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Get Ready to Run!

Register for the Couch to 5K Training and the Daffodil Run Together

Join Big Brothers Big Sisters' partners at 50/50 Fitness/Nutrition for a motivating couch to 5K program.  They will help you get ready to run the Daffodil Fun Run on April 24th!

You will receive:
  • Individualized program based on your needs
  • Weekly running clinics
  • Personal evaluation and adjustments
  • A free work out class at 50/50 Nutrition/Fitness
  • Weekly newsletter with tips and tricks

Register at  
$40 includes couch to 5K program and run registration fee.
2nd Annual
COSA Provider's Fair!

Due to the great success of our first Provider's Fair last May we have decided to hold one annually.  

2nd Annual COSA Providers Fair!
May 24th,  9:00 - 10:30 am

Member agencies are invited, and encouraged, to participate.  We will provide a great atmosphere, table for your agency, and refreshments.  Bring resources and other staff members along for an enlightening morning with your peers. The Providers Fair will be held in lieu of our monthly meeting, from 9:00 to 10:30 am.   There will be ample time to circulate and network with other agencies! The Provider Fair will take place at "The Deuce" events room at the World War II Club in Northampton.

Monte's Campout for Cancer Connection March 8th - ???

Monte Belmonte of The River, and his band of intrepid campers brave winter weather  all day and all night until he reaches his goal of raising  $100,000 for the Cancer Connection!  

They'll be  chilling (literally)  on the  Old Courthouse lawn   downtown  in Northampton  until  Monte meets this ambitious goal. 

This is the 10th annual Campout for Cancer Connection.  It may be the last year and will certainly be the biggest Campout!

Want to camp out with Monte?
Willing to share your story about Cancer Connection with Monte and The  River listeners?

"Undoing Racism"
A Workshop by 
The People's Institute

The Undoing Racism Organizing Collective (UROC) of Western MA   invites you to be part of our movement to advance institutional change for racial equity. Workshop participants will engage in a comprehensive exploration of how racism shapes U.S. institutions, often without our conscious understanding that it is doing so.
The goal of this workshop is to strengthen the anti-racist analysis and foster local work groups that will continue the conversation and work toward institutional change.
A national, multiracial, anti-racist network from New Orleans dedicated to building a movement for justice and ending racism and other forms of institutional oppression. Now in its 36 th year, the Institute has provided training, consultation, and leadership development to more than 110,000 people in organizations nationally and internationally.
Location:  TBA- Amherst, MA
Fri.  April 1 - 5:30 -  8:30, Sat.,  April 2 -  8:30 AM - 5:00 PM and  Sun., April 3 -  8:30 AM4 PM
TUITION: $300 for Individuals;  $400 for Large Institutions
(includes Breakfast, Lunch and Snacks on both days)  Limited scholarships are available. 
The workshop is limited to 40 participants.  W orkshop participants and tuition assistance will be announced by  March 25th, 2016

Shake off the Winter Blues, Have Fun and Support Local Food Security!

Come out and dance with the No-No's

Bring your checkbooks and build local food security by supporting the Amherst Survival Center, Northampton Survival Center, Kestrel Land Trust and CISA's Local Food For All Campaign

Tickets are $10 at the door and can also be obtained in advance at AJ Hastings in Amherst, and State Street Market in Northampton.

There will be a cash bar with delicious local libations, and a 50/50 raffle. Please join us for a notoriously fun night!

March 19th 
8pm - Midnight 
JCA Hall in Amherst, 742 Main St. 

