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Blood Drive/Job Fair on December 11 in Holyoke: Give Life—and Learn About Our Career Opportunities

It’s not every day that we do something that has lifesaving impact, but a blood donation may give someone a second chance at life.

And it’s not that common for two organizations to combine a Blood Drive and a Job Fair into one event, but that’s exactly what the American Red Cross and Gándara Center are doing on Tuesday, December 11, from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Gándara’s offices at 80 Commercial Street in Holyoke. You can donate blood to help your community—and also learn about career opportunities at Gándara Center, which provides residential, mental health, substance use, and preventative services to Hispanics, African Americans, and other culturally diverse populations.

Blood Drive

Every two seconds someone in America needs blood, but each year fewer and fewer people are donating. In fact, the nation has been facing a critical blood shortage since this past summer because of a rise in demand—much of it due to the increased number of complex therapies such as chemotherapy, heart surgeries, and organ transplants, which require large amounts of blood products, including platelets and plasma, according to the American Red Cross.

The blood type in highest demand is type O (positive or negative), which is most frequently requested by hospitals to treat a range of patients from trauma victims to premature babies. About 45% of people in the U.S. have type O blood. But the percentage is higher among Hispanics (57%) and African Americans (51%).

Adding to the shortage is the fact that minorities donate blood at substantially lower rates than whites, which is especially unfortunate because blood donated by Hispanics and African Americans may even carry a rare variant that can save the lives of others with that same variant.

Simply put, if you are Hispanic and you give blood, you could potentially save the life of a friend, relative, or acquaintance in the Hispanic community. Likewise, African American recipients of blood transfusion, such as sickle cell disease patients—along with general hospitalized patients—have a better chance of receiving phenotype-matched red blood cell units when there is a significant percent of blood products in inventory from African American donors, according to a study by the National Blood Foundation and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Those interested in giving blood on December 11 can make an appointment ahead of time to avoid waiting by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or by clicking here.

Job Fair

Are you looking for a rewarding job that makes a difference in the lives of others? Gándara Center is hiring, especially in response to the opioid crisis and the increased need for substance use and mental health treatments. New open positions include Bilingual Clinician (Master’s Level), Peer Mentor, Addiction Recovery / Residential Counselor, Community Health Worker, Direct Care Professional / Adult Residential Care, Juvenile Correctional Counselor, Medical Assistant, Part-time Marketing and Development Assistant, Residential Counselor / Youth Residential Care, and Therapeutic Mentor.

Comprehensive benefits to full-time employees include competitive health and dental insurance, paid vacations, 11 paid holidays, 8 discretionary days, 403(b) retirement plan, free life insurance, and free long/short-term disability.

Gándara Center serves more than 11,000 children, adults, and families from all backgrounds every year at more than 45 locations across Massachusetts. Our agency, with more than 800 employees, provides a progressive, team-based environment with many other exciting job opportunities as well. If you are ready to work in an environment where caring is a way of life, you might just be the kind of person Gándara Center is looking for.

For more information, contact Lisa Brecher at lbrecher@gandaracenter.org or 413-296-6214.

 

By |November 9th, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Blood Drive/Job Fair on December 11 in Holyoke: Give Life—and Learn About Our Career Opportunities

Community Narcan Trainings to be Offered in Spanish Nov. 7 and 13: SPREAD THE WORD!

Overdose prevention education is critical for community health and well-being, especially during the nation’s growing opioid crisis. The Gándara Center has partnered with Tapestry, a nonprofit community-based healthcare provider, to offer Narcan trainings this fall with the intent of empowering community members, active injection drug users, families and friends to save lives.

We’re received a lot of positive feedback about our first four October trainings in English in Westfield, Ludlow, Palmer, and Chicopee, where attendees learned about rescue breathing, what Narcan is, and how to administer it. Narcan will continue to be distributed during our two November events in Spanish.

Entrenamiento de Narcan en Español

Gándara, as the statewide leader in providing substance use and mental health treatments to Latinos, is committed to providing Spanish speaking trainings to make the Narcan events more accessible to the local Latino community.

The Latino and African-American populations experience some of the fastest growth rates of confirmed opioid-related deaths in Massachusetts. According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, from 2014 through 2016 opioid-related deaths among Latinos more than doubled in the state, a rate higher than any other demographic. African-Americans were the only demographic to see a rise in opioid-related deaths from 2016 to 2017. As such, the Gándara Center is dedicated to using the available data to identify engaging and appropriate solutions, and believes Narcan training should be accessible to everyone in the community.

