Save the Date-10/15/15-HRU Annual Employer Recognition and Fundraiser Breakfast Event

Please Save the Date, Thursday, October 15, 2015 for HRU’s 2015 Annual Employer Recognition and Fundraiser Breakfast Event from 7:45-9:00 a.m. at Springfield Country Club. Formal invitations will be sent out soon.





Are you an External Customer or Employer Partner? Please Take Our Survey…

HRU collects feedback from all of our customers annually so we can continually improve our services. Please take a moment to take our External Customer or Employer Partner Survey…Please select a survey:

2015 Employer: If you are a current Employer Partner, please click on the link to take our Employer Partner Survey. Click here to take survey

2015 External Customer: If you are a family member, service coordinator, case manager or provider, please click on the link to take our External Customer Survey. Click here to take survey

Thank you for taking the time to take our survey.  We value your input!

Local Springfield representative visits Lighthouse Clubhouse

Rep. Puppolo Lighthouse Visit 2 Rep. Puppolo Lighthouse Visit 9

Rep Angelo Puppolo visits Lighthouse.


Tradewinds to host Open House

Join us on Wednesday, July 8, 2015 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM to celebrate this festive time of year and learn more about Tradewinds and the Clubhouse Model!

Enjoy light appetizers and take a chance to win raffle prizes so we can show you our appreciation for all your ongoing support! For more Details click link below.

Tradewinds Open House


HRU at the Massachusetts Clubhouse Coalition.

Forum House and YMCA

Forum House w Rep Humason MCC 2015 DFP27180

 Left to right: Sen. Don Humason, Michael Forest, Sue Smith, Bruce Loubert (YMCA), Brenda Wilson, Rita Manning, Alex Katchedorea (YMCA), and Rep John Velis.


Tradewinds House

Tradewinds 2015 photo MCC Employ event DFP27117


Odyssey House

Odyssey 2015 Employ event photo DFP27021

Under construction: Human Resources Unlimited readies $2.6 million center in Springfield

By Jim Kinney | The Republican March 04, 2015 at 5:15 PM, updated March 05, 2015 at 1:49 PM

SPRINGFIELD – Human Resources Unlimited Pyramid Project began in 1982 with three people on the campus of American International College.

Now, the project is readying a $2.6 million, 17,600-square foot building at 60 Brookdale Drive in East Springfield that will serve as a home for the project as well as for HRU’s headquarters and for its transportation program.

Donald Kozera, president and CEO of HRU, said the Pyramid program will take up about 14,000 square feet of the space. the rest will serve as space for offices, a day habitation program and HRU’s transportation service.

Pyramid is a service that provides therapeutic education and integrative therapy to those with developmental disabilities. More than half the members use wheelchairs to get around. Services include music and physical therapy, classroom training and the new facility will have a full gym so members can work on both their gross motor skills and their general physical fitness.

Full article continues here at

Berkshire Pathways news!

HRU’s Berkshire Pathways program members donated two large boxes of food, collected by members and staff, to the Ronald McDonald House in January for their food drive. It was presented to the manager Westly Brophy; one of our members  graduated from a TE position and has since become a permanent employee there.

Cat Who Survived Tornado Visits Pittsfield’s Berkshire Pathways







Full Story As Published by with slide show and video at

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
07:54PM / Monday, September 22, 2014

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The town of Brimfield was in chaos after a tornado had ripped through it in 2011. Paramedic Jonathan Hall was in the fire station the day after when a tree worker carried in a 6-day-old kitten that he found in a tree.

