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Building New Lives

More than two dozen students were recently recognized for completing a five-month ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) program for Puerto Rican evacuees at Holyoke Community College. The Puerto Rican New Arrivals Program started July 23 and concluded Dec. 20 with a recognition ceremony and feast at HCC’s Picknelly Adult and Family Education Center (PAFEC) in downtown Holyoke. The HCC division of Business and Community Services offered the free ESOL program specifically for residents of Puerto Rico who left the island after Hurricane Maria and relocated to Western Mass.

Maria Crespo Santos and Yamilette Gonzalez Caceres share a moment at the ceremony

Students, faculty, and staff from HCC’s Puerto Rican New Arrivals Program celebrate the completion of the program

Investing in Students

An “Introduction to Fire Science” elective class offered at Ware High School and taught by Ware Fire Department Deputy Chief Edward Wloch — one example of project-based learning at the high school — led to an opportunity to take an EMT-B class at the Holyoke Community College satellite located at the Education to Employment (E2E) site in Ware. Students who finished the high-school elective are now exploring careers in fire science and emergency medicine. Area business partners included Baystate Wing Hospital Corp., which provided a matching grant of $640 that covered half the tuition and textbooks for the EMT course. From left: Michael Moran, president of Baystate Mary Lane and Baystate Wing Hospital; students Valentina Towne, Morgan Orszulak, and Joe Gagnon; Wloch; students Seth Bourdeau, Felicity Dineen, and Jordan Trzpit; and Ware Superintendent of Schools Marlene DiLeo.

From left: Michael Moran, president of Baystate Mary Lane and Baystate Wing Hospital; students Valentina Towne, Morgan Orszulak, and Joe Gagnon; Wloch; students Seth Bourdeau, Felicity Dineen, and Jordan Trzpit; and Ware Superintendent of Schools Marlene DiLeo.

From left: Michael Moran, president of Baystate Mary Lane and Baystate Wing Hospital; students Valentina Towne, Morgan Orszulak, and Joe Gagnon; Wloch; students Seth Bourdeau, Felicity Dineen, and Jordan Trzpit; and Ware Superintendent of Schools Marlene DiLeo.

Another Act of Advocacy


The Advocacy Network, a local organization with a mission to promote and protect the health, human rights, and safety of people with developmental disabilities, recently donated $17,000 to Whole Children. The donation was one of the last acts of the group, which announced it is dissolving after more than 60 years of work. “We’re very pleased to support the programs and staff of Whole Children. We know we found the right place,” said Advocacy Network board member Ed Orzechowski. Whole Children was started in 2004 by a group of parents looking for after-school programs for their children with intellectual disabilities or autism. It joined with Springfield-based Pathlight in 2010 and has expanded to serve some 600 adults, teens, and children each year in a variety of recreation, performing-arts, and enrichment programs.

Launching a New Brand


Consolidated Health Plans (CHP), a Springfield-based accident- and health-insurance Berkshire Hathaway company, recently announced the launch of a new brand name and brand identity for three organizations: Consolidated Health Plans, Commercial Casualty Insurance Co., and Atlanta International Insurance Co. The organizations will be branded under the marketing name of Wellfleet, and the company names are changing to Wellfleet Group, Wellfleet Insurance Co., and Wellfleet New York Insurance Co., respectively.
Consolidated Health Plans President and CEO, Drew DiGiorgio, right, with company founder Kevin Saremi at CHP’s recent 25th anniversary celebration at the Basketball Hall of Fame. At left: from left, CHP employees Maureen Brunelle, Karen O’Connor, Susan Daley, and Amanda Noel.

Consolidated Health Plans President and CEO, Drew DiGiorgio, right, with company founder Kevin Saremi at CHP’s recent 25th anniversary celebration at the Basketball Hall of Fame. At left: from left, CHP employees Maureen Brunelle, Karen O’Connor, Susan Daley, and Amanda Noel.