If you know people who would benefit from Narcan training in Spanish, please share this important, potentially life-saving opportunity to them!

All are welcome to attend, and all trainings are free. Childcare, as well as light refreshments, will be available at the Spanish-speaking events in November.

Community Narcan Trainings in Spanish

Wednesday, November 7
Holyoke Public Library
250 Chestnut St.
Holyoke, MA
5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, November 13
Chestnut Middle School
355 Plainfield St.
Springfield, MA
5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.

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(Above) Nellie Maldonado, assistant director for program administration at Tapestry Health, holds a Narcan training on October 18 at the Westfield Athenaeum.

By |November 2nd, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Community Narcan Trainings to be Offered in Spanish Nov. 7 and 13: SPREAD THE WORD!

Gándara Center Partners with Tapestry to Provide Community Narcan Trainings

Overdose prevention education is critical for community health and well-being, especially during the nation’s growing opioid crisis. The Gándara Center has partnered with Tapestry, a nonprofit community-based healthcare provider, to offer Narcan trainings this fall with the intent of empowering community members, active injection drug users, families and friends to save lives. Attendees will learn about rescue breathing, what Narcan is, and how to administer it. Narcan will be distributed during the events.

The Latino and African-American populations experience some of the fastest growth rates of confirmed opioid-related deaths in Massachusetts. According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, from 2014 through 2016 opioid-related deaths among Latinos more than doubled in the state, a rate higher than any other demographic. African-Americans were the only demographic to see a rise in opioid-related deaths from 2016 to 2017.  As such, the Gándara Center is dedicated to using the available data to identify engaging and appropriate solutions. Gándara, as the statewide leader in providing substance use and mental health treatments to Latinos, is committed to providing Spanish speaking trainings to make the Narcan events more accessible to the local Latino community.

All are welcome to attend, and all trainings are free. Childcare, as well as light refreshments, will be available at the Spanish-speaking events in November.

trainings narcan

By |October 16th, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Gándara Center Partners with Tapestry to Provide Community Narcan Trainings

Read Our October Newsletter Online!

Check out Gándara Center’s October Newsletter online. You can read about our free community Narcan trainings—including Spanish-speaking trainings—in partnership with Tapestry, a nonprofit community-based healthcare provider.

Also in the newsletter: a the myths and misconceptions of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and the ways Gándara’s Childhood Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI) services help families with children diagnosed with ADHD.

In addition, Gándara Center is seeking sponsors for our Aventura! Summer Camp Scholarship. You can also read about work anniversaries of several employees at Gándara, including Mary Gustafson and Rachel Garfi; how Gándara Center programs across the state celebrated National Recovery Month; an anonymous donation that provided our Impact Center in Springfield with backpacks and supplies; and our Springfield Family Resource Center was honored by Governor Charlie Baker for its Hurricane Marie relief efforts.

Read the newsletter at https://mailchi.mp/gandaracenter/october-newsletter.

By |October 16th, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Read Our October Newsletter Online!

ADHD Awareness Month: Dispelling the Myths

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is an often misunderstood condition due to common misconceptions. This neurobehavioral condition is usually first diagnosed in childhood, often lasts into adulthood, and is marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity.

The symptoms, such as difficulty remaining still for long periods of time and being easily distracted, are common to all young children in general, but those with ADHD exhibit hyperactivity and inattention that is noticeably greater than expected for their age and create problems functioning at home, in the classroom, or with friends.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, five percent of American children have ADHD—but the Centers for Disease Control estimate that 10.6 percent of American children between the ages of four and 17 have the disorder. Partly because of the myths and misconceptions about ADHD—and in an effort to provide information that is reliable—October was declared ADHD Awareness Month in 2004 by the U.S. Senate.

ADHD is one of the primary diagnoses seen by clinicians at Gándara Center’s In-Home Behavioral Services (IBHS), according to IBHS Director Melissa Morrissey.

In the 2018 Fiscal Year (June 30, 2017-July 1, 2018), of the 1,297 clients enrolled in the Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI) program at Gándara Center, 74 clients were diagnosed with ADHD (5.7 percent) and received multiple services through the year in the agency’s Brockton, Fitchburg, Holyoke, Roxbury, Springfield, and Taunton locations.

