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Maria L. Burke
For Immediate Release – May 21, 2013
EXCEPTIONAL TEEN WINS THE GREATER HOLYOKE BOYS & GIRLS CLUB
“YOUTH OF THE YEAR” HONOR
Holyoke, MA –The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke is pleased to announce the winner of our Youth of the Year Angelica Flores. Angie, as she likes to be called, is a true example of an extraordinary young woman. She is among hundreds of local youth across the country recognized by Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) for her sound character, leadership skills and willingness to give back to the community. Being named Youth of the Year is the highest honor a Boys & Girls Club member can receive. The designation recognizes outstanding contributions Angie has made to her family, school, community and Boys & Girls Club.
Angie, along with youth from other local Clubs, will be honored at the Western Massachusetts Youth of the Year Dinner at Ludlow Country Club on May 29, 2013 The dinner is sponsored by Comcast and the 99 Restaurants.
Angie is a senior at Holyoke High School and will graduate on June 2, 2013. While attending Holyoke High, Angie’s artwork was chosen for display at the city wide art program, The Heart of Holyoke. She was also recognized by the Renaissance Program for motivation and effort achieved each quarter by students.
Angie is a member of HBGC Keystone Club as well as a teen member and peer leader. She has shown great dedication to her education and life goals. From early in life Angie knew she wanted to become a firefighter / paramedic. In September of this year Angie will attend Springfield Technical Community College to pursue a degree in fire science. Upon completion of her college education, Angie hopes to return to Holyoke and join the honorable ranks of the Holyoke Fire Department.
“I am so pleased that Angie has been chosen as our Youth of the Year. Each day she exemplifies all that is good about being part of our Club, from her work with the younger children to her assistance at so many outreach events with The Keystone Club, Angie makes me proud,” shared Club President Eileen D. Cavanaugh.
The Youth of the Year program encourages Club members to reach their full potential by achieving academic success, leading healthy lifestyles and contributing to their communities. Youth of the Year honorees are shining examples and living proof that great futures start at Boys & Girls Club.
For 121 years, the Holyoke Boys & Girls Club has been in the forefront of youth development, working with young people from disadvantaged economic, social and family circumstances. Our primary mission is to serve the underprivileged population in the city of Holyoke. HBGC offers programs to youth aged 5-19 in five core areas: sports and recreation; education and career; leadership development; the arts; and health and life skills. Our recreation facilities, programs and services make the link between the youths’ academic success and their overall development. HBGC also serves the whole family through regular events, an adult education program, and workshops for parents and families.
By Elise Linscott
on May 11, 2013 at 4:20 PM, updated May 11, 2013 at 9:29 PM
Approximately 300 men, women and children faced a challenge on Saturday afternoon: to try to outrun the law.
The third annual “Holyoke Police Foot Pursuit” was a 3.5-mile race held at the Holyoke Elks Lodge. Participants paid a $25 entry fee to raise money for the Holyoke Boys and Girls Club and the Holyoke Police Officer’s Ball.
“I’m running to train for a marathon, so I’m working toward my goal in August,” said Sean Coughlin, an officer in the Holyoke Police Department.
“I wanted to run with all the other police officers, and to support the law enforcement and One Fund Boston,” said Holyoke PD officer Dan Stuck. He said a portion of the money raised also went to One Fund Boston.
Members from the Holyoke Boys and Girls Club volunteered, registering runners and distributing t-shirts, as well as other tasks.
“It’s helping us to support programming; it’s very hard to find sources of funding, so I thank the Holyoke Police Department. We have a great working relationship with the City of Holyoke and its police department,” said Victor Rojas of the Holyoke Boys and Girls Club.
The race was led by a Holyoke PD truck, carrying a timer on the back for runners to keep track of their times.
The first person to cross the finish line was Guillermo Godreau Rivera, a senior at Holyoke High School. He finished the race in just under 20 minutes.
“It feels good. The Boys and Girls Club sponsored me, so I’m proud to represent them and the City of Holyoke,” said Rivera.
Rivera’s friend and fellow track team member RJ Landry finished in a close second place.
“It feels great, this is my first time running this race and it was a lot of fun,” said Landry. He said the race helped him stay in shape, since Holyoke High is in the middle of their track season.
Mary Thomas was the first woman to cross the finish line, coming in at just under 25 minutes.
“It feels great to finish. This is my first race in about four years. I just had my fourth baby in December,” said Thomas.
After the race concluded, runners were offered food and entertainment, such as a dunk tank that was set up outside the Elks Lodge. Holyoke police officers said they were happy with the turnout, and to be able to raise funds for great causes.
“Please join us in thanking the Massachusetts State Police for their donation to the Club! Earlier this year, they sold tee shirts commemorating the recognition by the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade Committee as the Citizenship Award recipient. We are grateful for the support from the Troopers, and recognize and thank them for their hard work protecting the citizens of Holyoke.”
HOLYOKE – The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke recently honored parents and family members who actively support and participate in their monthly Family Nights.
Since their inception in Januar y 2012, hundreds of families, program partners and local businesses representatives have participated in these events designed to bring families and neighborhoods together resulting in a stronger community.
On the last Friday of every month, director Yolanda Rodriguez coordinates an event that features dinner, a short learning opportunity for all the parents held while children are being cared for, and finishing with a full-group activity that ranges from Zumba to a basketball game to board games. Ms. Rodriguez shared “in the beginning the parents didn’t know each other.
