HRU’s Odyssey House program hosts Legislative Breakfast on Monday, May 1, 2017.

HRU’s Odyssey House program located in Holyoke, MA hosted a Legislative Breakfast event on Monday, May 1st.  The event was co-sponsored by State Representative Aaron Vega, State Senator Donald Humason, State Representative John Velis and State Representative Jose Tosado.  The purpose of the event was to raise awareness of the vital services HRU clubhouse programs provide throughout our communities.  A clubhouse is a program that is accredited by Clubhouse International and is an employment and recovery center that offers people with mental health conditions hope and opportunities to achieve their full potential. Much more than simply a program or social service, a clubhouse provides its members with the opportunity to be a part of a successful working community that is restorative and builds dignity and self-esteem. During the course of participation in a clubhouse, members gain access to opportunities to connect with community, employment, education and friendships, and are enabled to take ownership

of their own recovery.  Human Resources Unlimited operates six accredited clubhouses in Springfield, Westfield, Holyoke, Northampton, Pittsfield and Southbridge, enabling hundreds of individuals to become productive members of their communities annually.

The event was attended by members of the community, program members, staff, volunteers families and friends of the organization.  Special guest speakers included

John Gullotti from Lighthouse and Terri Wight from Forum House who shared their personal success stories in working with HRU’s clubhouse programs.

To learn more about HRU programs and services or to find out about ways you can get involved, please contact Margaret Jordan, Director of Program Services, at 413-781-5359.

 

Tradewinds Volunteers for Beautify Southbridge Day!

Beautify Southbridge Day April 22nd 2017

Samantha Aikey and the crew from Tradewinds just finishing up in the Central Parking Lot area.

Clearing the path in mental health

Forum outlines obstacles to treatments and community support

By Jenn Smith, moc.elgaeerihskrebnull@htimsj

Posted Saturday, April 22, 2017 5:27 pm

PITTSFIELD — Parity law, wage and workforce gaps, and wait times were among the problems participants presented to state delegates during the recent annual Berkshire County Mental Health Legislative Forum.

Attended by some 60 mental health care professionals and human services recipients, it featured a listening panel of state officials, including Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli, Rep. Paul Mark, Sen. Adam Hinds and state Department of Mental Health Commissioner Joan Mikula.

After hearing about a dozen specific challenges in the field, Pignatelli asked the audience for some solutions, and they were able to respond with those ideas too: single-payer health care, group and online therapy options, more workforce training programs and loan forgiveness incentives for potential social workers and clinicians.

But when it comes to the bottom line, Joanne Rosier said that both legislators and service providers need to remember to put people’s needs first.

Rosier is a member of the Clubhouse program of Berkshire Pathways, which hosted the April 10 forum. The agency’s model of support is focused on helping people impacted by a mental illness prepare for, find and retain employment.

Poised and sincere in her address, she captured the room with her bright smile and the palette of cheerful spring colors in her attire. But by looking at her alone, it’s impossible to know that she’s also prone to bouts of depression and anxiety, which can sometimes make it difficult for her to focus or complete a task. These behaviors, however unintentional, have drawn her criticism from employers, teachers and even a former therapist. In her teens, when she first entered the workforce, one manager called her a “sorry excuse for a waitress” while another, a college math professor, once commented that, if she wasn’t understanding the work, “there’s something wrong” and a therapist told her, when she hit age 30, not to have any more kids than her two, and that she wouldn’t have a career.

“I grew up feeling insecure, inept and stupid,” said the woman, whose conditioned worsened to the point of being hospitalized.

“At one point, I was afraid to get another job, and I resigned myself to being too sick to work,” said Rosier.

“But things and people are not what they seem,” she said.

After finding support through Berkshire Pathways and learning new strategies, Rosier eventually returned to Berkshire Community College and became a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. She later partnered with a trainer who helped her find her current role and continues to support her work at The Colonial Theatre, just a few blocks away from the 199 South St. agency.

“I love, love, love my job,” she said, noting that she hasn’t been in a hospital for two years.

She said the program helps her “more than any doctor or prescription ever has … It’s helping me to live.”

