstein, Brainstream Design
Michael Fenton, Shatz, Schwartz, and Fentin, P.C.
Tim Fisk, The Alliance to Develop Power
Elizabeth Ginter, Ellis Title Co.
Eric Hall, Westfield Police Department
Brendon Hutchins, St. Germain Investment Management
Kevin Jennings, Jennings Real Estate
Kristen Kellner, Kellner Consulting, LLC
Dr. Ronald Laprise, Laprise Chiropractic & Wellness
Danielle Lord, O’Connell Care at Home & Staffing Services
Waleska Lugo-DeJesus, Westfield State University
Trecia Marchand, Pioneer Valley Federal Credit Union
Ryan McCollum, RMC Strategies
Sheila Moreau, MindWing Concepts Inc.
Kelli Ann Nielsen, Springfield Academy Middle School
Neil Nordstrom, Pediatric Services of Springfield
Edward Nuñez, Freedom Credit Union
Adam Ondrick, Ondrick Natural Earth
Gladys Oyola, City of Springfield
Shardool Parmar, Pioneer Valley Hotel Group
Vincent Petrangelo, Raymond James
Terry Powe, Elias Brookings Museum Magnet School
Jennifer Reynolds, Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C.
Dan Rukakoski, Tighe & Bond
Dr. Nate Somers, Center for Human Development
Joshua Spooner, Western New England University College of Pharmacy
Jaclyn Stevenson, Winstanley Partners
Jason Tsitso, R & R Windows Contractors
Sen. James Welch, State Senator, First Hampden District
Karen Woods, Yankee Candle Co.

Class of 2011

Kelly Albrecht , left-click Corp.
Gianna Allentuck , Springfield Public Schools
Briony Angus , Tighe & Bond
Delania Barbee , ACCESS Springfield Promise Program
Monica Borgatti , Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity
Nancy Buffone , University of Massachusetts
Michelle Cayo , Country Bank
Nicole Contois , Springfield Housing Authority
Christin Deremian , Human Resources Unlimited/Pyramid Project
Peter Ellis , DIF Design
Scott Foster , Bulkley, Richardson and Gelinas, LLP
Stephen Freyman , Longmeadow High School
Benjamin Garvey , Insurance Center of New England
Mathew Geffin , Webber and Grinnell
Nick Gelfand , NRG Real Estate Inc.
Mark Germain , Gomes, DaCruz and Tracy, P.C.
Elizabeth Gosselin , Commonwealth Packaging
Kathryn Grandonico , Lincoln Real Estate
Jaimye Hebert , Monson Savings Bank
Sean Hemingway , Center for Human Development
Kelly Koch , Bulkley, Richardson and Gelinas, LLP
Jason Mark , Gravity Switch
Joan Maylor , Stop and Shop Supermarkets
Todd McGee , MassMutual Financial Group
Donald Mitchell , Western Mass. Development Collaborative
David Pakman , Vivid Edge Media Group/The David Pakman Show
Timothy Plante, City of Springfield/Springfield Public Schools
Maurice Powe , The Law Offices of Brooks and Powe
Jeremy Procon , Interstate Towing Inc.
Kristen Pueschel , PeoplesBank
Meghan Rothschild , SurvivingSkin.org
Jennifer Schimmel , Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity
Amy Scott , Wild Apple Design Group
Alexander Simon , LogicTrail, LLC
Lauren Tabin , PeoplesBank
Lisa Totz , ITT Power Solutions
Jeffrey Trant , Human Resources Unlimited
Timothy Van Epps , Sandri Companies
Michael Vedovelli , Mass. Office of Business Development
Beth Vettori , Rockridge Retirement Community

Class of 2010

Nancy Bazanchuk , Disability Resource Program, Center for Human Development
Raymond Berry , United Way of Pioneer Valley
David Beturne , Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampden County
Maegan Brooks , The Law Office of Maegan Brooks
Karen Buell , PeoplesBank
Shanna Burke , Nonotuck Resource Associates
Damon Cartelli , Fathers & Sons
Brady Chianciola , PeoplesBank
Natasha Clark , Springfield School Volunteers
Julie Cowan , TD Bank
Karen Curran , Thomson Financial Management Inc.
Adam Epstein , Dielectrics Inc.
Mary Fallon , Garvey Communication Associates
Daniel Finn , Pioneer Valley Local First
Owen Freeman-Daniels , Foley-Connelly Financial Partners and Foley Insurance Group
Lorenzo Gaines , ACCESS Springfield Promise Program
Thomas Galanis , Westfield State College
Anthony Gleason II , Roger Sitterly & Son Inc. and Gleason Landscaping
Allen Harris , Berkshire Money Management Inc.
Meghan Hibner , Westfield Bank
Amanda Huston , Junior Achievement of Western Mass. Inc.
Kimberly Klimczuk , Royal, LLP
James Krupienski , Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C.
David Kutcher , Confluent Forms, LLC
James Leahy , City of Holyoke and Alcon Laboratories
Kristin Leutz , Community Foundation of Western Mass.
Meghan Lynch , Six-Point Creative Works
Susan Mielnikowski , Cooley, Shrair, P.C.
Jill Monson , Adam Quenneville Roofing & Siding Inc. and Inspired Marketing & Promotions
Kevin Perrier , Five Star Building Corp.
Lindsay Porter , Big Y Foods
Brandon Reed , Fitness Together
Boris Revsin , CampusLIVE Inc.
Aaron Vega , Vega Yoga & Movement Arts
Ian Vukovich , Florence Savings Bank
Thomas Walsh , City of Springfield
Sean Wandrei , Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C.
Byron White , Pazzo Ristorante
Chester Wojcik , Design Construction Group
Peter Zurlino , Atlantico Designs and Springfield Public Schools

