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Youth Summer Jobs Campaign Underway
SPRINGFIELD — The Regional Employment Board (REB) of Hampden County Inc., in conjunction with the FutureWorks and CareerPoint one-stop career centers, is seeking summer-employment opportunities for youth between the ages of 14 and 21. “The demand for youth summer-employment opportunities is great, with so many young people in search of a chance to work, learn, earn, and possibly be mentored,” said Joseph Peters, chair of the REB board of directors, in a letter to area businesses on the Youth Summer Jobs Campaign 2012. There are three ways employers can help: hire a youth, donate money, or become a work site. All youths receive 10 hours of work-readiness skills training before employment. “Youths are referred to you, and you make the final selection,” noted Peters. Also, a minimum donation of $150 is welcome from organizations and businesses to help pay wages for one week for a youth working in a community-betterment project in a park, camp, or nonprofit agency. Peters added that businesses should consider being a work site, and the youth will be paid by the REB. “It’s another great way to cover for employee vacations,” he said. Last year, 205 employers were involved in putting more than 1,200 young people to work. “Your private dollars expand summer opportunities to youth who may not meet the eligibility requirements of government-funded summer-jobs programs, as well as to those with limited family income,” said Peters. For more information, call (413) 787-1547 or visit

Community-wellness Grant Projects Launched
HOLYOKE — Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz and Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse recently joined several state legislators to celebrate the expansion of the Mass. Department of Public Health’s (MDPH) Mass in Motion Municipal Wellness and Leadership Program. There are now 53 municipalities across the state that participate in the program. The Hampshire Council of Governments was awarded the Mass in Motion grant in October and will be partnering with the SPIFFY Coalition to implement efforts around healthy eating, nutrition, and physical activity. The Tobacco-free Living Initiative will be the work of the Tobacco Free Community Partnership, a Hampshire Council of Governments’ program. Targeted communities for this grant are Amherst, Belchertown, Northampton, and Williamsburg. The expansion, funded by a Community Transformation Grant awarded to MDPH by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, adds Holyoke and communities from Franklin and Berkshire counties to the current Mass in Motion communities in Western Mass., which include Springfield, Lee, Lenox, and Stockbridge. Through unique partnerships and cross-department collaboration, communities will work to develop and implement prevention-based policies, systems, and strategies to encourage healthy eating and active living to help reduce obesity and promote tobacco-free living. Collectively, these initiatives will work with local schools to improve walkability and bikeability to area schools; establish community-design standards to make streets safe for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and users of public transit; improve the nutritional quality of foods and beverages served or available in schools; increase the accessibility, availability, affordability, and identification of healthful foods by working with local retailers to promote healthier food and beverage options; and adopt policies to increase the number of multi-unit properties that are smoke-free. For more information on participating in the project, call Todd Ford of the Hampshire Council of Governments at (413) 584-1300, ext. 121, or Sue Cairn of the Hampshire Education Collaborative at (413) 586-4998, ext. 114.

Service Group Funding Replacement of Trees
SPRINGFIELD — Service Group Inc., the primary Clean and Safe contractor for the Springfield Business Improvement District (SBID), will fund the replacement of 11 trees in the downtown area damaged by last June’s tornado. Service Group, based in Malvern, Pa., is offering the trees as a gift to thank the downtown Springfield property owners who fund the SBID. “We walked the tornado-damaged areas over the summer, and saw that the void left by the lack of trees was stunning,” said Service Group executive Nick Bendistis. “This gift is a pretty obvious way of giving back to a community that we care deeply about. We are an engaged partner in Springfield’s revitalization.” Eleven trees throughout the downtown that were either damaged or destroyed by the tornado have been selected for replacement. The first tree to be replaced is outside of Tower Square by the CVS entrance at 1500 Main St.

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