Rosier is now doing her part to help others, including running a free clothing program for Clubhouse members who need a professional look for work or an interview. But she said she hopes to see others do their part, too, be it employers showing more tolerance and offering support for people with have mental health challenges, to good policies supported by state officials who were in the audience.

Other speakers included Dr. Eric Plakun, director of biopsychosocial advocacy for the Stockbridge-based Austen Riggs Center, who addressed the parity law as it provides for equitable mental health care coverage; Brien Center CEO Christine Macbeth discussing MassHealth reimbursement and workforce challenges in the region, and emcee Brenda Carpenter, executive director for National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Berkshire County.

“Your issues are our issues,” said DMH Commissioner Joan Mikula during her remarks. “We have a lot on our plate.”

 

Forum House to hold April Mayor’s Coffee hour

April Mayor’s Coffee Hour

Promoted by the Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce

Monday, April 3, 2017. 8-9 am

Forum House
55 Broad Street
Westfield 01085

 

**Parking behind Forum House building in parking lot off of Yale Street. Please use double door entrance on the right and proceed to Hospitality Room downstairs.

Coffee Hours are free and open to the public.

Please call Pam at the Chamber to register at 413.568.1618!

 

  **Coffee Hours are subject to change at the discretion of the Mayor.

All employees are Chamber members! Please forward this to a co-worker!

 

Thank You to everyone who helped to make this year’s Employer Recognition & Awards Breakfast a great success

We would like to thank everyone who helped to make this year’s event a great success.

Congratulations to all of our award winners:

2016 Employer of the Year: Specialty Bolt & Screw, Inc.

2016 Rookie Employer Award: Friendly’s of the Westfield Shops

2016 Armand Tourangeau Volunteer of the Year: Cheryl Rumley

HRU’s event sponsorship committee members:  Amy Royal, Royal P.C., Daniel Flynn, United Bank, Kate Campiti, BusinessWest, Chet Wojcik, Alliance Medical Gas and Taryn Siciliano, HUB International. We’d also like to thank our event sponsors:

Gold Sponsors:

Media Sponsors:

Silver Sponsors:

Table Sponsors:

  • All States Materials Group
  • Commonwealth Packaging Corporation
  • Ernst Financial Group
  • Hanover Insurance Group
  • MassMutual Financial Group
  • Tommy Car Auto Group

Contributing Sponsors:

  • Alliance Medical Gas
  • Associated Building Wreckers
  • BNY Mellon Wealth Management
  • Comcast
  • CRA Telecom
  • Freedom Credit Union
  • Parker Ceiling
  • PSI 91
  • Steve Erickson
  • TJD Consulting, Inc.
  • W. B. Mason
  • Whittlesey & Hadley, P.C.
  • Williams Distributing

Special thanks goes out to HRU’s event sponsorship committee members:  Amy Royal, Royal P.C., Daniel Flynn, United Bank, Kate Campiti, BusinessWest, Chet Wojcik, Alliance Medical Gas and Taryn Siciliano, HUB International and to all of our employer partners, friends, volunteers, members and staff for all of your support!

Berkshire Pathways featured on PCTV’s Berkshires to Beacon Hill

HRU’s Berkshire Pathways Program in Pittsfield, MA was featured on PCTV’s Berkshires to Beacon Hill .  Check out our Facebook page for the full article. See the show here, then scroll down to Berkshires to Beacon Hill.

 

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:

2016 Employer: If you are a current Employer Partner, please click on the link to take our Employer Partner Survey. Click here to take survey

2016 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!

Progress in Ending Homelessness Celebrated!

On Friday, March 4, 2016,  close to 200 people gathered at Holyoke Community College to mark the region’s progress in ending homelessness. Read more about it here.

Check Presentation at Forum House “Friends” Meeting

Glasgow Lands Check Presentation at Forum House “Friends” Meeting.  Please click on the link to read the full article… Forum House presentation

 

 

Lighthouse Celebrates 30 Years featuring Danielle Goodwin

To read Danielle’s Inspiring story at Pioneer Valley Financial Group follow the link below:

Danielle Goodwin