Class of 2009

Marco Alvan, Team Link Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Gina Barry, Bacon Wilson, P.C.
Maggie Bergin, The Art of Politics
Daniel Bessette, Get Set Marketing
Brandon Braxton, NewAlliance Bank
Dena Calvanese, Gray House
Edward Cassell, Park Square Realty
Karen Chadwell, Doherty, Wallace, Pillsbury and Murphy, P.C.
Kate Ciriello, MassMutual Financial Group
Kamari Collins, Springfield Technical Community College
Mychal Connolly Sr., Stinky Cakes
Todd Demers, Family Wireless
Kate Glynn, A Child’s Garden and Impish
Andrew Jensen, Jx2 Productions, LLC
Kathy LeMay, Raising Change
Ned Leutz, Webber & Grinnell Insurance Agency
Scott MacKenzie, MacKenzie Vault Inc.
Tony Maroulis, Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce
Seth Mias, Seth Mias Catering
Marjory Moore, Chicopee Public Schools
Corey Murphy, First American Insurance Agency Inc.
Mark Hugo Nasjleti, Go Voice for Choice
Joshua Pendrick, Royal Touch Painting
Christopher Prouty, Studio99Creative
Adam Quenneville, Adam Quenneville Roofing
Michael Ravosa, Morgan Stanley
Kristi Reale, Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C.
Amy Royal, Royal & Klimczuk, LLC
Michelle Sade, United Personnel
Scott Sadowsky, Williams Distributing Corp.
Gregory Schmidt, Doherty, Wallace, Pillsbury & Murphy, P.C.
Gretchen Siegchrist, Media Shower Productions
Erik Skar, MassMutual Financial Services
Paul Stallman, Alias Solutions
Renee Stolar, J. Stolar Insurance Co.
Tara Tetreault, Jackson and Connor
Chris Thompson, Springfield Falcons Hockey Team
Karl Tur, Ink & Toner Solutions, LLC
Michael Weber, Minuteman Press
Brenda Wishart, Aspen Square Management

Class of 2008

Michelle Abdow, Market Mentors
Matthew Andrews, Best Buddies of Western Mass.
Rob Anthony, WMAS
Shane Bajnoci, Cowls Land & Lumber Co.
Steve Bandarra, Atlas TC
Dr. Jonathan Bayuk, Hampden County Physician Associates
Delcie Bean IV, Valley Computer Works (Paragus Strategic IT)
Brendan Ciecko, Ten Minute Media
Todd Cieplinski, Universal Mind Inc.
William Collins, Spoleto Restaurant Group
Michael Corduff, Log Cabin Banquet and Meeting House
Amy Davis, New City Scenic & Display
Dave DelVecchio, Innovative Business Systems Inc.
Tyler Fairbank, EOS Ventures
Timothy Farrell, F.W. Farrell Insurance
Jeffrey Fialky, Bacon Wilson, P.C.
Dennis Francis, America’s Box Choice
Kelly Galanis, Westfield State College
Jennifer Glockner, Winstanley Associates
Andrea Hill-Cataldo, Johnson & Hill Staffing Services
Steven Huntley, Valley Opportunity Council
Alexander Jarrett, Pedal People Cooperative
Kevin Jourdain, City of Holyoke
Craig Kaylor, Hampden Bank / Hampden Bancorp Inc.
Stanley Kowalski III, FloDesign Inc.
Marco Liquori, NetLogix Inc.
Azell Murphy Cavaan, City of Springfield
Michael Presnal, The Federal Restaurant
Melissa Shea, Sullivan, Hayes & Quinn
Sheryl Shinn, Hampden Bank
Ja’Net Smith, Center for Human Development
Diana Sorrentini-Velez, Cooley, Shrair, P.C.
Meghan Sullivan, Sullivan, Hayes & Quinn
Michael Sweet, Doherty Wallace Pillsbury & Murphy
Heidi Thomson, Girls Inc.
Hector Toledo, Hampden Bank
William Trudeau Jr., Insurance Center of New England
David Vermette, MassMutual Financial Services
Lauren Way, Bay Path College
Paul Yacovone, Brain Powered Concepts

