June 7, 2023 -Chicopee- In an award event at the Chicopee Boys and Girls Club, Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni presented eight local non-profits with community support grants totaling $62,000.
Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni, stated: “We are delighted and proud to provide funding to very worthy organizations doing important work to help people here in Hampden County. Through our diligent efforts, this money is ordered forfeited by the court and comes from the illegal narcotics trade, which, due to this program, is now being redirected to help kids in our communities stay safe and avoid crime. It is a wonderful way to turn negative forces into positive ones for our community.”
This year’s recipients are:
Boys and Girls Club of Chicopee: $4,833 To assist the Boys and Girls Club of Chicopee in reconstructing their outdoor basketball court. The outdoor court which has been around for many years and shows its age, is being removed, replaced, and expanded by a new full and half-court facility. The new courts will be named in honor of Chicopee Police Officer Angela Santiago, who passed away tragically almost three years ago in June of 2020. The funds will be used to purchase a new bleacher and outdoor scoreboard.
New North Citizen’s Council: $8,000 For the Deborah Hunt Prevention Education Drop-in Center to assist individuals in accessing vital services such as: mental health, substance use treatment, recovery support, and covid-19 screenings. The funds will help individuals with transportation to treatment programs, access to telehealth screenings with care providers, as well as socks, gloves, hats, and hygiene kits.
Pioneer Valley Riverfront Club: $3,216 To knock down barriers to inclusion for underserved youth. The PVRC is dedicated to connecting residents of Springfield to health and active waterfront recreation. Funds will be used for local area residents’ Free Family Fridays by providing free kayak rentals and safety equipment. The program provides a fun, safe experience on the water in Springfield. For many participants this is their first exposure to on water recreation.
Springfield Together Inc.: $13,000 Springfield together, inc. is a non-profit organization aiming to improve life ‘s realities by providing opportunities to achieve success through youth development, education, athletics, and social and community engagement with youth and families. With the assistance of their community partner, Inter Produce, they will continue their existing project targeting food insecurity. Money will be used for three food giveaways over the winter. Each giveaway will include 200 boxes a fresh fruits, vegetables, pasta, and bread for local families in need.
Western Mass Youth Flag Football Organization: $10,981 A co-ed youth flag football program provides student athletes with mentorship on and off the field and encourages good academic performance as it directly effects how players are able to learn and communicate on the field. The program caters to youth ages 8 to 17 years old who are interested in being part of a flag football program that strives to provide a fun environment, and to learn the basics of flag football; along with teamwork and good sportsmanship in a safe atmosphere. The program offers both recreational and competitive leagues in our community throughout the year. The grant will fund field rentals and equipment.
Academic Leadership Association of Greater Springfield: $9,000 This community youth program empowers youth to make positive changes within themselves and in their community through mentoring, literacy, and self-advocacy while addressing their social and emotional needs. This is done through caseworkers serving as school based mentors and advocates by providing supportive interventions to help students and staff. The mentoring program bridges the gap between school, family, and the community. Funding will go towards drug and alcohol awareness, as well as engaging and interactive activities to supplement a 6 week summer camp for youth.
Springfield Ballers: $8,600 Providing safe and affordable opportunities to youth in athletics through programs that promote academic achievement and overall health and wellness. The Springfield Ballers offers youth and families in low income areas in greater Springfield with affordable sports opportunities. The grant will fund a golf program, as well as a summer basketball league by purchasing equipment, transportation, and gym fees.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampden County: $5,000 The long-term mentoring program matches youth in one-to-one mentoring relationships requires a great deal of outreach and recruitment of volunteers. These volunteers make a commitment to spend at least 8 hours a month with their mentee for a minimum of one year. The goal of the program is to prevent drug use and alcohol abuse, as well as involvement and other types of juvenile crime. The grant will assist in the efforts in recruiting mentors through purchasing materials and boosting the agencies profile at community events.
The District Attorney’s community support grant program is dedicated to working with non-profit organizations in Hampden County to foster drug education and anti-drug programs, along with neighborhood crime prevention initiatives. As part of this initiative, the Hampden District Attorney’s Office makes funds available through a discretionary donation process that provides monetary support for important community-based prevention efforts. Under Massachusetts’ drug forfeiture law, district attorneys’ offices are allowed to expend funds received by way of drug forfeiture orders for the purposes of drug rehabilitation, drug education, and other anti-drug or neighborhood crime watch programs.