Disparities in Diagnosis and Treatment

In the past 20 years, the number of children diagnosed with ADHD has nearly doubled, which many attribute to the condition in the past not being studied as extensively and therefore often went unrecognized. Indeed, the term ADHD didn’t appear in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders until 1987. Nowadays, neuroimaging studies provide visible evidence of the ways the disorder affects the brain. “In the past, I don’t think there was enough education for parents about the disorder and what it means, so many children in the past were simply seen as kids with behavioral issues rather than what was really occurring with the ADHD,” said Morrissey.

According to a study released last August by the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, the significant increase in ADHD diagnoses over that past two decades was partly due to its climbing rate among minorities: the rise was most pronounced in minority groups, suggesting that better access to mental health treatment through the Affordable Care Act may have played a role in the increase.

But disparities in access to mental health care for minorities persist. Nationally, studies have shown that people of color—black and Latino in particular—are still much less likely to get clinical treatment for ADHD for several reasons, including a lack of knowledge among minority parents, the lack of bilingual mental health providers, and the need for cultural familiarization in clinical practices.

Morrissey said that in some cases the condition is also underdiagnosed because it can appear like other medical conditions, including anxiety disorders, oppositional defiant disorder, learning disabilities, and bipolar disorder. “I think it tends to have similar features of other disorders, which may make it underdiagnosed at times,” said Morrissey.

Of the Gándara Center In-Home Behavioral Services clients diagnosed with ADHD, half of them have a co-occurring disorder such as a mood, depressive, or anxiety disorder, said Morrissey. Korie Johnson, director of education support services for the Gándara Youth Development Center in Holyoke, said many of the youth that come to the center have ADHD and suffer from trauma. Traumatic events in childhood can lead to anxiety disorders that can co-occur with ADHD.

Misconceptions about ADHD

“A common misconception about ADHD are that ‘it’s all in your head’; or that the person can control it,” said Morrissey. Actually, it is all in the client’s head—in that ADHD is a neurobiological condition, but the disorder can be successfully managed with proper treatment. In addition, she said many people think that there is only one type of ADHD when in fact there are three main categories: inattentive, hyperactive-impulsive, and combined. There are also different levels of ADHD severity.

Morrissey said there is also the misconception that “if you have trouble focusing, it means you have ADHD,” she said. “This is not true. There are many factors that contribute to one not being able to concentrate.” These include stress, anxiety, depression and lack of sleep.

There is also the mistaken belief that children simply outgrow ADHD in adolescence, according to Morrissey. While it diminishes for many in the teenage years, half or more carry it into adulthood. “Only boys have ADHD” is another myth, she pointed out. Both boys and girls can be diagnosed with ADHD, but it is more prevalent among boys (13.2 percent) than girls (5.6 percent), according to the CDC.

“Another misconception is that you must be hyperactive and unable to sit still to have ADHD,” said Morrissey. In fact, symptoms of inattention alone are enough to be diagnosed with ADHD—not all clients with the disorder are hyperactive. Also, some people mistakenly believe that all patients need is medication to address ADHD issues, when the reality is that best practice includes cognitive behavioral therapy combined with medication maintenance.

Managing ADHD

Some of the ways Gándara’s CBHI services help support families with children diagnosed with ADHD—and help families navigate special accommodations for them in school—include implementing behavioral interventions such as task analysis, daily routines, check lists, and setting reminders. “Gándara Center staff also assist parents in navigating the educational system in order to get the proper testing and supports the children may need,” said Morrissey.

ADHD doesn’t necessarily have to hold a person back: some of the world’s top athletes, entertainers, and businesspeople have the disorder, including Michael Phelps, Justin Timberlake, Will Smith, and Charles Schwab. They found success because they and their families learned all they could about ADHD—and then took charge of a treatment plan that works for them.

Want to know more about ADHD and ADHD Awareness Month? Visit adhdawarenessmonth.org.

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By |October 12th, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on ADHD Awareness Month: Dispelling the Myths

Sponsors Sought for Aventura! Summer Camp Scholarship

“I loved going swimming and being in nature. I also loved art and sports. Actually, I loved everything about camp!”

—Seven-year-old Natasja

Summer camp is not only fun for kids—it also helps build their self-confidence as they try new activities and make new friends. But not every child in Springfield has the chance to go to camp because of its cost. Parents who lack child care find it difficult to find affordable, safe opportunities for kids when school isn’t in session. Summer camp is the perfect environment for these youngsters, and it provides parents and caregivers with peace of mind that their child is being socially, emotionally, and physically engaged in a safe setting.