Class of 2007

William Bither III, Atalasoft
Kimberlynn Cartelli, Fathers & Sons
Amy Caruso, MassMutual Financial Group
Denise Cogman, Springfield School Volunteers
Richard Corder, Cooley Dickinson Hospital
Katherine Pacella Costello, Egan, Flanagan & Cohen, P.C.
A. Rima Dael, Berkshire Bank Foundation of Pioneer Valley
Nino Del Padre, Del Padre Visual Productions
Antonio Dos Santos, Robinson Donovan, P.C.
Jake Giessman, Academy Hill School
Jillian Gould, Eastfield Mall
Michael Gove, Lyon & Fitzpatrick, LLP
Dena Hall, United Bank
James Harrington, Our Town Variety & Liquors
Christy Hedgpeth, Spalding Sports
Francis Hoey III, Tighe & Bond
Amy Jamrog, The Jamrog Group, Northwestern Mutual
Cinda Jones, Cowls Land & Lumber Co.
Paul Kozub, V-1 Vodka
Bob Lowry, Bueno y Sano
G.E. Patrick Leary, Moriarty & Primack, P.C.
Todd Lever, Noble Hospital
Audrey Manring, The Women’s Times
Daniel Morrill, Wolf & Company
Joseph Pacella, Egan, Flanagan & Cohen, P.C.
Arlene Rodriquez, Springfield Technical Community College
Craig Swimm, WMAS 94.7
Sarah Tanner, United Way of Pioneer Valley
Mark Tanner, Bacon Wilson, P.C.
Michelle Theroux, Child & Family Services of Pioneer Valley Inc.
Tad Tokarz, Western MA Sports Journal
Dan Touhey, Spalding Sports
Sarah Leete Tsitso, Fred Astaire Dance
Michael Vann, The Vann Group
Ryan Voiland, Red Fire Farm
Erica Walch, Speak Easy Accent Modification
Catherine West, Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C.
Michael Zaskey, Zasco Productions, LLC
Edward Zemba, Robert Charles Photography
Carin Zinter, The Princeton Review

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Girls Inc., the national organization that inspires girls to be strong, smart, and bold, has received $10 million in funding as one of four awardees selected by the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge to benefit its Project Accelerate program. Project Accelerate aims to expand the power and influence of women in the U.S. by 2030.

Building on Girls Inc.’s evidence-based programming, Project Accelerate addresses inequality in the workplace, particularly the absence of women of color in positions of influence and leadership. The program will accelerate young women’s trajectories through college and career entry, leveraging partnerships with corporations and social-impact organizations to ensure both their preparation and their access to positions of influence. Project Accelerate will also reduce the gender gap by working with young women starting as early as their junior year in high school to ensure they have the resources and support to thrive as leaders. Through a network of 78 affiliates, including here in the Pioneer Valley, Project Accelerate aims to lift 5,400 diverse women into corporate positions of power and influence, shifting the equity landscape for generations.

“The $10 million in funding secured by Girls Inc. National for Project Accelerate from the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge will be instrumental in addressing and dismantling gender inequalities in the workplace,” said Suzanne Parker, executive director of Girls Inc. of the Valley. “We are so thrilled for our national organization and the affiliates all over the country who will be piloting the program over the course of the next year, and we look forward to rolling out Project Accelerate at Girls Inc. of the Valley in the future.”

Project Accelerate will prepare thousands of young women leaders not merely to succeed in workplace environments, but also to affect cultural change from within. Expected outcomes include an increased number of young women graduating on time, an increased network of influence for girls from historically marginalized groups, and job placement in high-paying positions of leadership. In doing so, women will acquire the means and the opportunity to elevate their status, as well as their families, neighborhoods, communities, and organizations.

“A generation of bold young women stands ready to lead change in the world. Yet entrenched, inequitable systems prevent them from having the opportunities and resources they need to succeed,” said Girls Inc. President and CEO Stephanie J. Hull. “Girls Inc. is proven to make a positive difference in the lives of girls. Support from the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge for Project Accelerate extends the proven Girls Inc. experience through college and into early careers. The investment also supports change in the companies that employ these young leaders. In its insistence on justice and equity for women, Project Accelerate advances equality for all.”

The Equality Can’t Wait Challenge, which launched in 2020, is the first competition centered on gender equality in the U.S. with an award of this magnitude and represents an opportunity to invest in and empower women leaders who bring a wide range of lived experiences to their work to advance women’s power and influence in the U.S.

Opinion

Opinion

By Jane Roulier

In schools, on the streets, in relationships, and online, girls in communities across the country are experiencing bullying and harassment. In addition to sexual harassment, many girls experience discrimination based on their race, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, religion, and more.

Over the past year, one in four high school girls has been bullied on school property, which negatively affects everyone involved — the victim, the harasser, and the bystanders — as well as the learning environment. While Massachusetts has laws requiring schools to develop and implement plans to address bullying, Girls Inc. of Holyoke recognizes that bullying is not limited to the school grounds.