Now they all ask for this time each month, to support each other just as parents, and to learn better ways to work and play with their children. It’s been a huge success for the children, as well as for the entire family!” Rodriguez was delighted to also honor the dedication of several community partners who have also helped ensure that parents get valuable information to discuss and learn.
The topics have covered topics like financial literacy, computer training, nutrition and how to talk with your kids about healthy lifestyles and making good choices. These partners - Brenda Reyes from Planned Parenthood; Richie Rodriguez and Tony Colon from Holyoke Kempo & Fitness; and both Kate O’Donnell and Maria Tere Cartagena from Paper City Fitness are recognized for their unfailing support of this program and the Boys & Girls Club of Holyoke. Each parent is recognized for their strong support of the program and for consistent participation.
Those receiving the awards last week included: Rosa Bernard, Amber Bleakney, Odetti Camacho, Maricel Diaz, Claudia Florez, Jacqueline Gonzalez, Jacqueline Hernandez, Sonia Lopez, Michael Medina, Marion Morgan, Maria Ortiz, Jacqueline Perr y, Maria Rodriguez, Omayra Rodriguez, Yelitza Rodriguez, Aricelis Santana and Leslie Santiago. An additional 59 parents are also commended for their input and involvement. Club President Eileen Cavanaugh said “this is a wonderful example of the extensive outreach done within our community by our Club staff.
We outreach to not only the parents of youth that attend our afterschool program on Nick Cosmos Drive, but also to parents of kids that attend one of our four satellite units located in the Holyoke Housing Authority properties.” “While we serve literally hundreds of youth from all over the city each day, this effort to incorporate an entire family is clearly something that has and will continue to impact daily life for our members, their children and the community as a whole,” said Cavanaugh. Club Family Nights will continue to be held at the Boys & Girls Club on the last Friday of each month. For scheduling or any other information, please contact Yolanda Rodriguez at 413-534- 7366, ext 113.
For 121 years, the Holyoke Boys & Girls Club has been in the forefront of youth development, working with young people from disadvantaged economic, social and family circumstances. Our primary mission is to serve the underprivileged population in the city of Holyoke. HBGC offers programs to youth aged 5-19 in five core areas: sports and recreation; education and career; leadership development; the arts; and health and life skills.
Our recreation facilities, programs and services make the link between the youths’ academic success and their overall development. HBGC also serves the whole family through regular events, an adult education program, and workshops for parents and families.
To the Editor, A few weeks ago,
I heard another amazing Holyoke success story.
One of six children, Saul Caban is attending Westfield State University planning to graduate a criminal justice major in a few short years. He is well-spoken, a strong student and projects a confidence from within that belies his young age and left me with an impression that this young man is going places.
Saul then shared that he is the first in his family to graduate from high school, is a recipient of the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship, and works several jobs to pay for all the expenses that come with furthering his education.
He closed his presentation with his personal thanks to me, and to the rest of the board of directors at the Boys & Girls Club in Holyoke, for our part in ensuring that the Club was available to him when he sorely needed it over the past few years.
He said it was OUR Club that kept him on this path.
I have served on the board of the Holyoke Boys & Girls Club for years always knowing that it provided a safe haven for our young people, sports opportunities and extensive after school programming for those who need it most. What Saul’s presentation did though, was remind me how proud I am to be a part of, and support, an organization that so strongly impacts every part of my community.
The Holyoke Boys & Girls Club has impacted many people over the past 120 years and it continues to do so in these challenging times.
It doesn’t just give a kid someplace to hang out or a court to practice basketball or a pool to swim, it gives them the knowledge that they can have an awesome future with a great family and home, the support to become a hardworking employee with a fulfilling career, and the awareness that completing their education will serve them well throughout their futures.
In Holyoke, there are many children like Saul, young men and women who want more yet who face challenges that can frighten the strongest among us.
Yet each wants just what my friends and I wanted growing up - to become a teacher or police officer or a professional in a business that gives a good career, a chance to own a home and raise children when its time, and enjoy all that life has to offer.
They want a way to make a positive impact on our city, our region and even the world.
Each day, approximately 300 youth participate in the extensive after school programming offered on Nick Cosmos Way or at one of the four satellite units located in Holyoke Housing Authority properties throughout the city. An additional 97 attend the membership program each evening from 6-9 p.m.
Over the course of a year, nearly 3,000 – about half of our entire school age population – will join their friends and classmates in activities led by the Boys & Girls Club of Holyoke!
Like so many Holyokers who have come before, Saul and his fellow Club members will impact not just Holyoke, but our Commonwealth, our country and our world. I strongly support the hard work done by the staff there, and recognize the legacy of both current and former board members.
I ask you to let these kids know that we all support their efforts and join me in committing to their futures by supporting the It Just Takes One campaign in the coming weeks. Each tax-deductible dollar you give will ensure that our Club is open and serving the children who need it most. Thank you for your consideration.
City Councilor at Large,
Nick Cosmos Unit
70 Nick Cosmos Way
P.O. Box 6256
Holyoke, Ma 01041
Tel: (413) 534-7366
Fax: (413) 534-7369
22 North. Summer St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
18 1/2 Oliver St.
Holyoke, MA 01040
334 Elm Street
Holyoke, MA 01040
15 Barrett Dr.
Holyoke, MA 01040