Free Early Childhood  P arent Workshops

YOU are y our child's first br ain architect!  Did you know that brain building happens every time and every place your child is nurtured and engaged?  Join us as we look at ideas for brain building that are EASY to do and will help lay the foundation of your child's lifetime of success.   FREE
March 7  6:0pm - 7:30pm. South Hadley Family Center     Register

First Steps  to Reading
Do yo u k n ow that yo u can h elp your child grow into reading by talking, playing, sharing books  and even si nging together? In this four-session workshop we'll find out why these things are important and have lots of time for parents and children to do fun activities together. Each session starts with a light supper. FREE
March 14,  5:30 - 7:00 pm Pelham Elementary School

Childcare is provided during parent learning times. (Please plan to bring your child.) You'll receive a book at each session to take home.   Register Here

Why Do They Do That!
Raising children isn't easy, and sometimes it can be hard to know how to handle difficult behaviors. Often it can help when we try to understand why a child is behaving the way he is. In Why Do They DO That?! we'll look at what's at the root of children's challenging behaviors and discuss strategies for handling them. FREE
March 22, 6:00 - 7:30 pm Ware Family Center    Register Here

Grandparents, Let's Talk
Being a grandparent can bring its own challenges (and joys), different from those of parenting. This is an opportunity for grandparents to connect with others, discuss their experiences and feel supported.  FREE


March 16, 23 and 30, 11:00am - 12:30pm, Palmer/Monson Family Network (a light lunch will be provided for participants and children in childcare)



April 1, 8 and 15,  10:00am - 11:30am, Ware Family Center



UMass Dining is hosting our seventh-annual 5K Dash & Dine on Saturday, April 9th 2016! Open to the campus community and the general public, the run/walk is held to raise funds for our neighbors in need by donating the proceeds to the Amherst Survival Center. Costumes optional!        REGISTER HERE

Bridges Together
Spring into Summer

On April 3, 2016, Bridges Together will be hosting a very special event at The Wayside Inn in Sudbury! "Spring Into Summer" will start at 11:30 AM with a silent auction filled with fabulous items  not to mention mimosas, delicious morning treats and some special entertainment by The Fourmidables  Women's A Capella Quartet. Brunch and our live auction will follow, as will a ceremony honoring Dr. Edgar Klugman for his lifetime of work advocating for and enriching the lives of children and older adults. We will be selling tickets for $50, and the proceeds of this will event will enable us to unite older adults and children in even more communities. So mark your calendars: We promise that you will have a great time as we spring into summer!  As an added bonus, the Wayside Inn will be offering a special: a good night's rest in one of their quaint rooms, dinner and breakfast for approximately $90 per person.


Programming for Girls- 
Can We Be More Effective?

If you are interested in building more effective programming for girls then please join us as we examine the best practices and research on gender responsive theory and implementation.  The meeting will be held on:

Wed., March 16th 10:00 - 11:45 
Networking lunch to be provided 11:45 - 12:30
at Girl Scouts of Central and Western Mass.
301 Kelly Way, Holyoke, MA

You are also invited to stay for a networking luncheon as we continue to build a coalition of organizations and individuals in Western Mass who are interested in the needs and issues of girls.  

There is no cost for the workshop or luncheon but space is limited so please RSVP asap  to:   Mary McRae

What Does 
Antonin Scalia's Death 
Mean for Nonprofits?
by Michael Wyland - Nonprofit Quarterly

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead, apparently of a heart attack sustained while visiting a hunting ranch in Texas. He was 79. Scalia, the longest-serving Supreme Court justice in history, was nominated by Ronald Reagan and confirmed by the Senate in 1986. 

He earned a reputation as the intellectual leader of the Court's conservatives, generating strong written opinions and pioneering active questioning of counsel during the oral arguments made before the Court. He also built a reputation as a staunch opponent of expanding civil rights protections, and, for example, "openly ridiculed claims made by university administrators that building a diverse student body or maintaining student diversity in classrooms served an educational or greater social purpose."
Almost immediately, speculation began about the sudden vacancy on the Court and what it might mean. There are three areas to consider: 1) how this will affect the Court's decisions on such legal issues as civil rights, abortion, labor, the environment, the Affordable Care Act, affirmative action, immigration, voting rights, energy, and campaign finance; 2) how the nomination of Scalia's successor will be handled; and 3) how the Supreme Court's importance as an issue in the 2016 elections will be affected.
Continue Reading

HSF Series

Invisible Chains: Overcoming Coercive Control in Relationships
March 23, 8:30 -12:30  