Indeed, the prevalence of social media means that bullying follows girls into their homes and lives outside of school. Children who are bullied often have little reprieve. To address this pervasive problem, Girls Inc. dedicated Girls Inc. Week 2017, May 8-12, to helping girls advocate for change and make our communities better places to live.

But this is an initiative that goes on year-round — because it must.

Girls Inc. recently surveyed nearly 800 members of our national network, including girls and alumnae, parents, staff, board members, and donors, to determine the top challenges facing girls today. Nearly 70% of respondents identified “bullying, harassment, and sexual violence” as an issue of concern to them. We can’t ignore this. This is a problem that affects us all.

It is important we understand the facts and myths about bullying and harassment in order to effectively address this issue.

Myth: Bullying is just ‘kids being kids,’ and we should stop making it such a big deal.

Fact: Bullying can cause lasting harm. Repeated or severe conduct based on sex or other protected categories is unlawful harassment.

Myth: If it happens off school grounds, it’s not the school’s responsibility.

Fact: Under Title IX, schools have to address conduct they know about, or should know about, that leads to a hostile environment or impedes a student’s ability to benefit from the educational program.

Myth: Bullies are ‘problem kids’ who have aggression issues and should be punished.

Fact: Actually, it is quite common for kids who bully to be victims themselves.

Myth: Bullying will stop only if the victim stands up to the bully.

Fact: Just as society does not expect victims of other types of abuse to “deal with it on their own,” we should not expect this from victims of bullying or harassment.

Girls Inc. encourages girls to be change agents within their communities, boldly advocating for themselves and others. Along with more than 450 other attendees at our Spirit of Girls breakfast fund-raiser last month, I witnessed girls doing this. Girls as young as 7 through 17 spoke confidently in front of this large crowd about how our programs have impacted their lives by building their self-esteem and encouraging them to make their voices heard. Because of what they are learning, these girls will not be afraid to advocate for themselves or others. Girls Inc. of Holyoke is also working to change policies, attitudes, and beliefs to improve the conditions in which girls are growing up.

Together, we can put an end to bullying and harassment to create more inclusive, kind, safe, and supportive schools and communities.

Jane Roulier is chair of the board of directors for Girls Inc. of Holyoke.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Girls Inc. of the Valley is inviting the community to join the organization at its newly acquired building for a brief insiders’ tour before the annual Road Race on Saturday, March 19 between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m.

Girls Inc. of the Valley recently continued its 40-year history in Holyoke by purchasing the original O’Connell building. Renovations are slated to begin this spring.

“What we need now is the next generation place for Girls Inc.,” said Cynthia Medina Carson, co-chair of the Her Future, Our Future campaign. “As a proud alumna of Girls Inc., I can state with certainty that this facility will do that, enabling our programming to match up to where we want and need to be for girls.”

Added Girls Inc. Executive Director Suzanne Parker, “when renovations are complete, we will have a truly unique program space specifically designed to bring girls ages 5 to 18 together in one building. This will enable our staff to serve over 1,000 participants annually.”

Those who join the tour can learn what Girls Inc. of the Valley has planned for the building while enjoying refreshments and taking advantage of off-street parking in the lot at Hampden and Linden streets to watch the road race afterward.

All Girls Inc. facilities are mask-required spaces. For those who don’t have a mask, Girls Inc. will provide one upon entrance.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Girls Inc. of the Valley announced that its HERstory Trivia Night virtual event will take place on Thursday, March 25 at 6 p.m. via Zoom. This event will help Girls Inc. of the Valley celebrate Women’s History Month along with those in the community and raise $500 to support Girls Inc. programming.

Girls Inc. of the Valley and the Young Professional Society (YPS) of Greater Springfield will host this event, which will have three rounds of trivia celebrating the accomplishments of women past and present, and prizes for the top three finishers. The event requires a minimum donation of $10 to Girls Inc. of the Valley upon registration. Participants may register by clicking here.

“YPS is proud to partner on this unique event with Girls Inc. of the Valley to help make a positive impact for girls in our community and beyond with learning and leadership opportunities,” said Amie Miarecki, YPS president.

Girls Inc. of the Valley aims to inspire all girls to see themselves as leaders with the skills and capabilities to improve and influence their local communities.

“We have a lot of trivia fans on staff here at Girls Inc.,” said Suzanne Parker, the organization’s executive director. “We thought, ‘what better way to celebrate Women’s History Month than with some HERstory trivia?’ We are excited to welcome the community to this fun and interactive event.”

Departments

The following business incorporations were recorded in Hampden and Hampshire counties and are the latest available. They are listed by community.

AGAWAM

Concept Builders Inc.,
1775 Main St., Agawam 01001.
Carlo P. Donavita, 68 Old
Feeding Hills Road, Westfield
01085. A construction company.

Namking Garden Inc.,
115 Southwick St., Agawam
(Feeding Hills) 01030. Kam
Kay Tang, 70 Southwick St.,
Agawam (Feeding Hills)
01030. Restaurant.