Picture This

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A photo essay of recent business events in Western Massachusetts

Business Exchange

The Greater Northampton, Greater Easthampton and Amherst Area chambers of commerce recently came together for their annual Business Exchange at Lord Jeffery Inn. More than 225 business leaders from across the Pioneer Valley enjoyed music, tastings, and networking bingo. The event was sponsored by Duseau Trucking, Five College Realtors, and Kuhn Riddle Architects. Pictured below: from left, John Howland, President, Greenfield Savings Bank (far left) and his wife Phelicia (far right) with Regina Curtis of the Greenfield Community College Foundation. Bottom: Youssef Fadel of New England Promotional Marketing (left) and Jessye Deane of F45 Training of Hampshire Meadows & Community Action.

 

Pain into Purpose

The Springfield College Office of Multicultural Affairs recently presented Leon Ford, a community leader, social activist, and survivor of police brutality. Ford, author of Untold, shared his personal story about police brutality, racial profiling, discriminatory practices, victimization, and how he has used his experience as a tool to positively impact society. In 2012, Ford, then 19, was shot five times by a Pittsburgh police officer during a routine traffic stop, leaving paralyzed. Since that time, Ford has told his story all over the country, including delivering a TEDx Talk, “Turning Pain into Purpose,” about his experiences. Pictured: Ford (right) with Calvin Hill, Springfield College’s vice president for Inclusion and Community Engagement.

 

Engaging Efforts

Greater Springfield Senior Services recently awarded $5,000 Let’s Re-engAGE grants to three organizations — Glenmeadow Retirement Community of Longmeadow, Valley Eye Radio Inc. of Springfield, and the Indian Orchard Branch of the Springfield library — for projects designed to reach out to isolated senior citizens and engage the community in the effort. Pictured at below: from left, Valley Eye Radio Executive Director Barbara Loh and board members John Ptaszek and Ellen Berry. At bottom: from left, Stephen Crane, Longmeadow town manager;  the Rev. Pam McGrath, First Church of Christ, Longmeadow; Anne Thomas, president and CEO, Glenmeadow Retirement Community; and Erin Koebler, Community Outreach coordinator, Longmeadow Council on Aging.

 

Celebrating in Style

Mercedes Benz of Springfield celebrated its first year in business recently by throwing a party for customers, employees, and partners in the dealership’s many initiatives within the community. Donations were suggested to support Square One and the Springfield Symphony Youth Orchestra. Below, Peter and Michelle Wirth, co-owners of the dealership, with their children: Alexander, Christian, Benjamin, and Charlotte. Middle, magician Peter James entertains two young children. Bottom, there were Mercedes models for people of all ages.

 

Picture This

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A photo essay of recent business events in Western Massachusetts November 2018

AIC Unveils Colaccino Center

American International College (AIC) celebrated the grand opening of the new Colaccino Center for Health Sciences

American International College (AIC) celebrated the grand opening of the new Colaccino Center for Health Sciences on Oct. 24. Located at 1020 State St., the center offers spacious classrooms and hands-on labs in exercise science, nursing, physical therapy, public health, and occupational therapy. The 20,000-square-foot facility includes simulation, rehabilitation, and human-performance laboratories, as well as smart classrooms, study areas, faculty offices, and conference space. Athletic training programs will be introduced beginning in 2021. Pictured at top: cutting the ribbon are, from left, state Sen. James Welch, state Rep. Thomas Petrolati; Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, AIC President Vince Maniaci, AIC board of trustees chair Frank Colaccino, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, AIC School of Health Sciences interim Dean Karen Rousseau, state Sen. Eric Lesser, and Springfield City Council President Orlando Ramos

Critical Links

Thanks to Big Y, Link to Libraries has recently made significant donations of books in the Berkshires. Pictured top: from left, Denise Dubreuil and Mike Messer of Big Y in Pittsfield; Laurie Flynn, president and CEO of Link to Libraries; and representatives from Silvio Conte Community School, Morningside Community School, and Crosby Elementary School in Pittsfield. Bottom: from left, Carolyn Wallace, principal of Brayton Elementary School in North Adams; Flynn; Becky Prenguber of Big Y in North Adams; Barbara Malkas, superintendent of North Adams Public Schools; and representatives from Brayton Elementary School, Greylock Elementary School, and Colegrove Park Elementary School in North Adams.

