Women’s Leadership Conference to Be Held in Person in 2022
LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University will host its 25th Women’s Leadership Conference (WLC) in person at the MassMutual Center in Springfield on Friday, April 1, 2022. The decision comes nine months after the March 2020 event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The annual conference brings more than 2,000 attendees to downtown Springfield for a day of speakers and workshop sessions devoted to professional development and personal goals. After weighing several options for hosting the annual conference, the university decided to forgo a 2021 event and wait until the event could take place in person. With an extended timeline, social media and digital forums will serve as virtual hubs to generate conversations and share thoughts and information that will carry over to the WLC. More information on speakers and schedules is forthcoming and will be posted at baypathconference.com.
Freedom Credit Union to Match Donations to Pioneer Valley USO
SPRINGFIELD — Throughout the month of December, Freedom Credit Union will partner with its members and the local community to raise funds to benefit the Pioneer Valley USO. Freedom will match total donations made through Dec. 31 up to $2,500. The mission of the USO (United Service Organizations) is to strengthen America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home, and country throughout their service to our country. The Pioneer Valley USO, located at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee, provides more than 102,000 pounds of food to more than 3,200 individuals annually through the Emergency Food Pantry, supports more than 600 families annually with holiday food baskets for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and sends more than 500 care packages to deployed military men and women around the world. Funded entirely by private donations, sponsorships, and grants, it supports both Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee and Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield. Donations can be made to Freedom’s matching drive online at bit.ly/393WCzo.
STCC Creates Affordable Transfer Agreements with Post University
SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) partnered this fall with Post University in Waterbury, Conn. to offer seamless transfer pathways in six programs. Students in the following STCC associate-degree programs have an opportunity to transfer to Post University and pursue a bachelor’s degree: applied psychology, business transfer, communication and digital media, criminal justice transfer, early childhood education transfer, and human services/social work. Post University offers classes online but also has a 58-acre main campus that includes six student residence halls, an admissions building, a library, a fitness center, and a multi-purpose sports facility. The main campus classes for spring 2021 will be online in response to risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. STCC is also planning online classes this spring with a mix of low-density, in-person labs for health and manufacturing programs. STCC and Post University signed the agreements in September. STCC offers dozens of pathways for transferring to a four-year college or university. Students who take advantage of the transfer pathways can see significant financial savings, said Matt Gravel, dean of Academic Initiatives at STCC.
Comcast Supports MHA Programming, Families of Staff
SPRINGFIELD — Comcast recently awarded a $5,000 grant to MHA, which includes $2,000 to fund the purchase of school supplies for children of MHA staff dealing with hybrid and remote learning models as a result of the pandemic. Supplies for the children include face masks, hand sanitizer, pencils, pencil sharpeners, notebooks, erasers, and pocket folders. The remaining $3,000 will underwrite a Room to Recover at MHA’s Safe Haven program for a year. Safe Haven offers transitional housing support to people served by the Department of Mental Health who are experiencing chronic homelessness, including those in recovery. Since a large proportion of the staff have school-aged children, and with so many schools either remote or hybrid, providing these supplies helps ensure that kids are prepared for school, said Kimberley Lee, vice president, Resource Development & Branding for MHA.
Holyoke Medical Center Earns Leapfrog Top Hospital Award
HOLYOKE — Highlighting its nationally recognized achievements in patient safety and quality, Holyoke Medical Center was named a Top General Hospital nationally by the Leapfrog Group, a national watchdog organization of employers and other purchasers widely acknowledged as the toughest standard setters for healthcare safety and quality. More than 2,200 hospitals were considered for the award. Among those, Holyoke Medical Center received a Top General distinction. A total of 105 hospitals were selected as Top Hospitals, including nine Top Children’s Hospitals, 29 Top General Hospitals, 19 Top Rural Hospitals, and 48 Top Teaching Hospitals. The quality of patient care across many areas of hospital performance is considered in establishing the qualifications for the award, including infection rates, practices for safer surgery, maternity care, and the hospital’s capacity to prevent medication errors. Holyoke Medical Center also received the Top General Hospital recognition from the Leapfrog Group in 2014 and 2016.
Six Flags New England Sends Holiday Thrills to Square One
SPRINGFIELD — Six Flags New England will donate more than 200 toys valued at more than $1,000 to Square One’s children. “Six Flags New England is honored to support Square One this holiday season,” said Jennifer McGrath, the park’s Communications manager. “Now more than ever, we need to rally as a community and support causes and families here in Western Massachusetts and beyond.”
Girls Inc. of the Valley Receives Grant from Rotary Club
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.
EforAll and EparaTodos Holyoke Looking for Volunteer Mentors
HOLYOKE — EforAll and EparaTodos Holyoke are actively seeking volunteers to participate as mentors in this winter’s business-accelerator program. Accelerator mentors come from a variety of backgrounds and use their business and leadership experience to guide new entrepreneurs through the process of turning their idea into a growing business. Mentors work in teams of three and are matched with an entrepreneur based on schedule availability and the desire to work together. The team meets as a group to help reaffirm topics and themes raised during classes, while also strategizing with the entrepreneur on how to reach their specific goals during the program. This is a high-touch, year-long commitment, and everything is virtual. Mentor teams have 90-minute meetings for three months and then meet once a month for the following nine months. Anyone who is looking for an interactive and meaningful volunteer opportunity and is interested in learning more about EforAll should e-mail [email protected].
Local College Students Compete in Online Grinspoon Pitch Contest
AGAWAM — The Grinspoon Entrepreneurship Initiative’s first online, fully remote regional pitch competition took place on Nov. 17. Twenty-one students from area colleges delivered 60-second pitches to an audience of their peers in Zoom breakout rooms. After a popular vote, four finalists were selected to receive $50 each. Next came the final competition. Winning the grand prize and a total of $150 was Jenny Jung, a junior at Amherst College. Her idea is PressBeta, a beta-testing platform for independent game developers to be connected to beta testers for $59 per month. Passionate gamers can test out interesting, pre-launch games and give feedback in exchange for limited, early access.
Bradley Recognized by Condé Nast Traveler Readers as Eighth-best U.S. Airport
WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. — The Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA) announced that t released the results of its annual Readers’ Choice Awards, with Bradley International Airport recognized as the eighth-best airport in the U.S. The awards are the longest-running and most prestigious recognition of excellence in the travel industry. Bradley International Airport was recognized as a top-10 airport for the fourth consecutive year. “This award is a tremendous honor during a challenging year for the travel industry, and we are proud to once again be recognized among our nation’s best airports,” said Kevin Dillon, executive director of the Connecticut Airport Authority. “We thank the travel community for their continued vote of confidence in Bradley International Airport and for underscoring the value of traveling through a smaller airport. Now more than ever, Bradley Airport stands out by always offering a clean, safe, and convenient travel experience.”