Root Technology Inc.,
188 Pine St., Amherst 01002.
Muthoni Magua, same.
(Nonprofit) To provide access
to computer technology to
African youth through
donations of computers and
software to schools.

Belchertown Flag Football League Inc.,
109 Howard St.,
Belchertown 01007. Josh
Kusnierz, same. (Nonprofit) To
create a framework for boys
and girls in Western Mass. to
play flag football games, etc.

BLANDFORD

Music Literacy Inc.,
112 North Blandford Road,
Blandford 01008. Nina Dawe,
same. (Nonprofit) To increase
awareness of the value of
musical educational programs
and technology, fund research
into new ways of teaching
music and into music and the
brain, etc.

CHICOPEE

EJ’s Pizza Cafe Inc.,
140 1/2 Exchange St., Chicopee 01013.
Evelyn Robinson, 57 Felix St.,
Chicopee 01020. Food service.

Sky Dragon Restaurant Inc.,
1995 Memorial Dr., Chicopee
01020. Jin Min Li, same.
Restaurant.

EASTHAMPTON

KSG. Inc.,
121 Holyoke St.,
Easthampton 01027. Scott D.
Akers, same. Pizza restaurant.

HOLYOKE

Ministerio Musical Un Nuevo Renacer Inc.,
14 Quirk Ave,
Holyoke 01040. Edgardo
Santana, same. (Nonprofit) To
make a difference in Christian
communities.

Pereira Mortgage Inc.,
82 Nonotuck St., Holyoke 01040.
Jesus M. Pereira, same.
Mortgages, first and second
liens and construction loans.

INDIAN ORCHARD

No Limit Investment Inc.,
17 Dunhill Ave., Indian Orchard
01151. David Sims, same. Real
estate purchase, improvement
and sales/rental.

LONGMEADOW

Hugh O’Donnell Metallurgical Enterprises Inc.,
389 Converse St.,
Longmeadow 01106. Hugh
O’Donnell, same. To provide
consulting and other services
in the field of metallurgy and
related fields.

LUDLOW

Delisle Management Inc.,
26 Chadbourne Ave., Ludlow
01056. Douglas M. Delisle,
same. Business management
services, coordinating retail
food sale entities.

Hair Gallery & Day Spa Inc.,
345 Holyoke St., Ludlow 01056.
Ann M. Roberts, 424 West St.,
Ludlow 01056. To own and
operate a beauty salon/spa.

PALMER

Computer Training of America Inc.,
1448 North Main
St., Palmer 01069. Thomas M.
Gingras, #2 Woodcrest Dr.,
North Oxford 01537. Computer
training and database
consulting.

Zin Food Corp.,
1432A Main
St., Palmer 01069. Alan R.
Aubin, 29 Highland St., West
Warren 01092. To carry on a
general restaurant, banquet and
catering business.

PLAINFIELD

Ravenwood Freedom Farm and Learning Center Inc.,
63 Hawley St., Plainfield 01070.
Saralinda Lobrose, 122 East
Main St., Plainfield 01070.
(Nonprofit) To provide
educational programs focusing
on the life sustaining
importance of human and
ecological diversity, farm,
nature, and arts-based
programming, etc.

SOUTHAMPTON

Opa Opa Brewing Co. Inc.,
162 College Highway, Southampton
01073. Antonios Rizos, 2 Geryk
Court, Southampton 01073.
Marketing, importing, exporting
and distribution of brewery
products.

RJM Landscaping Inc.,
33 Pomeroy Meadow Road,
Southampton 01073. Richard J.
Miller, same. Landscaping.

SPRINGFIELD

272 Worthington Street Inc.,
272 Worthington St.,
Springfield 01103. Paul V.
Ramesh, 935 Main St.,
Springfield 01103. Restaurant
and bar.

Dong Ting II Inc.,
19 Abbott St., Springfield 01118. Xiao
Ting Dong, same. Food service.
Harry Van Wart Painting Inc.,
160 Cambria St., Springfield
01118. Harry Van Wart, same.
Residential and commercial
painting.

Mason Square Veterans Association Inc.,
59 Tyler St.,
Springfield 01109. Richard
Horace Griffin, 252 King St.,
Springfield 01109. (Nonprofit)
To assist veterans and their
dependents access federal, state,
local and veterans benefits, etc.

NAOS Development Corp.,
100 Wait St., Springfield 01107.
Jae Wook Jee, 525 Hillside
Ave., Palisades Park, N.J.
06650. Bernal E. Ramirez, 100
Watt St., Springfield 01107,
registered agent. To engage in
the construction industry.

RBSGD Unlimited Inc.,
171 Belvidere St., Springfield 01108.
Grace Murray, same. To own
and operate a restaurant.

WESTFIELD

March for Christ — March for Life Inc.,
26 St. Paul St., Westfield 01085. Deborah Olive
Nilesmorgan, same. (Nonprofit)
To organize Christian marches,
gatherings and events for the
sole purpose of Christian
outreach ministry.

