Building Strong Leaders for A Strong Region
The Leadership Pioneer Valley (LPV) LEAP program is a community-based program designed to encourage skill development and form strong networks within the local community to enhance the region’s development. LPV is led by Lora Wondolowski, who also sits on our Board of Directors. There are 21 participants in this year's cohort from businesses, non-profits, and local government entities across the region, including participants in Puerto Rico and Morocco. Due to the pandemic, the program was condensed from nine to six months and met mainly virtually. 

Our very own Victoria Ramos will be graduating from the program this month. As part of the LEAP program, participants work on team projects with local nonprofits. Victoria and her team were assigned to work with Build, Repair, Grow (BRG) to build capacity with marketing, social media, and board recruitment. BRG provides young people with training in practical skills critical for building individual resiliency, problem-solving, and self-sufficiency while promoting community health.
Another team is working with LPV to bring attention and support to BIPOC- and women-owned business in the region through their project, Support413SmallBiz. The pandemic dealt a huge blow to all of us! We've all experienced some of our favorite restaurants and stores shut down, and the hardest hit were the BIPOC and women-owned small businesses that we love in our community. You might be thinking, “what can I do to help?”. Each week, through LPV social media, they will be sharing a Bingo Card showcasing different ways that people can be supportive of our local businesses. If you get 5 in a row, you can be entered in a raffle! Additionally, they will be spotlighting a business each week. You can vote to help determine who will be featured. Learn more

If you are interested in developing your leadership skills, you are in luck as applications are now open for the class of 2022! They are due July 2, 2021 at 5:00pm. Learn more here.
Happy Juneteenth!
Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day, celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. It commemorates the day in 1865 that Union Major General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas and announced the Civil War had ended and all enslaved people were free. Several cities and states across the nation recognize Juneteenth as an official holiday. Juneteenth became an officially recognized state holiday in Massachusetts through an amendment to a COVID-19 spending bill that was signed into law by Governor Baker in July 2020.  

Juneteenth Celebrations
  • 11th Annual Juneteenth Celebration, 6/19/21 from 12:00-3:00 pmARISE for Social Justice is hosting their 11th Annual Juneteenth Celebration at Barrows Park in Springfield. There will be free food, music, entertainment, information, and fun! Call ARISE at 413-734-4948 for more information.
  • Annual Juneteenth Celebration, 6/19/21 from 12:00-2:00pm: The Brethren Community Foundation is hosting Juneteenth Celebration at the Raymond A. Jordan Senior Center & Blunt Park. There will be free COVID testing & vaccines, free food, entertainment and more.
  • Juneteenth- We Are One Baystate, 6/15/21 through 6/19/21: Please join us as Baystate Health commemorates Juneteenth for the first time! Throughout the week of June 14, Black Employees Connecting (BEC), the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, the Office of Government & Community Relations and Health New England are collaborating to offer activities to all Baystate Health employees and community members to recognize Juneteenth. The theme is “We Are One Baystate” and reminds us that we are all one in the effort to ensure justice, equity and safety for Black Americans. All events are open to both Baystate Team Members and community members unless otherwise specified. Learn more and register.
Happy Pride Month!
Pride Month is celebrated every June in honor of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, which is considered a critical point in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights in the US. Pride Month is a time to celebrate LGBTQ+ culture and amplify LGBTQ+ voices. Pride Month is a time to remember folks who paved the way for LGBTQ+ rights. Although we have made great strides since Stonewall, we have also had some setbacks. For instance, this year we have seen an unprecedented proliferation of anti-trans bills introduced in the US.

The Progress Pride Flag pictured was designed by Daniel Quasar in 2018. This flag includes black and brown stripes representing people of color, as well as pink, blue, and white stripes for the trans flag.

We stand in solidarity with and celebration of our LGBTQ+ community!
Upcoming Webinar
Join us Thursday June 24, 2021 from 12:00-1:00 pm for a webinar about navigating workplace culture with regard to COVID-19 vaccines and masks. There will be a panel discussion followed by a Q&A. More details coming soon.

