Partners for Success

Making a Difference in our Communities

Below are some stories about real people whose lives have been transformed with the help of programs and services from Partners for Community and its affiliates and, most importantly, through their own hard work.

VISTA Spotlight

Bhutanese Learn For A Better Life

The New England Farm Worker’s Council, Inc. AmeriCorps VISTA program has been supporting faith based organizations in their capacity building projects  over the last seven years in Holyoke and Springfield, MA.  We are proud to provide opportunities for our local residents to serve within their communities on projects that address poverty.   Providence Ministries  has highlighted one of our hardworking volunteers in their Winter 2011  Newsletter.  On behalf of New England Farm Workers’ Council and the VISTA Program staff and volunteers we congratulate Kathleen Bailes for her hard work and commitment to serving her community. Read newsletter article.

Creative Writing Winners-NEFWC Family Place Shelter

In July of this year Homes for Families, an organization dedicated to finding ways to end family homelessness, sponsored a statewide creative writing contest. It was open to parents and children who are or have experienced homelessness.  Entrants were encouraged to write anything they wanted, short story, poem essay, etc., that would describe what homelessness means for them. 
New England Farm Workers’ Councils’ Family Place Shelter staff, Desiree Parker, Grisel Lebron, Waleska Santos and Gisela Davila worked with shelter families to get their submissions in by the July 20th deadline.  Several children and a few adults submitted some very wonderful entries. We are pleased to announce that two of our children’s entries were selected as winners! 
  • Tailor, aged 10 won in the 7-11 year old category for her line poem entitled “Activities,”  
  • Chris, aged 13 won for his entry titled “13 Bad Things That Happened to Me” in the 12 – 17 year old category.
Both families have been fortunate to have found permanent housing since the contest and we wish them well.
Please visit for families contest winners.html for more details.

WIA Youth Take Junior Achievement Challenge

Press Release:
On Wednesday, May 5th Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts held its second Student Business Plan Challenge. Students from the New England Farm Worker Youth Program, Easthampton High School and Minnechaug Regional High School, completed JA’s newest program, JA Be Entrepreneurial, and then competed in the JA Student Business Plan Challenge. The program was funded by a joint grant from the MassMutual Young Professional Society (YPS) and Latino ERGs.
Five students from the New England Farm Workers Youth program worked with JA President, Jennifer Connolly to learn about entrepreneurship and prepare for the competition. In addition to the PowerPoint presentation, the students created a one-minute video ad and a video pitch for investors. The students formed a company, Nature Fresh, and developed an innovative product, the Scented Aquaterrium, that brought together fresh scents, color, light, fish and plants in beautiful vases. Members of Nature Fresh include Jose Bermudez, Jacqueline Calabrese, Marelyn Escalera, Yanitzie Gore, and Jaqueline Hull. Nature Fresh was supported by Ana West, from the New England Farm Workers Youth Program.

The competition was fierce and the businesses were innovative and well presented. In the end, the Panelists, students and audience selected Nature Fresh as the winner of the competition. There was a tie for second between Mighty 8 from Easthampton High and Skalbite Farm from Minnechaug Regional High School. The top presenters received a certificate and a gift card.

Rowing Machines: Young Parents Find Support and Self-Esteem in an Unlikely Place

In the Corporation for Public Management's Young Parents Program, participants are often learning new things, even new vocabulary words, but in May of 2009, they were practically speaking a foreign language, quizzing each other on terms like feathering, square up, and weigh-enough.

This technical terminology was one of the last things the young women needed to learn before they were officially allowed out on the water of the Connecticut River as the Young Parents Program first-ever rowing team.

YPP teammates rowing on the Connecticut RiverFeathering means place your oar up so it glides gently on the water. Squaring up means pleace your oar sideways. Weigh-enough is another word for stop what you are doing. Once we learned all the terms and the strokes, we only has one more thing to work on – being a team,” explains team member Kellyanne Hollingshead.

The group quickly learned that the terms and the strokes were easy compared to the teamwork needed to get a rowboat to move through the water.

The team quickly advanced through practice, trust and team-building, and this past August, actually competed in the Holyoke Regatta, racing teams from all around Massachusetts. The team had an impressive showing, coming in third place. But clearly, the young women had won just by participating.

The YPP rowing team and coaches smile for the camera“I felt so excited to see my family and friends cheering for me. I will never forget the great time I had on that day,” exclaims Nadine Amaro. “It was one of the best experiences of my life.”

“The support of all of the people who showed up was incredible,” says Hollinshead. The team earned medals and received flowers.

For the young parents, rowing taught lessons in both teamwork and self-confidence, lessons that clearly hit home.

“If I could tell other young parents about joining a team, I would tell them that they could learn many new things. Open your eyes to new opportunities and explore,” urges Biance Rivera.

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