WILBRAHAM

Creative Woodworking Corp.,
995 Stony Hill Road,
Wilbraham 01095. Jim
Goodrich, same. Construction.

WEST SPRINGFIELD

Arena’s Fencing Inc.,
168 Windsor St., West Springfield
01089. Mark A. Arena, 127
Coyote Circle, Feeding Hills
01030. To install and deal in
fencing items.

United Charitable Foundation,
95 Elm St., West Springfield
01089. Dena M. Hall, same.
(Foreign corp; DE) To conduct
charitable activities.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Girls Inc. of the Valley announced a grant of $30,000 from Collins Aerospace for the Her Future, Our Future comprehensive campaign. This commitment from Collins Aerospace will support the creation of a dynamic MakerSpace in Girls Inc. of the Valley’s new headquarters and program center.

“We are so grateful for this generous grant, which will allow us to complete construction on the MakerSpace in 2024,” said Suzanne Parker, executive director of Girls Inc. “Thanks to Collins Aerospace, Girls Inc. participants will have an intentionally designed space for hands-on STEM activities and experiments. This commitment, coupled with ongoing volunteer support from Collins Aerospace team members, will provide unparalleled access to resources and mentors for our students.”

The collaboration between Collins Aerospace and Girls Inc. of the Valley will include volunteer opportunities to conduct STEM workshops for students and assist teens navigating the college-application process, as well as job shadowing and internship opportunities.

The MakerSpace and Collins Aerospace volunteers will have a major impact on Girls Inc.’s Eureka! Program, a unique curriculum that offers youth a sustained, five-year experience in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). Eureka! is open to all Hampden County girls in grades 8-12.

With $4.8 million raised toward the $5 million goal, Her Future, Our Future is Girls Inc. of the Valley’s comprehensive campaign that has three important goals: expand Girls Inc. programming to more Valley communities, support the growth of Eureka!, and complete a new headquarters and program center.

Departments

The following business incorporations were recently recorded in Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties and are the latest available. They are listed by community.

AGAWAM

Emil Krisna Inc., 1 Belden Court, Apt. H-1, Agawam 01001. Ramesh Patel, same. Convenience store.

Ganpati Inc., 36 Yarmouth Dr., Agawam 01001. Dinesh P. Patel, same. Convenience store.

TM Properties Inc., 13 Southbridge Dr., Agawam 01001. Michael Werman, 152 Whitaker Road, Westfield 01085. Real estate investment/leasing.

CHICOPEE

Delta Oil Inc., 817 Front St., Chicopee 01020. Huseyin Ozdemir, 136 Washington Ave., West Haven, CT 06516. Frank A. Caruso, 127 Mulberry St., Springfield 01005, registered agent. Gas station and convenience store.

International Fellowship of Charismatic Churches Worldwide Inc., 37 John St., Chicopee 01013. Bishop Ellery Q. Brevard, same. (Nonprofit) To witness to the Lordship of Christ over human beings and history by serving people in international relations, promoting reconciliation, etc.

Western Mass. Youth Soccer Association Inc., 99 Main St., Chicopee 01020. Louis Teixeira, 11 Maple Terrace, Three Rivers 01080. (Nonprofit) To promote, support and develop youth soccer in Massachusetts, etc.

FEEDING HILLS

EZ Tax Inc., 45 Cricket Road, Feeding Hills 01030. Andrew J. Fox, same. Income tax return preparation.

GREENFIELD

Donohue, Rioux & Frangie Ophthalmology, P.C., 489 Bernardston Road, Greenfield 01301. Nathalie C. Rioux, M.D., same. Medical services with respect to treatment of the eye.

LONGMEADOW

National Federation of Credit Restoration Inc., 296 Ardsley Road, Longmeadow 01106. W. Kevin O’Donnell, same. Membership-based credit restoration.

LUDLOW

Element Salon & Day Spa Corp., 21 Harding Ave., Ludlow 01056. Elizabeth Fernandes, 5 Stebbins Road, Monson, 01057. Salon & day spa.

NORTHAMPTON

Brigi Inc., 289 Elm St., Northampton 01060. Deliabridget Martinez, same. To own, manage, and develop real property.

E2M Regional Economic Council of Western Mass. Inc., 31 Olive St., Northampton 01060. Richard J. Felman, same. (Nonprofit) To facilitate funding and support for the E2M.ORG model of community-based economic development.

Hampshire County Bar Association Foundation Inc., 15 Gothic St., Northampton 01060. Alfred P. Chamberland, 5 Arthur St., Easthampton 01027. (Nonprofit) To research any branch of the law, making results freely available to the public, improve the administration of justice, etc.

SOUTH HADLEY

Ahsan International Inc., 18 Main St., Suite 2B, South Hadley 01075. Ahsan Latif, same. Trading merchandise.


 

Geitz & Wood Inc., 18 Priestly Farms Road, South Hadley 01075. Carl Geitz, same. Personalized art.

SOUTHWICK

VMDJ Inc., 8 Buckingham Dr., Southwick 01077. Paul D. Musselwhite, same. To operate a convenience store, etc.