Coercive control shows up in vulnerable populations served  by human service organizations. People touched by domestic violence, developmental disabilities and/or cognitive issues, mental health diagnoses, and addictions are particularly at risk for this form of abuse. Coercive control can lead to homelessness.  After this workshop participants will:
  • Be able to identify coercive control and distinguish it from "ordinary" bossiness or relationship problems.
  • Be better able to intervene in situations of domestic violence
  • Understand the links between coercive control and poverty, homelessness, and addictions, especially in the lives of mothers and their children.
*All registrants will receive a copy of Lisa Fontes' book, "Invisible Chains: Overcoming Coercive Control in Your Intimate Relationship." Lisa Fontes was  COSA's keynote speaker at the 2015 breakfast    REGISTER

 Get on the Bus to 
The Caring Force Rally at the State House 

Get on the bus to Boston! Western Mass Service Providers is hiring a bus to drive to Boston so we can join The Caring Force for the Fifth Annual State House Rally. Join other members of The Caring Force in speaking out!   The Rally is April 11th.  The b us will leave The Association For Community Living  parking lot promptly at  8 am.  (200 Brookdale St - Springfield)

Seating is limited! email to reserve
  • Include your name, agency, number of people in your party and phone number
  • Please note in your email if wheelchair accessibility is needed 
  • Make sure to wear your Caring Force t-shirt - seeing a sea of Caring Force members in their t-shirts is a powerful visual.  If you need a t-shirt there will be some available on the bus.
We'll kick things off with registration at  10 a.m. , followed by a slate of powerful speakers. M ake sure to make an appointment to visit your legislator after the program.  With your continued advocacy , we can secure the support that you and everyone involved in human service deserves.  This is being organized by Human Service Forum. Click here for more information.
By Susan Ragusa- Inside Philapnthropy

There's a topic that we don't talk about-at least we don't in my Hudson Valley neck of the woods. It's donor diversity. It's what we're doing-or not doing-to reach a broader base of support. I've written often about board diversity. And I'll continue, as more diverse boards are critical in multiple ways for every organization's short-term and long-term viability. Among those vital areas is developing the insight and means to connect with individuals of different racial, ethnic, religious, sexual and other identities in ways that engage them to give.
I know that we live in a time when conversations about diversity issues can become flashpoints. But I believe strongly that this is an important and necessary discussion-not only for my corner of the nonprofit world, but for all. As a sector, we can demonstrate in uplifting ways how diverse people come together around common causes and missions.
Toward a Broader Ask
Within the Hudson Valley, we have significant populations of Hispanics, particularly residents who have emigrated from Mexico or are of Mexican heritage, and African-Americans. We also have a sizable LGBTQ community, including numerous transplants from New York City.
As a development consultant, I've worked with many organizations on giving plans. Yet not once has there been a substantive discussion about tailoring a plan to the interests and giving motivations of these different groups within the region. This tendency to view donor engagement through one lens, rather than many, is confirmed in  Diversity in Giving: The Changing Landscape of American Philanthropy, a 2015 study by the Blackbaud technology firm in Charleston, South Carolina. The study noted that "America is in the midst of a dramatic cultural shift, but evidence suggests that organized philanthropy may be stuck in the past... We built complex look-alike models allowing us to better fish the same fishing holes for the same donors."
I found the foreword by Dr. Emmett Carson, president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and a contributor to the study, powerful reading. Consider:
...notwithstanding America's motto of e pluribus unum (out of many, one), fundraising in the 21st century will require a differentiated approach tailored to the interests, values, and traditions of the many rather than a one-size-fits-all approach based on the interests, values, and traditions of white Americans.
Continue Reading

How To Quit Smoking Series
For some people, quitting smoking is easy. They decide that they no
longer want to spend the money; they don't like feeling out of breath  from simple physical activity; dealing with the ever increasing  restrictions on where you can smoke and not wanting to expose family and  friends to second hand smoke. For most of us, quitting smoking is a  considerable challenge. For most of us, if it had been easy, we would  have quit a long time ago.

