On the Calendar

‘Rewire: Finding Purpose and Fulfillment After Retirement’

April 27: Holyoke Community College (HCC) will present a three-hour, in-person workshop focusing on life after retirement. “Rewire: Finding Purpose and Fulfillment After Retirement” will meet from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Kittredge Center for Business and Workforce Development on HCC’s main campus, 303 Homestead Ave. The workshop will be facilitated by former career counselor Barbara Foster.

“Retirement is a major life transition, not unlike a major career change” Foster said. “People often fail to consider how they will find purpose and fulfillment in retirement. The average 65-year-old will remain active for 20 years or more after leaving a full-time job. The workshop will assist both pre-retirees and recently retired people to consider how they will spend the 2,000 hours a year they formerly spent at work. This could be volunteering, starting a new business, developing hobbies, seeking part-time work, or new learning experiences.”

The workshop will offer a series of exercises and self-assessments, as well as time to reflect, brainstorm with others, and develop goals and a vision for this new chapter of life. Participants will also leave with an extensive list of resources to explore.

To register, visit hcc.edu/rewire, or call (413) 552-2500 for more information. The cost is $39. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required for all workshop participants, and masks must be worn in all HCC campus buildings.

31st Annual Autism Conference

April 28: Autism Connections, the Western Mass. autism center serving families and individuals in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden counties, will host its 31st annual Autism Conference. The day-long virtual educational conference brings together hundreds of parents, caregivers, educators, people with autism, self-advocates, professionals, organizations, and service providers to build awareness and knowledge, be inspired, and make meaningful connections.

Morning and afternoon breakout sessions led by regional experts focus on topics as they relate to autism, including autistic perspectives on post-secondary education, introduction to DIR/Floortime, key components of effective social and emotional skills training, building communication skills, creative employment, and many more.

The conference features two keynote speakers, Alix Generous and Jed Baker. Generous is an advocate for advancing mental-health reform and institutional treatment of autistic people. With five years of professional experience working in behavior analysis, Generous is passionate about expanding the reach of therapies to all continents. Baker is the director of the Social Skills Training Project, an organization serving individuals with autism and social communication problems. He writes, lectures, and provides training internationally on the topic of social-skills training and managing challenging behaviors. He is also an award-winning author of eight books.

For more information about Autism Connections or the 31st annual Autism Conference, visit autismconnectionsma.org or e-mail autismconnections@pathlightgroup.org.

Get Hired Job Fair

May 5: Holyoke Mall will host an in-person job fair from 3 to 6 p.m. on the lower level near Macy’s. Sponsored by Valley Opportunity Council, the Get Hired Job Fair is a convenient opportunity for Western Mass. employers to interview and hire workers, and to help job seekers connect with businesses who need their skills.

Employers from a variety of industries will be in attendance looking for candidates at all skill levels. Several stores and venues at Holyoke Mall will also be in attendance to fill open positions. The event is free to attend for all job seekers. Employers that have already signed up to staff a table include MGM Springfield, Holyoke Medical Center, Springfield College, Trinity Senior Communities, and Valley Opportunity Council.

Employers interested in participating in the upcoming job fair should contact Jim Geraghty, advertising representative for Holyoke Mall, at (617) 840-2998 or jamesgeraghty@pyramidmg.com. For full details regarding the job fair, visit www.holyokemall.com/event/get-hired-job-fair.

Annual Shred Day

May 7: The Wealth Transition Collective of Holyoke is partnering with Cooley Dickinson VNA & Hospice for their annual shred day. Anyone who has financial or sensitive documents that need shredding may bring them to the VNA & Hospice of Cooley Dickinson, 168 Industrial Dr., Northampton from 9 to 11 a.m. A donation of $5 per paper box will directly benefit the VNA & Hospice.

Shredding will be conducted on a first-come, first-served basis until the truck is full or 11 a.m., whichever comes first. Only paper items will be accepted. For more information, visit www.twealthtc.com.