Williams & Company Staffing Inc., 25 Deer Run, Southwick 01077. Todd M. Williams, same. To provide medical staffing personnel to medical service providers.

SPRINGFIELD

Ambassador Sports Club Inc., 21 Dineen St., Springfield 01104. Trevor Peterkin, same. (Nonprofit) Non-professional sports activities.

Joseph Freedman Export Mgmt. Co. Inc., 115 Stevens St., Springfield 01104. John Freedman, same. Sales representative.

Springfield Baller Athletic Assoc. Inc., 76 Long Terrace, Springfield 01104. Robert McCoy, 152 Westford Circle, Springfield 01109. (Nonprofit) To provide support and services to 12 and under girls’ basketball teams, etc.

WESTFIELD

Greater Westfield & Western Hampden County Medical Reserve Corps. Inc., 577 Western Ave., Westfield 01086. Edward Mello, Jr., 58 Vadnais St., Westfield 01085. (Nonprofit) To supply manpower on a voluntary basis to local communities, hospitals and municipalities in time of disasters, etc.

WESTHAMPTON

Robert H. Dunn, Jr. Construction Services Inc., 43 Burt Road, Westhampton 01027. Lynn M. Dunn, same. Construction services.

WEST SPRINGFIELD

Grand Central Vac Inc., 745 Memorial Dr., West Springfield 01089. Daniel J. Desnoyers, 16 Ryan Dr., West Springfield 01089. Central vacuum systems.

J & M Gasoline Inc., 1130 Riverdale St., West Springfield 01089. Jack Azar, 2 Drybridge Road, Medway 02053. Ownership and operation of a gas station.

Massachusetts Skill Game Inc., 1434A Memorial Ave., West Springfield 01089. Carlo A. Sarno, same. Coin operated amusement devices and games of skill.

WILBRAHAM

Manny’s Holding Company Inc., 1872 Boston Road, Wilbraham 01095. Emanuel Rovithis, 21 McIntosh Dr., Wilbraham 01095. To hold stock for various companies.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — The Girls Inc. of Holyoke annual Western MA Business Leaders Reception, slated for today, Oct. 4, offers corporate leaders the chance to interact with the girls they support. Girls will display projects that they are working on, engage with supporters, and show what they have learned. Speakers will include Girls Inc. girls, parents, staff, and corporate supporters. The event will take place from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Mill 1 at Open Square in Holyoke.

Corporate investment in the Girls Inc. experience equips girls to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers, and prepare for college and professional careers once unimagined. As part of a national network of 85 Girls Inc. affiliates across the U.S. and Canada, Girls Inc. of Holyoke advocates for all girls, and serves girls from low-income communities in Holyoke, Springfield, Chicopee, and beyond.

For more information, contact Sarah Etelman, Development manager, at [email protected] or (413) 532-6247, ext. 104.

Daily News

HOLYOKE —“Speaking Out: For Women and Girls,” an event presented by Girls Inc. of Holyoke, takes the newly energized national conversation about women’s rights and brings it to the local level. The event, to be held at the Delaney House on Thursday, May 10 from 5 to 7 p.m., occurs during Girls Inc. Week, during which 82 Girls Inc. affiliates across the nation spotlight both the progress and challenges in the lives of girls.

Local authors Martha Ackmann, Lesléa Newman and Rachel Simmons will lead the night’s conversation, sharing insights from their work on issues such as gender equality, sexual orientation, leadership, and the glass ceiling.

Martha Ackmann is the author of The Mercury 13: The True Story of 13 Women and the Dream of Space Flight, soon to be an Amazon miniseries, and Curveball: The Remarkable Story of Toni Stone, First Woman to Play Professional Baseball in the Negro League, which has been adapted for the New York stage with Orange Is the New Black star Uzo Aduba.

Lesléa Newman is the author of 70 books for all ages, including A Letter to Harvey Milk and October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard, plus the groundbreaking children’s book Heather Has Two Mommies. She is also the recipient of the Massachusetts Book Award.

Rachel Simmons is the author of The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Girls with Courage and Confidence and Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls. She is currently the leadership development specialist at the Wurtele Center for Leadership at Smith College.

The conversation between these three women authors will be hosted by Janine Fondon, president and CEO of UnityFirst, a national distributor of diversity-related e-news to corporations and diverse communities. She is also the chair of the undergraduate Communications Department at Bay Path University.

The event’s honorary chair is Eileen Fisher, a fashion retailer, philanthropist, and longtime supporter of Girls Inc. She will be represented that night by a member of the company. Debra Vega is the event’s benefit chair. She teaches dance at Mount Holyoke College and Williston Northampton School, and serves on the board of Girls Inc. of Holyoke. She is also the wife of state Rep. Aaron Vega, another advocate for Girls Inc.

The event begins with a cocktail hour, and the authors’ books will be on sale, courtesy of the Odyssey Bookshop of South Hadley. Tickets are $100 each and can be purchased online at www.givegab.com/campaigns/SpeakingOut. All proceeds will benefit Girls Inc. of Holyoke.

