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 Cart Show


Senator Moore and Tradewinds Honor Local Employer

BOSTON – During the annual Massachusetts Clubhouse Coalition (MCC) Employment Celebration at the State House, Sen. Richard T. Moore, D-Uxbridge, recognized a local employer for their contribution to the employment success of Massachusetts residents with mental illness. Flanked by staff and members of Tradewinds Clubhouse of Southbridge, Moore presented awards and Senate citations to The Salvation Army.

“The work Tradewinds and every Clubhouse program across the Commonwealth, is integral in meeting the needs of individuals recovering from mental illness,” stated Moore. “Part of that recovery is becoming a productive and contributing member of society. Through their employment programs, The Salvation Army has provided Clubhouse members with this important step in recovery while simultaneously filling their own employment needs.”

Employment Celebration 2014

Sen. Richard T. Moore joins Tradewinds Clubhouse at the annual Massachusetts Clubhouse Coalition (MCC) Employment Celebration at the State House. Pictured here, from left to right, are: Winnie Siano, Senior Employment Coordinator at Tradewinds; Emily Mew, Western Massachusetts Field Representative for The Salvation Army; Brittany Walker, Program Manager at Tradewinds; Wil Leslie, Service Extension Director for The Salvation Army; Tom Vantre, Member of Tradewinds Clubhouse and Salvation Army Bell Ringer; and Sen. Moore.


First Annual Mental Health Resource and Educational Fair at Cooley Dickinson Hospital

Star Light Center will be participating in the First Annual Mental Health Resource and Educational Fair at Cooley Dickinson Hospital on Saturday, May 3rd from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Please stop by our table to learn more about HRU’s mental health programs and services!

Mardi Gras at Star Light Center

Star Light Center celebrated Mardi Gras on Fat Tuesday last week and held a Mardi Gras themed party during lunch hour. The Mardi Gras queen rode around on a decorated float and gave out candy and bead necklaces while we listened to Jazz music. Lunch was chicken gumbo and bread pudding. Can you guess who the Mardi Gras queen was…?

SL fat tuesday

A Holiday Donation!

During the Holiday season, the Lighthouse members and staff realize the importance of giving. For the 2nd straight year, Lighthouse members and staff have donated toys, coloring books, puzzles, games, gift cards, and other items to the Shriner’s Hospital. The gift drive, led by member Shaunelle Smith, was started to help the children at Shriner’s have a memorable holiday season. The first year, the Lighthouse gathered a full box of toys and delivered them by hand. Shaunelle, Coco as she is known at the club, posed for a picture with the donations that is proudly displayed in the Outreach Unit. This year, 2 boxes of toys were collected and again Coco led the efforts, encouraging everyone at the Lighthouse to participate. The donations were received with great enthusiasm by the Shriner’s staff and Coco felt great about the entire club’s efforts. When asked why this is important for Coco to do, she stated “to make the children feel happy. My brother is part of Shriner’s and I always wanted him and the others to be happy and that they have what they need.” Coco’s generosity is greatly valued and her willingness to help others is infectious. We are so proud to be a part of this and to have a member taking the lead in such an important activity.

HRU Opens New Office in Connecticut

HRU’s Workforce Alternatives program began providing services in Connecticut on December 1, 2013.  We are working with the Department of Rehabilitation Services/Bureau of Rehabilitation Services in the Northern Region and are contracted to provide assessments, education and training, job placement and employment supports to individuals with disabilities. Our new office is located at 641 Farmington Ave., 3rd Floor, Hartford, CT.  Over the past month we’ve been meeting with members to assist them in reaching their employment goals.  We have also been meeting with employers and community leaders to develop new partnerships.  We are excited to be expanding our programs to Connecticut and look forward to providing services in this area.

Forum House Hosts Coffee with Mayor Knapik

Mayor Knapik


Monday, October 7, 2013

8 am to 9 am



                                             The Forum House
                                            55 Broad Street

westfield                     Westfield, MA 01085

  The Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce invites you to have coffee with Mayor Knapik in a very informal setting.  Please join us to hear first-hand from Mayor Knapik   about key issues and to get an update on construction projects. The mayor also welcomes any questions or concerns you may have.

The coffee hours are free, informative and open to the public, so come and join us!

To register please call Pam Bussell at the Chamber office 413.568.1618 or email her at gro.zibdleiftsewnull@ofni.

Odyssey: (n) a long and eventful journey.

Let us introduce ourselves.  We are Odyssey House, one of HRU’s newest clubhouse modeled Programs, located in Holyoke.  Since our opening on July first, we have been working very hard to develop our program and to establish ourselves in our community… It has truly been an odyssey.  Throughout the past two and a half months, we have spent a great deal of time working with our members to create a fun, exciting, work focused environment.  We have been focusing on the strengths, talents and abilities of our members, while sending a consistent message of “you can.” Our members have taken a lead role in the development of our different departments, our policies, and organizing our clubhouse space. This has been a very exciting time for all of us.

Over the next month, Odyssey House staff and members will be reaching out to our local community to promote our program and to get our name out there.  We have scheduled a number of businesses, agencies, and politicians to come in and tour Odyssey house this fall, including our Mayor, who will be visiting with us twice this month!  Also, our open house on October 11th is expected to be well attended.  Odyssey house colleagues are eagerly looking forward to continuing on our journey of providing high quality recovery based services in the greater Holyoke area.

Urban Gardening at Pyramid

Pyramid Project is constantly looking for ways to be a part of the community while promoting a company-widehealth and wellness initiative.  We researched a variety of ways to get involved in our community and to get healthy doing it, and urban gardening hit the spot!  Not only was it a way to get us involved in some serious skill-building, it was an amazing path to take in order to get connected to our community in a real way.

We began our urban gardening project by connecting with Christ Presbyterian Church, Springfield in March of 2012.  We exchanged ideas and before we knew it, we had a beautiful piece of land to use to activate our newly acquired organic living knowledge.  We learned how to cultivate the land through speaking to community organizers with farming expertise and during this process we reaped something memorable and worth-while!  Besides gaining some serious agricultural know-how, several of our folks became stronger health-wise: several individuals lost weight, improved their stamina, and worked on some of their individual goals while gaining an understanding of the benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables (free of harsh chemicals and pesticides!).

Pyramid Project, a program of Human Resources Unlimited, provides day habilitation services to individuals with developmental disabilities.  Our mission is to engage each member in an activity to increase their skill base while encouraging active engagement that is stimulating and enjoyable. Urban gardening, as stated previously, was a good way to address skill areas (according to individual needs’ assessments) such as gross and fine motor dexterity development, community orientation and mobility, competence in survival and interpersonal/social interaction while getting involved in the community in a meaningful way.

It was truly a success: so great was the overall betterment of our program, it became a no-brainer that we continue this venture into 2013.  Individuals participating continue to grow and experience a successful venture.