Jack’s Walk

May 14: Jack’s Walk, a fundraiser to benefit the Jack Jonah Foundation, will take place at the Ashley Reservoir in Holyoke.

The foundation has a stated mission to “encourage, foster, teach, engage, and provide opportunities, specifically in the areas of drug awareness.” The foundation also provides assistance (financial or otherwise) at the local, state, and/or national level in the promotion of drug awareness and education.

The foundation is named in honor of Jack Jonah, who died of a heroin overdose.

Jack’s Walk features a full schedule of activities. The day begins with a pre-walk tie-dye party and check-in beginning at 9 a.m. There will then be several guest speakers, including West Springfield Mayor Will Reichelt, Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi, Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni, and Jack Jonah Foundation Founder Kirk Jonah for closing comments and a moment of silence.

The walk begins at 11, and there will be a post-walk reception at the Elks from noon to 2 p.m.

Tickets are $20 for adults. Youths 18 and under are admitted free. To register online, visit Jackjonahfoundation.org.

sheLEADS Conference

May 20: The Greater Easthampton Chamber of Commerce will host sheLEADS, a woman’s conference aimed at building a bold, brave community of women in the 413 with an eye on professional development and beyond.

The day begins at the Boylston Room in Easthampton at noon and ends with networking at Abandoned Building Brewery. In between, attendees can look forward to “Activating Your Leadership Strengths,” facilitated by Colleen DelVecchio of Colleen DelVecchio Consultants; “The Language of Leadership,” a panel discussion featuring Pia Kumar, chief strategy officer at Universal Plastics, Lynnette Watkins, president and CEO of Cooley Dickinson Health Care, and Waleska Lugo-DeJesus, CEO of Inclusive Strategies; and “Be Great Where Your Feet Are,” featuring keynote speaker Robyn Glaser Sr., vice president, Business Affairs for the Kraft Group.

For tickets and details, visit www.easthamptonchamber.org.

Western MA Walk to Cure Arthritis

May 22: More than 100 walkers will be on hand at the 2022 Western MA Walk to Cure Arthritis at Stanley Park in Westfield, to help support the Arthritis Foundation and its mission to cure arthritis and make it easier for people living with the disease to achieve everyday victories.

The Walk to Cure Arthritis is the Arthritis Foundation’s nationwide signature event. Local youth honoree Robinson Agresto will share his inspiring story of living with juvenile arthritis during the opening ceremony of the Western MA Walk to Cure Arthritis.

In the U.S. alone, nearly 60 million adults and 300,000 children live with arthritis. It is a leading cause of work disability, with $303.5 billion in annual costs for medical care and lost earnings. Arthritis affects one in four Americans and causes more activity limitation than heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. The Western MA Walk to Cure Arthritis will help those living with arthritis by supporting programs, research, and advocacy initiatives, as well as funding crucial research aimed at finding a cure for the disease.

The Walk to Cure Arthritis is nationally presented by Horizon. To register for the Western MA Walk to Cure Arthritis or to learn more about the event, visit www.walktocurearthritis.org/westernma or call D’Agostino at (857) 327-5688 or Cindy Senk at (413) 575-4551. To learn more about the Arthritis Foundation’s quest to cure arthritis, visit arthritis.org/walk.

Michael J. Dias Foundation Super Raffle Fundraiser

Drawing on May 22: The Michael J. Dias Foundation, which offers sober housing to those in recovery, announced its second annual Super Raffle fundraiser.

Top prizes are as follows: grand prize: weekend getaway to New York City; second prize: dinner for four at the Federal with limousine; third prize: water touchdown flight; fourth prize: gas grill; fifth prize: concert tickets at Fenway Park.

Tickets cost $50 each and may be purchased at mdiasfoundation.org/upcoming-events. Drawings for smaller prizes will be held leading up to the event and will be broadcast live on the organization’s Facebook page. The grand-prize drawing will be held on Sunday, May 22 at the Trailer Trash concert at the Ludlow Fish & Game Club. For more information, call (413) 304-0715.