On the Calendar

On The Calendar

Mental-health Support Group for Black and Brown Communities

Starting Oct. 6: Adventist Community Services Department of the Shiloh Seventh-Day Adventist Church and the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Western Massachusetts (NAMI-WM) announced a new support group for Black and Brown communities. The Black/Brown Family & Friends Support Group will meet on Thursday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. and on the first Thursday of every month. A Zoom link will be provided for participants.

NAMI family support groups are free groups for family members, friends, and other caregivers of people diagnosed with mental-health conditions. Family support groups provide a non-judgmental environment where caregivers can discuss concerns, learn about local resources, and benefit from one another’s collective knowledge and experience. Led by NAMI-trained facilitators who are also family members, they provide comfort, hope, and a sense of community.

NAMI family support groups follow a structured model, ensuring everyone has an opportunity to be heard and to get the support they need. By sharing their experiences in a safe and confidential setting, attendees gain hope and develop supportive relationships. For more information, contact the NAMI-WM office at (413) 786-9139 or information@namiwm.org.

‘Code Red: Strategies for Preventing Workplace Violence’

Oct. 12: The Employers Assoc. of the NorthEast (EANE) will host a half-day training opportunity for employers who recognize the need to develop a proactive plan that will protect their employees in the unfortunate instance of a violent occurrence in the workplace.

EANE has partnered with PASS (Protective Advanced Safety Servies) of Agawam to facilitate the three-hour training class designed to help employers assess their current safety programs, identify the common behavior patterns of potentially violent individuals, and ultimately learn how to respond during an active shooting situation in a manner that reduces casualties.

The trainers from PASS, John Nettis and Steven Grasso, have risen through the ranks of the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department and the Agawam Police Department and are skilled in active-shooter response and emergency preparedness. They strive to elevate workplace safety by offering role-playing scenarios, strategies, and suggestions to employers, and creating custom-tailored, effective emergency action plans.

Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, there has been an increase in drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, political disturbances, and general volatility in workplace relationships. The October training event, “Code Red: Strategies for Preventing Workplace Violence,” tackles the subject of workplace-violence prevention.

Attendees will become acquainted with the process of conducting a physical workspace analysis, how to survey a facility and look for vulnerabilities; understand the components of an incident response plan, how to create a response to an incident at a business (evacuation plans, reunification, and communication); recognize the importance of de-escalating a situation early; and increase awareness of mental health’s role in workplace violence.

The event will take place at the Delaney House in Holyoke. Limited seats are available, and pre-registration is required. While these trainings are open to the public for $125 per person, individuals from EANE member organizations may register at a reduced rate. Registration details are available at www.eane.org/code-red-strategies-for-preventing-workplace-violence or by calling (877) 662-6444.

Willie Ross School for the Deaf Annual Gala

Oct. 13: Willie Ross School for the Deaf (WRSD) will hold its annual gala at Twin Hills Country Club in Longmeadow. The event will begin at 6 p.m. and will honor longtime supporter Grammatiki Anderson and longtime partner Paul Robbins Associates. WRSD is holding an online auction as part of its annual gala event. Bidding runs until Oct. 12. The auction link can be found at www.wrsdeaf.org/annual-gala. Winners will be announced at the gala.

Anderson has been a supporter of WRSD since its founding in 1967. She moved to the U.S. in 1956 and eventually settled in Longmeadow. Her son John was born deaf, and Anderson, after struggling to find the right program for her son, was introduced to Willie Ross in 1967. Her son became part of the school’s inaugural class.

In the school’s early years, parents contributed whatever skills they had to support the success of Willie Ross. Anderson coordinated bake sales and tapped her contacts in the Greek community to help get the school off the ground. She said the kindness and caring she experienced in the beginning continues to be the experience she has at Willie Ross today.

Paul Robbins Associates has been a longtime partner of WRSD, first becoming involved with the school when longtime board member Erica Broman reached out for help with the school’s communications.