In 2016, Gándara Center first teamed up with the city of Springfield’s Department of Parks, Buildings, & and Recreation Management to offer the Aventura! Summer Camp Scholarship program for Springfield youth to attend one session of summer camp for free.

Here is what June, the mother of campers Hanna and Gabriella, had to say about the Aventura! Scholarship:

“I really appreciated this scholarship. My girls loved camp. It was great for their self-esteem—they tried new things and they learned how to deal different situations and how to get along with kids they didn’t know. Every day, when they got home, they talked about camp constantly, and I enjoyed hearing how their days went. And I liked the door-to-door service. I don’t drive, so having them picked up and dropped off also helped a lot. We’re already looking forward to next year’s summer camp.”

We need sponsors!

According to information collected from camp applications, a majority of families served by the scholarship program fell within in the “extremely low income,” “very low income,” and “low income” brackets. The Gándara Center is looking to its business colleagues to step up to the plate to help the agency send even more children to camp this year.

Simply put, Aventura! sponsors change young lives and help the community—their partnership truly makes a difference.

How do you become an Aventura! sponsor?

Print and fill out the PDF by Friday, April 5 and send it with your tax-deductible donation to:

Lisa Brecher
Director of Communications & Development
Gándara Center
147 Norman Street
West Springfield, MA  01089

Or choose to be invoiced later by emailing the sponsorship form to lbrecher@gandaracenter.org.

How will your sponsorship be recognized?

All Aventura! sponsors will be recognized as essential partners in providing this opportunity to the community. Our “Camp Director” and “Camp Counselor” sponsors will receive significant publicity and in all print and electronic marketing materials, including social media. Sponsors who would like to support the program at the “Friends” level will be acknowledged in all print and electronic marketing materials and receive thank-you letters from the children. Sponsors at the “Camper” level will be recognized on social media. All sponsors will be invited to an end-of-summer wrap-up session to see first-hand the benefits of their donor dollars.

Scholarship application and eligibility

Aventura! Scholarship applications will be available to Springfield area youth ages 5–18 beginning March 26. Parents will be required to complete the application and return it to the Gándara Center by Friday, April 19 and scholarship recipients will be announced during the week of April 22

Staff and campers

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By |October 12th, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Sponsors Sought for Aventura! Summer Camp Scholarship

Donation Provides Impact Center with Backpacks and Supplies

Thanks to a humble, anonymous donor, the Gándara Center is supplying its Impact Center in Springfield with 20 backpacks full of food, clothing, feminine hygiene products and much more. These are needed by the 16-21-year-old youths the agency serves who are, or at risk of becoming, homeless and may have mental health and/or substance use concerns.

Interested in making a similar donation to the Impact Center or another one of Gándra Center’s programs? Contact Lisa Brecher at lbrecher@gandaracenter.org or 413-296-6214.

The Impact Center, at 41 Taylor Street, offers:

  • Peer mentoring
  • Recovery navigation
  • Free WiFi
  • Book lounge
  • Media lab
  • Support groups
  • Benefits navigation
  • Housing resources
  • Resume building help
  • Help and wellness tips
  • Independent life skills coaching

The Impact Center is a place where youths can be themselves without judgement, get help in reaching their goals, advocate for their needs, and have some fun.

Check out the Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/impactaccesscenter/

By |October 15th, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Donation Provides Impact Center with Backpacks and Supplies

Springfield Family Resource Center Honored by Governor for Hurricane Relief

On September 6, Gándara’s Springfield Family Resource Center was given a Governor’s Citation in recognition of the work it has done for families displaced by Hurricane Maria.

Last October, the Family Resource Center hosted a clothing drive, provided necessities to those in need, helped evacuees find apartments in the area, and held an acupuncture clinic to help reduce the evacuees’ stress.

There were several Gándara Center hurricane relief efforts, including counseling services and a fundraiser for victims of the storm, as well as the #GandaraStandsWithPR assistance plan for employees’ families affected by the storm.

