Agenda Departments


Freedom Credit Union Gift Drive for Needy Kids

Through Dec. 21: For the 10th year, Freedom Credit Union is partnering with the Department of Children and Families to provide gifts to children in need this holiday season. Every branch of the credit union has a tree filled with tags that show the gift request from area children. Anyone who goes into Freedom branches can choose a tag from the tree, purchase the requested gift, and bring it back to the branch unwrapped by Thursday, Dec. 21.

Santa’s Trains at Look Park

Through Dec. 24: All aboard! Next stop … Santa’s Trains at Look Memorial Park. This holiday season, the park is celebrating with running model trains and locomotives whirling by displays set in a whimsical wonderland of Christmas favorites and village landscapes. The Garden House, transformed into a Victorian-style train station, offers all the sights and sounds of the holiday season. View enchanting, themed holiday trees; say hello to Santa’s helpers; chat with authentic engineers; and share that special visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus before relaxing with a holiday cookie and hot chocolate. Each evening features a special guest conductor and station master from the community greeting visitors. Santa’s Trains at Look Park is open to the public daily through Dec. 23 from 4 to 8 p.m. and Dec. 24 from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Garden House at Look Memorial Park, 300 North Main St., Florence. This special holiday event is free for all ages. Visit for more information. Also, join us for a traditional hayride around the park to view more than 50 holiday light displays made by the grounds and maintenance staff. The cost is $5 per rider. Departures are every 20 minutes from 4:20 p.m. until 7:40 p.m., weather permitting. More than 20,000 visitors annually visit the park during the holiday season to visit Santa’s Trains, view the wonderland light displays, and share holiday dreams with Santa.

Strategic Alliances Webinar on ‘Impostor Syndrome’

Dec. 14: Strategic Alliances at Bay Path University will present a free online webinar, “Confident or Impostor?” on Thursday, Dec. 14 from noon to 1 p.m. Registration is strongly encouraged. For more information and to register, visit Research shows that 70% of the U.S. population has experienced ‘impostor syndrome’ at one time or another. Webinar participants will learn how to combat self-doubt and overcome the lack of confidence that results from impostor syndrome. The webinar will feature three panelists, Karen Hinds, Roxanne Kaufman Elliott, and Maureen Zappala, who will share their extensive knowledge and experience with leadership. Hinds is the founder and CEO of Workplace Success Group, an international firm that has been referred to as a training ground for future business leaders. She is also the author of The Leader’s Manual – A Young Adult’s Guide to the Global Workplace, Get Along, Get Ahead: 101 Courtesies for the New Workplace, and Networking for a Better Position & More Profit. She serves as a visiting professor for the Malcolm Baldrige School of Business at Post University; is a frequent guest on radio, TV, and podcasts, and is a former board member with the Connecticut chapter of the World Affairs Council. Elliott is a certified leadership development coach and facilitator with more than 30 years of business, strategy, and leadership-development experience across many different industries in both the profit and nonprofit worlds. She is an i3 Leadership Master and holds degrees from Sinclair College and Bowling Green State University, as well as numerous executive and leadership-development certifications from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, the American Marketing Assoc., the Leadership Challenge, RAC, LLM Inc., and others. Zappala is an award-winning speaker, author, and presentation-skills coach. She is the founder of High Altitude Strategies and helps propel teams and individuals to peak performance. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Notre Dame, and spent more than 13 years at NASA’s Lewis Research Center (now Glenn Research Center), conducting aircraft engine research. She became the youngest and first female manager of NASA’s Propulsion Systems Laboratory, a jet-aircraft-engine test facility. Strategic Alliances is recognized by SHRM to offer professional-development credits (PDCs) SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM. The webinar “Confident or Impostor?” is worth 1 PDC.