Super 60

On Oct. 26, the Springfield Regional Chamber’s Super 60 gala celebrated 60 area companies for their success in one of two categories — total revenue and revenue growth — and the wide range of honorees brought into focus the breadth and depth of the region’s business community. Lelaneia Dubay, founder of Hartford Flavor Co., distiller of Wild Moon liqueurs, was the keynote speaker for this year’s event at Chez Josef in Agawam. Pictured above: Dubay with representatives from presenting sponsor Health New England, from left, Brendaliz Torres, Maura Girouard, Tim Chrystal, Sandra Ruiz, Keith Jones, Peggy Garand, Eric Harlow, Christine Wershoven, Mike Wolnecki (Webber & Grinnell), Ashley Allen, and Glenda DeBarge. (Michael Epaul Photography)

HCC Opens Center for Life Sciences

Holyoke Community College (HCC) marked the official opening of its new Center for Life Sciences on Oct. 24 with a ribbon-cutting celebration featuring lab demonstrations and tours of the 13,000-square-foot, $4.55 million, state-of-the-art facility. The center, which opened for classes in September, features a suite of new science labs and classrooms and the only ISO-certified cleanroom at any community college in Massachusetts. Pictured at top: HCC president Christina Royal and state Secretary of Education Jim Peyser cut the ceremonial ribbon. Also pictured, from left to right, are state Rep. Angelo Puppolo; state Rep. Aaron Vega; Martha Waldron, vice president of Marketing & Communications for the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center; U.S. Rep. Richard Neal; Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse; and several HCC students. Bottom: HCC Biology Professor James Knapp gives a microbiology demonstration to students and visitors during the grand opening celebration.

Changing Lives

Asnuntuck Community College’s November episode of Changing Lives focuses on recent growth at the college

Asnuntuck Community College’s November episode of Changing Lives focuses on recent growth at the college. James Lombella (left), president of Asnuntuck and Tunxis Community Colleges, hosted the show. His guests were Tim St. James, interim dean of Student Services, and Jennifer Brown, director of Workforce Development and Non-credit Programs. Produced by volunteers, the Changing Lives program airs on PATV 15 on Thursdays at 8 p.m. and Fridays at 11 a.m. (Photo by Ben Durant)

Picture This

A Pictorial Essay

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Continuing the Fight

The 25th Rays of Hope Walk & Run Toward the Cure of Breast Cancer drew about 25,000 people to Forest Park in Springfield on Oct. 21 to raise money and awareness for the fight against breast cancer, as well as supporting survivors and remembering loved ones they’ve lost. The program, launched in 1994 by Lucy Giuggio Carvalho has raised almost $15 million over its history for research, treatment, equipment, breast-health programs, outreach, and education — all of it local — as well as providing grants to various community programs throughout Western Mass.

‘Pink Day’

LUSO Federal Credit Union in Ludlow and Wilbraham celebrated a “Pink Day” recently to raise awareness for breast cancer. The local, nonprofit community credit union is raising money to benefit Rays of Hope and the Pink W.A.Y. through calendar raffles for the months of November and December. Suggested donation is $10 (for one) or $15 (for two). To learn more, visit www.lusofederal.com.

Bowl-a-thon Donation

Joe Phillips, right, president of Phillips Insurance Agency Inc., presents a $5,000 check to John Freedman, president of Joseph Freedman Company, for the seventh annual Joseph Freedman Bowl-a-thon being held Nov. 7 at AMF lanes in Chicopee. The proceeds go to Camphill Village, a community for adults with developmental disabilities who live together and work together caring for each other.

Getting College Experience

Brian Candido, professor and program chair for Springfield Technical Community College’s Computer Information Technologies program, leads a class involving students from Springfield’s Commerce High School. The college welcomed more than 40 students from Commerce this fall as part of a program, created in collaboration with the Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership, to enable high-school students to take college-level classes. Students attending STCC can choose between courses in mobile app programming, computer basics, and airbrushing techniques.