The Springfield Family Resource Center provides a number of resources for families in the Springfield community, including help with navigating through housing, education, courts and legal systems as well as health insurance, EBT and behavioral health services.

stands with pr

By |October 3rd, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Springfield Family Resource Center Honored by Governor for Hurricane Relief

Gándara’s Gustafson and Garfi Join the Decade(s) Club

Long-Serving Employees Cite Agency’s Role in Their Professional Growth

gustafson and garfi

Two longtime Gándara Center staff members recently celebrated important milestones: Mary Gustafson, program director at the Charles T. Grucci Youth Detention Center in Chicopee, marked 20 years with the agency, and Rachel Garfi, director of nursing for Adolescent and Family Services (AFS), was congratulated on her 10-year anniversary here.

And what better way to commemorate the occasion than with cake?

Both Mary and Rachel said there are many reasons why their careers have grown with the Gándara Center. They used the terms “family” and “team” to describe their relationships with their co-workers, and describe an organization that provides them with the support they need to succeed at their jobs.

Mary began her career with the Gándara Center in 1998 as an administrative assistant at the agency’s former Hispanic Group Home for youth in Springfield. As she gained experience, the program director, Charles T. Grucci, invited her to accompany him at Department of Youth Services and provider meetings, where she learned the inner workings of the department. “I was offered a paid scholarship through the department for a P21 Professional Youth Worker Credential and subsequently became the assistant director of a group home, and then at the Alternative Options Detention Center,” recalled Mary.

When Grucci retired, Mary applied for and became the program director at the newly-named Charles T. Grucci Youth Detention Center. She is currently training as a member of the DYS PYD (Positive Youth Development) Champions group, which engages young people to serve as partners in their treatment and helps orient new employees.

Mary said the favorite part of her job is working with the youth. “I also love my team,” she said. “I am fortunate to have many experienced and talented co-workers.”

Mary’s talents were recently recognized with a 2018 DYS Commissioner’s Award, which will be presented to her on September 28. “Humbled,” by the honor, Mary pointed out that “it takes a team” to be successful. “I had a great tutor in Mr. Grucci,” she said. “Our admin team, clinicians, supervisors, support, and line staff amaze me with their innate ability to engage, and understand the youth and the problems they face on the streets. Dr. Glenn Lowery, our clinical director, has been the guiding influence in our progress as DYS has morphed into a youth-centered—rather than a correctional—system. I feel this award truly belongs to the Gándara Grucci Center family as a whole.”

Rachel started as a part-time nurse at AFS, but then she ended up taking on the role of director of nursing. “The job has evolved as we have taken on more programs, so the department has grown,” she said. As for nursing, for many years Rachel was a one-woman show, but now she has two other nurses working with her.

Rachel doesn’t hesitate when asked what she likes most about her job: working with the kids. “I like to be able to make a difference and help educate them on their medical needs,” she said.

When asked what makes the Gándara Center so special that she would spend such a long portion of her career here, she replied that the agency is simply “a great place to work. I feel like all of us in the AFS division are like a family, especially the administrative team. They are very supportive.”

By |September 26th, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Gándara’s Gustafson and Garfi Join the Decade(s) Club

Aventura! Summer Camp Scholarship: Making Memories for Springfield Youth

Children are back in school, and for many of them, recollections of their summer fun are becoming a distant dream with each passing day. But for 40 recipients of the Gándara Center’s Aventura! Summer Camp Scholarship, memories were made in July and August that will last a lifetime. Scholarship recipients were given the opportunity to participate in either the city of Springfield’s Summer Enrichment Programs or Camp STAR Angelina in Forest Park.

“I made a lot of new friends,” said 14-year-old Hanna on a hot August day at Camp STAR Angelina. “My favorite part of camp was playing sports and games like capture the flag. It was a lot of fun.”

The Aventura! Summer Camp Scholarship Program, a partnership between Gándara and the city of Springfield’s Department of Parks, Buildings, & and Recreation Management (DPBRM), was created last year to offer Springfield youth age 5-18 the opportunity to attend one summer camp session for free. The scholarship has been offered for two straight summers, and its success was evident during a recent visit to Camp STAR Angelina. Despite the heat, there was no lack of energy and enthusiasm among the campers, who participated in a plethora of extracurricular activities and got the chance to enjoy the outdoors with nature hikes and swimming pool sessions.

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Hanna’s sister, 10-year-old Gabriella, said she especially enjoyed her group’s field trips, which included the thrills of zip-lining, negotiating a high ropes course, and paddling a kayak at Camp Wilder in Springfield’s Sixteen Acres neighborhood. Plant identification was also a part of the campers’ activities during nature hikes in the woods of Forest Park. “I learned what poison ivy looks like and how to avoid it,” she said. And what would Gabriella be doing if she weren’t at summer camp? “Probably sitting at home and watching TV,” she said with a shrug.