Daily News

HOLYOKE —“Speaking Out: For Women and Girls,” an event presented by Girls Inc. of Holyoke, takes the newly energized national conversation about women’s rights and brings it to the local level. The event, to be held at the Delaney House on Thursday, May 10 from 5 to 7 p.m., occurs during Girls Inc. Week, during which 82 Girls Inc. affiliates across the nation spotlight both the progress and challenges in the lives of girls.

Local authors Martha Ackmann, Lesléa Newman and Rachel Simmons will lead the night’s conversation, sharing insights from their work on issues such as gender equality, sexual orientation, leadership, and the glass ceiling.

Martha Ackmann is the author of The Mercury 13: The True Story of 13 Women and the Dream of Space Flight, soon to be an Amazon miniseries, and Curveball: The Remarkable Story of Toni Stone, First Woman to Play Professional Baseball in the Negro League, which has been adapted for the New York stage with Orange Is the New Black star Uzo Aduba.

Lesléa Newman is the author of 70 books for all ages, including A Letter to Harvey Milk and October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard, plus the groundbreaking children’s book Heather Has Two Mommies. She is also the recipient of the Massachusetts Book Award.

Rachel Simmons is the author of The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Girls with Courage and Confidence and Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls. She is currently the leadership development specialist at the Wurtele Center for Leadership at Smith College.

The conversation between these three women authors will be hosted by Janine Fondon, president and CEO of UnityFirst, a national distributor of diversity-related e-news to corporations and diverse communities. She is also the chair of the undergraduate Communications Department at Bay Path University.

The event’s honorary chair is Eileen Fisher, a fashion retailer, philanthropist, and longtime supporter of Girls Inc. She will be represented that night by a member of the company. Debra Vega is the event’s benefit chair. She teaches dance at Mount Holyoke College and Williston Northampton School, and serves on the board of Girls Inc. of Holyoke. She is also the wife of state Rep. Aaron Vega, another advocate for Girls Inc.

The event begins with a cocktail hour, and the authors’ books will be on sale, courtesy of the Odyssey Bookshop of South Hadley. Tickets are $100 each and can be purchased online at www.givegab.com/campaigns/SpeakingOut. All proceeds will benefit Girls Inc. of Holyoke.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Girls Inc. of the Valley will host a milestone event to provide friends of Girls Inc. and local representatives with campaign fundraising updates for its new location. The event will take place on Tuesday, March 7 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at 480 Hampden St., Holyoke.

Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia, state Rep. Patricia Duffy, and Girls Inc. of the Valley campaign co-chairs will be present at the event to make remarks. The fundraising thermometer sign will be updated as Girls Inc. of the Valley is closing in on $5 million raised. PeoplesBank will be financing the project through a loan to Girls Inc. of the Valley, in addition to a tax-exempt bond from MassDevelopment. This campaign was launched in 2018 with a mission to expand the physical footprint of Girls Inc. of the Valley and establish a permanent headquarters in Holyoke, allowing the organization to serve a larger community.

“Throughout this journey, we have gained a great deal of visibility, and people have been able to learn about who we are, what we do, and why Girls Inc. is so important to this region,” said Suzanne Parker, executive director at Girls Inc. of the Valley. “It’s been a great opportunity to tell our story and get people involved.”

Daily News Education News

EASTHAMPTON — Matthew Sosik, president and CEO of bankESB, announced that the bank has pledged $30,000 over three years to Girls Inc. of the Valley.

The money will be used to help support the organization’s Her Future, Our Future campaign, a $5 million fundraising effort designed to help the organization better meet the needs of girls from under-resourced communities in Hampden County and beyond. Through this campaign Girls Inc. seeks to triple the number of elementary and teen girls served, reaching more than 1,000 girls annually. Efforts include renovating a new dynamic, state-of-the-art headquarters and program center in Holyoke, expanding geographic reach in public schools in Springfield, Chicopee, and beyond, and supporting their innovative Eureka! STEM program that prepares girls for college and career.

“This incredible gift from bankESB to support the Her Future, Our Future campaign shows their impactful commitment to community,” said Suzanne Parker, executive director at Girls Inc. of the Valley. “We are proud to have bankESB’s support as we aim to deliver our research-based, engaging programs to more youth across the Valley — and in our new headquarters.”

The donation was made as part of the bank’s charitable giving program, The Giving Tree, which reflects the roots the bank has in its communities, its commitment to making a real difference in the neighborhoods it serves, and the belief that everyone’s quality of life is enhanced when we work together to solve our communities’ biggest problems.

“Children are our future, and Girls Inc. of the Valley is helping to build that future for young girls with innovative, supportive, and life-changing programs that inspire them to be strong, smart, and bold,” said Sosik. “bankESB is pleased to do its part in supporting Girls Inc. and its efforts to provide a high-quality environment and programs that help elementary school-age and teenage girls unlock their full potential.”