If you have been thinking about quitting smoking and would like to learn  more, you are invited to attend "How to Quit Smoking", a group that will  meet for eight weeks on Wednesdays from  7:00-8:30 beginning on March 16th.  

Issues to be addressed will include:
 *    When and why do you smoke?
 *    What are the pros and cons of quitting?
 *    New ways to quit and stay quit!
 *    Share ideas, coping mechanisms and inspiration

The group will be held in the Easthampton Municipal Building at 50
Payson Ave in Easthampton MA. and is sponsored by the Easthampton Health  Department. It  is free of charge , open to the public and physically  accessible.  To register please contact:  or call the  Easthampton Health Department at  413-529-1430 . Funding for this group is
provided by Cooley Dickinson Health Care.

April 2016
First Time 
Home Buyers Series

Join Us for our next first time home buyers series.  You will benefit from:
  • Incredible Loans!
  • Access to downpayment and closing cost money
  • Education, education, education!
Sponsored by  Valley CDC and  Berkshire Bank
April 5th, 12th, 19th & 26th, from  6:00-9:00 p.m. 
90 Park St, Florence, MA

Bridges Together Upcoming Series

Active Parenting of Teens - This 6-week-long group is for parents of teens and pre-teens and will focus on helping parents to understand their children and work actively to guide them towards success in adulthood. Parents will learn skills related to problem-solving, discipline with respect, and family communication. Starts March 8th - To Register, call Jilena Cichon at 413-549-0297 ext. 6511

Teens in Action-  This 6-week-long group will explore ways to make healthy decisions about sexuality, drugs, alcohol, tobacco and violence. Teens will learn skills to communicate, understand consequences, and build strong self-esteem. Parents of teens are encouraged to participate in the Active Parenting of Teens group on the same day and time.  Starts March 8th - 
To Register, call Ben Abbott at 413-549-0297 ext. 6514

Parenting Journey -  Parenting is an adventure and it helps to bring along some tools. Join other parents in this 12 week parent positive strengths focused group to find new ways to navigate the road ahead.  Starts April 1st. To Register, call Kelly at (413) 549-0297 ext. 6512

Guiding Good Choices This 5-week long group provides a friendly, supportive space for parents and caregivers to learn how to reduce the risk of their children developing problems with alcohol, all forms of tobacco, inhalants and all legal and illegal drugs. Startes April 25th. To register call Manny at 413-549-0297 ext. 6513
5 Simple Steps to Start a 
Major Gifts Program
March 8   1:00 pm

Closing major gifts is the most productive, most efficient way to raise the money we need. But it's also the most challenging. We all know that if you can create a solid major gifts program, you can turn your fundraising into a money-raising machine. Join major gifts guru Gail Perry to find out how get a major gifts program up and running - and actively bringing in the money to your nonprofit - even if you are a very small organization.

You'll learn how to:
  • Identify and discover potential major donors
  • Optimize your prospect research and personal screening sessions
  • Get your board involved identifying prospects - make it into a game!
  • Make the most out of your limited time and staff
Pro Bono: The Secret to Doing More Without a Budget
March 29  1:00 pm

What would your organization look like if you had access to the same services and resources as a for-profit company? Join the Taproot Foundation for this webinar on how pro bono service, or free access to talented business professionals, can change the game for your organization. Organizations that leverage the power of skilled volunteers regularly see huge returns, and often cultivate lasting relationships with committed volunteers. Find out what projects work well and which ones to avoid. By the end of the webinar, you'll be introduced to Taproot+, a simple, free online platform to access skilled volunteers for you and your organization. 

Key Takeaways:
  1. Discover which projects work really well through pro bono service
  2. The 4 screening tests for great pro bono engagements (we'll share what we've learned over 15 years!)
  3. Where to find these talented skilled volunteers, starting today

Center for New Americans

Clinical Support Options
There are many positions available. 
Click here to see the job listings 

Community Action
There are many more positions available!
Click here to see all the job listings
Click here for the weekly job bulletin

Service Net


Mark Your Calendars!

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