Hanna and Gabriella’s mother, June, said the Camp STAR Angelina experience boosted both her daughters’ self-confidence. “I really appreciated this scholarship. My girls loved camp. It was great for their self-esteem—they tried new things and they learned how to deal different situations and how to get along with kids they didn’t know,” she said. “Every day, when they got home, they talked about camp constantly, and I enjoyed hearing how their days went. It’s tough to find affordable opportunities for kids to have fun when school isn’t in session, so this scholarship definitely helped. And I liked the door-to-door service. I don’t drive, so having them picked up and dropped off also helped a lot.” June said her daughters particularly liked the camp’s “theme days,” especially “fun hat” day, “fun hair” day, and “tie dye t-shirt making” day. “We’re already looking forward to next year’s summer camp,” she said.

Eight-year-old Rosaria’s favorite theme day was “Halloween” day, when she came to camp in a unicorn costume. Chris, 10, was adamant about his favorite day: “water games” day. “I liked getting wet and going on the slip-and-slide,” he said—although a close second for him was “ooey gooey” day, during which campers made their own “slime.” Six-year-old Ruby thought the best part of camp was “relaxing in the pool.” Nine-year-old Noemi and her sister Leila, 10, also liked swimming the most, although Noemi enjoyed arts and crafts as well, and Leila was a big fan of the group nature walks. “I was great to learn about the different kinds of trees and animals,” said Leila. “I also saw turtles and ducks in the pond. I saw a deer running once, and we found deer footprints in the mud.”

DPBRM Director Patrick Sullivan said his department is proud of the partnership formed with the Gándara Center to ensure Springfield children have a safe place to play and grow emotionally during the summer season. “The Gándara Center has opened many avenues for families by extending the ability to attend Camp STAR Angelina,” he said. “The Aventura! Scholarship has opened new doors for families that may not have the opportunity to send their children to a day camp,” he said.“We look forward to many more years of working with Gándara and creating new opportunities for families.”

Summer camp is a unique situation during which kids engage in a community of peers and learn how to interact in a less-structured environment than school, according to Krista Stott, DPBRM therapeutic recreation specialist. “They get to be themselves, join a community, and have fun,” said Stott. “The Aventura! Scholarship is a great idea, because many of these kids come from low-income households, and some of our campers are in foster care. Without the scholarship, many of them wouldn’t be able to attend.”

Laura Walsh, therapeutic recreation coordinator for the same city department, said that because Camp STAR Angelina is an inclusive program that serves children with and without disabilities who learn to accept one another for who they are, “and all the kids understand and support each other no matter what,” she said.

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The genesis for the Aventura! program was the Gándara Center reaching out to parents in the community: many of them said they lacked not only child care during the summer months, but also fun, educational, and safe activities for their children. “The scholarship is very appreciated, because we are looking to keep costs down as much as we can, and we know that camp can be a financial hardship,” said Walsh. “We love that we have been able to partner with Gándara for the last couple of years to include as many campers as possible.”

Aventura! would not be possible without the support of Baystate Health through its Community Benefits Program. “Baystate Health is proud to support Aventura! and help to provide the opportunity for Springfield youth, with limited to no financial resources, to access a memorable and rewarding summer camp experience,” said Annamarie Golden, director of Community Relations, Baystate Health. “Summer camps help to build all around resilience in children and foster new friendships, confidence, independence, and a sense of belonging. Most importantly, summer camps provide parents and caregivers with peace of mind that their child is being socially, emotionally, and physically engaged in a safe setting.”

Last year the Gándara Center awarded 105 scholarships. It awarded 40 this year and the agency’s hope is to expand scholarship opportunities to the 2017 level—and even higher—so in the summer it can provide a variety of healthy, educational, and recreational opportunities to even more children and youth in the community. Your donations will help make the summer camp a reality for young people whose families may not be able to afford it.

For more information on Aventura! Scholarship opportunities for campers—or to donate to the scholarship—contact Lisa Brecher, director of communications and development, at 413-296-6214 or lbrecher@gandaracenter.org.

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By |September 20th, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Aventura! Summer Camp Scholarship: Making Memories for Springfield Youth