COVID-19 in Western MA
Anyone 12 and older can now receive the COVID-19 Vaccine. People age 12-17 can receive the Pfizer vaccine. People age 18 and older can receive any vaccine. You don’t need an ID or insurance to get it. The vaccine is free!
COVID-19 Vaccine Resources
  • COVID-19 Vaccine Finder: Search for appointments at pharmacies, health care providers, and other community locations. Appointment availability is updated daily. Some local vaccination sites may only be open to residents of select town. Check listing to see if the site is restricted.
  • Vaccination locations and bus routes in the PVTA service area: Find a list of COVID-19 vaccination sites in the PVTA service area and which bus routes service them.
  • Vaccine scheduling help lines: Baystate Health has compiled information about local contacts that offer assistance with vaccine scheduling.
  • Homebound Vaccination Program: Any individual who has trouble getting to a vaccine site is eligible for the homebound program. Individuals can call (833) 983-0485 to register for an in-home vaccination. The registration phone line is open Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM and has representatives who speak English and Spanish, as well as translation services available in 100+ languages.
Latest COVID-19 Data
Visit the Western MA COVID -19 Data Dashboard for the latest COVID-19 data for the region. The Dashboard is updated every Friday, by mid-afternoon.
COVID-19 Testing
COVID-19 testing is an important way to protect your family, friends, and community. It will save lives and help keep MA headed in the right direction.

You should get a test if:
  • you develop any symptoms of COVID-19, even if mild
  • you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19

News, Events & More from our Partners
Events
  • Fresh Paint Block and Paint Party, 6/12/21 from 3:00-7:00pm: Join Fresh Paint outside the Mason Square Branch Library for the last paint part of the festival and for a celebratory block party. Paint parties run from 6/5-6/12. For more information email info@freshpaintspringfield.com     
  • One World Celebration 2021, 6/13/21at 5:00pm: The Berkshire Immigrant Center is delighted to present our second One World Celebration, a virtual performance of music and poetry honoring cultural diversity and supporting BIC’s crucial work serving local immigrants. The event will highlight poems from the new anthology, What They Bring: the Poetry of Migration and Immigration. Visit the One World Celebration event page to RSVP and for details on how to access this event.   
  • Keeping Kids Safe and Secure Online, 6/16/21 from 6:30-8:00pm: Project Safe Childhood is hosting a presentation for parents. This presentation is for ADULTS ONLY. Learn more and register.
  • Maternal Health Listening Session, 6/22/21 at 6:00pm: The Racial Inequities in Maternal Health Commission is holding a public listening session virtually on June 22, beginning at 6 p.m., focused on maternal health efforts and experiences in Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire Counties. We will share more information as it becomes available.
  • Springfield Alzheimer's Community Forum, 6/24/21 at 5:30pm via Zoom: Learn about the early warning signs of Alzheimer's, risk factors, available resources for families, and join a discussion on how we can make our community more dementia friendly. This event is presented by the Springfield Dementia Friendly Coalition and the Alzheimer's Association. All are welcome! Register here, email Meghan Lemay or call 617-393-2156 to register or with any questions.
Get Paid to Quit Smoking
  • The Massachusetts Smokers' Helpline is offering an incentive program to help residents who use menthol tobacco products quit. Residents will receive a $10 gift card after completing the first coaching call, a $15 gift card after the second coaching call, and a $25 gift card after the third coaching call. While the incentive does not continue after the third call, the Helpline offers five free coaching calls. For more information, visit the Helpline website or call 1-800-Quit-Now to enroll.  In addition to the incentive program, up to 8 weeks of free nicotine patches, gum or lozenges are also available to residents who speak with a coach (once screened for medical eligibility).
Join Our Team
The Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts provides skills, expertise and experience to create successful public health campaigns and sustainable system changes to improve health and well-being in Western MA. Join our team as we work to ensure that all people in our region have what they need to lead healthy lives.

We are looking to fill the following positions:

Visit our website for more information.