Boronski to Meet Business, Community Leaders

Dec. 18: Debra Boronski, regional director for the Massachusetts Office of Business Development (MOBD), will  hold office hours for business and community leaders on Monday, Dec. 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center office located in Building 101 of the STCC Technology Park, 1 Federal St., Springfield. Meetings will be held in the Peter Pan Room, located on the second floor. MOBD is the state’s one-stop source for businesses seeking to relocate to Massachusetts and businesses wishing to expand their current operations here. It offers a range of expertise and services to help businesses flourish in Massachusetts. Its staff operates in regions across the state, providing businesses with on-the-ground knowledge and viable connections. It works closely with the private and public sectors to coordinate a range of resources. Boronski oversees 117 cities and towns in Western Mass. and the Berkshires. Interested parties mail e-mail [email protected] or call (413) 733-5357 to reserve a time slot.

EMT Training, CNA Plus Programs at STCC

Starting Jan. 22: Springfield Technical Community College will again offer its popular Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Training Program, as well as the Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) Plus Program, both starting in January. The EMT program consists of about 171 hours of lectures, 15 to 20 hours of online instruction, an auto-extrication class, and an eight-hour clinical hospital emergency-room observation designed to prepare the student for the Massachusetts State Certification Examination. The program, based on the Department of Transportation curriculum for Basic Emergency Medical Technician, is approved by the Massachusetts Office of Emergency Medical Services. “The EMT program gives the student an excellent foundation in Basic Life Support skills and techniques and patient assessment,” said Paul Sheehan, director of the Workforce Development Center at STCC. “This program always fills up long before the start date, and applications are now being accepted. Daytime and evening classes start Jan. 22. Visit or call (413) 755-4225 to enroll. Meanwhile, the employment of CNAs is projected to grow by 19%, faster than average, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, which projects employers will add 279,600 CNA positions during the next decade. The CAN Plus Program at STCC is designed to provide participants with job skills that will allow entry into the healthcare field as well as preparation for the Massachusetts state board examination to become a certified nurse aide. Day classes, which start Jan. 22, will be held Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Students will receive clinical experience in a local nursing home under the supervision of registered nurse (RN) instructors. Major topics will include vital signs; moving and turning patients; personal-care basics; bed making; bed, bath, and feeding; record keeping; and responding to emergencies. This course will also include a Home Health Aide Training Certificate and an Enhanced Alzheimer’s Module. Students will attend a job fair scheduled at the conclusion of this program. Evening Classes for BASIC CNA start Jan. 28, and will be held Monday through Friday, 4-9:30 p.m. The Workforce Development Center at STCC offers a wide variety of entry-level health programs. Visit or call (413) 755-4225 to enroll.

EMT Training at HCC

Jan. 30 to April 28: Holyoke Community College is now enrolling students for its spring-term Emergency Medical Technician training program. The HCC EMT Training Program consists of 170-plus hours of in-class lectures and additional online study, training, field trips, and workshops that prepare students to take the state certification exam. The majority of the training takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays fom 6 to 10 p.m. at HCC’s new, state-of-the-art Center for Health Education, home to the college’s Nursing and Radiologic Technology programs. Last year, HCC received a $127,741 state Workforce Skills Capital Grant to purchase new equipment to enhance its EMT training program. The course uses equipment identical to that found in modern ambulances. The program makes extensive use of the medical simulation labs in HCC’s Center for Health Education. Some of the grant money was used to purchase a patient simulator specifically designed for EMT and paramedic training that hemorrages and can be hooked up to a defibrillator. The course is taught by instructor Mike Marafuga, an EMT with the Southwick Fire Department. For more information or to register, contact Ken White at (413) 552-2324 or [email protected].

Difference Makers

March 22: The 10th annual Difference Makers award program, staged by BusinessWest, will be held at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House. The winners will be announced and profiled in the Jan. 22 issue. Difference Makers is a program, launched in 2009, that recognizes groups and individuals that are, as the name suggests, making a difference in this region. Tickets to the event cost $75 per person, with tables of 10 available. To order, call (413) 781-8600, ext. 100 or visit Sponsors to date include Sunshine Village and Royal, P.C. Sponsorship opportunities are still available by calling (413) 781-8600, ext. 100.