Somehow, the kitten had been sucked into the winds and deposited in the tree unharmed. Workers cleaning up the destruction found the kitty alone, grasping onto a tree limb. Hall and his fellow paramedics and firefighters took care of the little cat until the Animal Rescue League of Boston took him in.
On Wednesday, the now 3-year-old cat, appropriately named Toto, found himself on a much safer journey — this time to Berkshire Pathways on Eagle Street to help raise money for the Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter.
“We couldn’t take care of him then, so we gave him to the animal shelter and then when we got our house together we were able to adopt him back,” Hall said. “I wrote a book about him and now it’s taken off. We’ve raised $49,000.”
Hall penned a children’s book of Toto’s journey into the tornado and expected the 200 copies he had printed to do nothing but take up space in his house. He wanted to sell the copies and donate the proceeds to the Animal Rescue League of Boston.
But the story had gotten out through the news and word of mouth, and his project grew exponentially.
“It’s been a fun project. … We wanted to do something to give back,” Hall said. “I don’t take a penny for the project.”
He started finding himself in libraries, schools, nursing homes and places like Berkshire Pathways nearly twice a week with Toto, telling the story and collecting donations for the local shelters. Brimfield’s Country Bank gave him a grant to print more books, boxes of which he brings to events.
Meanwhile, the books continue to sell for the Animal Rescue League of Boston.
And the “perfect media storm” followed. Toto has been featured in an array of cat magazines and on websites. A Japanese magazine even flew out a photographer to take photos of Toto for a story in the publication.
Berkshire Pathways Program Coordinator Donna Sorensen heard the story, too, and started following Toto on Facebook.
“I’ve been a Toto follower since he showed up on Facebook,” she said.
When she saw he was making an appearance at the annual Emergency Medical Services Committee of Berkshire County, she got a chance to meet Toto and Hall. Sorensen wanted the rest of the Berkshire Pathways “clubhouse” to meet the two, and Hall was willing to arrange it.
The members of Berkshire Pathways volunteer at the Sonsini Animal Shelter so it was a “natural thing” for them to have Wednesday’s meeting be a shelter fundraiser. And the members showed their support with a box full of donations and a jar full of cash for Sonsini.1_IMG_9768
Jonathan Hall wrote a book of Toto’s adventure and is using it to raise money for animal shelters
 “It just seemed like a natural thing. We have been working with them. We volunteer there with our members,” Sorensen said.
Berkshire Pathways is a nonprofit funded through the Department of Mental Health; its focus is on helping those with mental health issues learn vocational skills and then get jobs in the community.
But, unlike other similar programs in the county, they use a “clubhouse” model.
“The core mission of the clubhouse is to be a place to belong,” said Senior Employment Coordinator Francine Mead. “Just because they have a mental illness doesn’t mean they don’t do anything.”
The model stems from the 1940s when a group of people with mental illnesses lived in an apartment together. They handled all of the bills, shopping, cleaning, etc., and it proved to be helpful to those who lived there. The model has since been developed and replicated across the country to help those with mental illness.
Berkshire Pathways opened last year and has 130 total members, 88 of which are considered active. They have jobs within the clubhouse, whether it is cooking or working on the finances or administrative duties, and each task teaches job skills.
The members manage the clubhouse and organize events such as apple picking trips or group dinners or holding fundraisers like Wednesday’s event with Toto.
“Every unit has a purpose to teach a new skill,” Mead said, using an example of a new member who had an interest in finances, so they have him working on budgets and billing.
While there are some paid staff members, Mead said employees don’t have any extra authority unless there is a safety issue. Their votes on an issue count the same as the members.
“Members and staff work side by side,” she said.
Berkshire Pathways is a branch of Human Resources Unlimited.


New Fundraising Raffle for Forum House

FH fundraiser


With prizes ranging from gift certificates and dance lessons to a men’s Diamond Back bike, Forum House is conducting its first ever Calendar Raffle. Forum House, a program of Human Resources Unlimited of Springfield, is a not-for-profit, clubhouse model mental health facility. It is located at 55 Broad Street in Westfield, and its mission is to help its members forward their education and find meaningful employment.

New funding rules established last year by the State’s Department of Mental Health have placed an added burden on Forum House and many similar facilities across the state. “We strive to offer the highest quality of vocational rehabilitation services, but the new rules and increases in the population served present a real challenge”, says Barbara Moulton, the facility’s Acting Program Manager. “Keep in mind that funding levels haven’t materially changed in over fifteen years”, adds Jeff Lander, Coordinator of the facility’s advisor group known as Friends of Forum House. “Our objective with this campaign is to help Forum House to help itself.” The purpose of the raffle will be to raise funds for the purchase of maintenance equipment.   Owning a snow blower, for example, would enable Forum House to reduce the cost of contract snow removal.

“At these prices, everyone can participate”, says Vanessa Mathieu, Intake Coordinator. Raffle ticket prices are $5 for 1, $10 for 3 and $20 for 7.   One ticket will be drawn for each day in November. Daily prizes are valued at over $50. Winners will be notified and instructed on how to collect their daily prize. All tickets, including previous daily prize winners, will be eligible for the November 30th grand prize drawing. The grand prize is valued at over $900.

“We hope this will become a yearly event”, says Sue Smith, Senior Employment Coordinator for Forum House. To purchase tickets or for more information, call Alison at 562-5293. Last year, Forum House served over 300 adults in the greater Westfield area. It has over 1000 lifetime members.

Pyramid Project Car Show