To register or become a sponsor for the gala, visit www.wrsdeaf.org/annual-gala. A livestream option is also available for those who cannot attend the gala in person. Tickets cost $75 to attend in person and $35 for the livestream.

Auction prizes to date include gifts from the Hartford Yard Goats, the Boston Red Sox, Total Wine & More, the BroBasket, Mystic Aquarium, Elite Island Resorts: Caribbean (eight packages up for auction), Mohegan Sun, Exit 7 Theater, Sonny’s Place, Oriental Trading, the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun, TreeTop Adventures, Celebrity Series of Boston; Buzzards Bay Brewing, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, Mass Audubon, and the New England Revolution.

Center for Human Development 50th-anniversary Celebration

Oct. 20: The Center for Human Development (CHD) will share a 50th-anniversary celebration dinner with the community at 5:30 p.m. at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. The event will feature keynote speaker Diana Chao, a youth mental-health activist and founder and executive director of Letters to Strangers, a global youth-for-youth mental-health nonprofit.

Chao’s story is one of hardship, creation, and healing. A first-generation Chinese-American from Los Angeles and a 2021 graduate from Princeton University, where she studied geosciences, history, and diplomacy, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 13 years old and is a suicide-attempt survivor as well as a suicide-loss survivor.

Chao founded Letters to Strangers (L2S) as a high-school sophomore. L2S is now a global youth-for-youth mental-health nonprofit impacting more than 35,000 people on six continents every year. For her work with L2S, Chao became the youngest recipient of NAMI’s Young Leader Award, was the youngest-ever winner of the Unilever Young Entrepreneurs Award, was named Oprah magazine’s 2019 Health Hero and one of 30 Global Teen Leaders in 2017 by Nile Rodgers’ We Are Family Foundation, and was the only American winner of the Global Changemakers 2019 cohort.

She will tell the audience at CHD’s celebration her personal story, from aspects of minority mental health — such as growing up below the poverty line with parents who didn’t speak English — to the power that even the smallest acts of kindness have had on her life. Incorporated within are strategies for maintaining mental well-being for ourselves and one another. Though her presentation has an underlying focus on youth, it is suitable for all audiences.

At the event, CHD will mark 50 years of serving people, families, and communities across Western Mass. and Connecticut. The celebration will feature a cocktail reception and dinner, along with an inspirational program, including remarks from President and CEO James Goodwin, the granting of the Founders Award, and Chao’s keynote address. Tickets to the event may be purchased at chd.org/50years.

Healthcare Heroes

Oct. 27: HCN and BusinessWest will honor eight individuals and groups as Healthcare Heroes for 2022 at a celebration dinner at the Log Cabin Banquet and Meeting House in Holyoke.

The Healthcare Heroes class of 2022, profiled in this issue of HCN, and the categories they represent are: Helen Caulton-Harris, director of Health and Human Services, city of Springfield (Lifetime Achievement); Mark Paglia, chief operating officer, MiraVista Behavioral Health Center (Administrator); Dr. Philip Glynn, director of Medical Oncology, Mercy Medical Center (Provider); Dr. Paul Pirraglia, division chief, General Medicine and Community Health, Baystate Health (Collaboration); ServiceNet’s Enrichment Center & Strive Clinic and its partners at Springfield College and UMass Amherst (Collaboration); the Addiction Consult Service at Holyoke Medical Center (Community Health); Dr. Sundeep Shukla, chief, Department of Emergency Medicine, Baystate Noble Hospital (Emerging Leader); and the Elaine Marieb Center for Nursing and Engineering Innovation (Innovation).

The Healthcare Heroes program is being sponsored by presenting sponsors Elms College and Baystate Health/Health New England, and partner sponsors Trinity Health Of New England/Mercy Medical Center, American International College, and MiraVista Behavioral Health Center.

Tickets cost $85 each, and tables of 10 or 12 are available. Visit businesswest.com/healthcare-heroes/healthcare-heroes-tickets to reserve a spot.