Community Engagement Meeting – December 5, 2011

In attendance:  Father Stan Aksamit, Our Lady of Peace Parish, Jane Banks, Center for Human Development, Sylvia deHaas-Phillips, United Way of Pioneer Valley, David Gadaire, CareerPoint, Andrew Morehouse, Food Bank of Western Mass., Jennica Petrik-Huff, interested citizen, Pamela Schwartz, network coordinator, Lynne Wallace, Dietz&Co. Architects

Debrief of LC meeting discussion:

Thanks to Dave and Andrew for facilitation and leadership.

Father Stan:  energy was good, engagement good.  Different levels of conversation.
Lynne:  good, broad list generated, some specific, some not.  Great brainstorm.
Andrew:  good broad discussion around how LC members can contribute,
Dave:  at times felt like herding cats, how to get thoughts down, 4 or 5 consistent themes, this is about action, individual commitment, what we can’t do is sit on the sidelines, people started thinking: what do I do, what is my charge?  Need to continue the conversation.
Sylvia:  we need to give them a roadmap; need direction

Two specific pilot suggestions:
Andrew’s employee training program (via Food Bank) – their warehouse relies on volunteers to supplement work force.  There is a program for people in correctional system  to work as volunteers.  Are they homeless?  What are their workforce needs?  Is there a way to set up an on-the-job training program.  This exploration will feed into the action plan development that is underway.
Doreen/Rebecca – 40 families – target our resources/collaboration to save money for state and better house them.

Find traditional funding to use in non-traditional ways.  Overriding theme is messaging, e.g., Clare Higgins’ comment:  this is a solvable problem (600 families – we can house them!).  And the need for prevention.   And the need to meet with legislators and mayors.

Father Stan:  consider approach of “3 for 1”:   what the state is spending on one family, we could have better results with 3 families. 

Pamela: we also need to further discuss the network’s role as an advocate and get clear on our capacity so we can be more than simply reactive.

Andrew:  Take LC discussion, breakdown minutes into the makings of a workplan.  Basis for our committee’s charge.   e.g., pilot program, advocacy, job training

Jane Banks:  for pilot family program, must look at DHCD intersection of income/eligibility guidelines – work with DHCD and DTA to ensure not working in silos but together.

Agreed we should use the family services committee as the vehicle for exploring this idea further.  Will put on December meeting agenda.

Mayor outreach: Pamela meeting with Clare Higgins next week to discuss mayoral outreach.  Dave Gadaire is meeting with Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse tomorrow and will introduce network for Pamela to follow-up.  Pamela will then bring Holyoke and Northampton mayors together (with others) to discuss and invite to Network.

Advocacy: delegated to Steering Committee to sort out network role. 

Jane:  larger organizations such as CHD have relationships with legislators.  Do outreach with these orgs to better understand their priorities, their relationships.

Jennica:  MACDC does legislative outreach which we should connect to.  Dave Christopolis is on the board – a connection to use, too.

Andrew:  LC needs one pager on network .  Part of committee’s workplan.  Bring draft to next meeting.

Another community engagement role:  provide follow-up/support to LC members.

Next steps:

1.       Discuss pilot program with family service.

2.       Ensure Lindsay has Andrew’s training idea on her list for follow-up.

3.       Advocacy  – Steering Committee to process.

Follow-up on previous outreach:
Lynne spoke with Ann Paradis of Microtech – Lynne will relay info to Lindsay
Alex Risely-Schroeder – workforce development – Pamela will invite to listening session
David Southworth – Father Stan has followed up.
Kathy Anderson – Holyoke economic development – interested in bringing all economic dev. together
Sylvia:  plug into superintendent agendas.  All agreed we should be plugging into standing agendas of many organizations (a la UWPV’s outreach previously done).  Will discuss further at next meeting.

Next meeting: January 5, 9 am, Northampton Senior Center

«   »

Return to full list of blog posts.