Return to flip book view

March 2024 Now Guide

Page 1

Now GuideMarch 2024 Find new success in 2024Nicole Polite, founder and CEO of The MH GroupStaffing and Recruiting firm

Page 2

WELCOMEThank you to the participating audiences andreaders of the Now Guide. In our first edition,several hundred people clicked in to check out theguide. Over the last month, we have heard storiesabout meeting new people and learning aboutnew resources.We created the Now Guide to connected, a virtualcommunity. Let’s continue to read with interestand reach out to the organizations featured. Also,let’s continue to submit information that will behelpful to all. It is time to build new paths to findnew success. If you need to connect with new and existingaudiences in Western Massachusetts and buildyour opportunity to share your messages withdiverse readers and inclusive audiences, theHuman Service Forum and UnityFirst invite youto participate in this inaugural effort to connect usall. Please let us know what you or yourorganization is doing. The Next deadline inMarch 25, 2024. Send information to:nowguide2024@gmail.comThank you from Rebecca Coolong andJanine Fondon Janine FondonRebecca CoolongYour heart is full of fertileseeds, waiting to sprout. Morihei Ueshiba

Page 3

OrganizationsRiver East School toCareersAlianzaUCP of WesternMassachusettsGandara CenterSunshine VillageEducationPaula Starnes and YESServicesEpiphany Glam Studiosin Springfield, MAIn the issueBusinessResourcesBlack BusinessAssociation of Amherst AreaHub International ofNew EnglandThe MH Group -Staffing andRecruitmentTraining/WorkforceNCCJ- DEI ConsultingHuman Service ForumEntertainmentEventsUnited WayEvent - March 8Misty Blues Band withGina Coleman - inNorth Adams- March 9African AmericanFemale Professors -March 28Rhode Island BlackFilm FestivalApril 4-7InspirationBoston: Urban Farming InstituteInspired Column:Feature by Tiffany Grant (above) onAmani Nzinga Jabbar

Page 4

Nicole Polite is the founder andCEO of The MH Group Staffing andRecruiting firm in Massachusettsand Connecticut specializing inplacing professionals in variousindustries with client companies.She believes there is a person forevery position and a position forevery person. The MH Group recruits and placestop talent in various workplaces,from a call center environment to a“C-Suite” management positions intemporary, temp-to-hire, contract,and permanent placementpositions. “We have placed thousands ofindividuals in meaningful careerswith reputable and growingemployers,” said Polite. “However,it is essential for job seekers to beready, flexible, and prepared. Thejob market may offer manyopportunities, but candidates mustknow their skills and what’s new inthe workplace.”Finding your future in achanging world. Impact of AIFor example, many workers and jobcandidates think about how AI willimpact their future. According torecent research, AI will create, notdiminish, workforce opportunity.A 2023 Gartner survey found that 22%of employees expected AI to replacetheir jobs in the next five years.Despite this anxiety, Gartner finds thatin the short- to medium-term, GenAIwon’t replace many jobs. Still, it willlead jobs to be redesigned to includenew responsibilities, such asinteracting with GenAI tools. So, wemust all begin to think about ourpreparation and create self-learningplans for any age or stage.Creating resumes that documentyour skills and measurements of yoursuccessThe world of resumes is also findingnew life in the world of work. Resumeshave become more critical to tellingthe story of a job candidate, existingprofessional, or executive. One professional resumewriter has noted theimportance of highlightingcritical skills, transferableattributes, and corecompetencies: “In 2024, thefocus is shifting towards skills-based resumes that highlightcore competencies andachievements. Job seekers areencouraged to showcase theirexpertise prominently,providing a quick snapshot oftheir value proposition topotential employers. Tailoringyour resume to emphasize keyskills related to the job youseek is now more critical thanever.” Remember, it is not justwhere you work but what youhave done.As we all move forward to findour future, it is also great tohave an open mind to newcareers and prepare yourselffor future

Page 5

Nicole Polite is founder and CEOof The MH Group Staffing andRecruiting firm.Click and play the videoOUR MISSION IS TO RAISE THE BARWe accomplish this through the diversity of talent and expertise-- and by exceeding customer expectations in the marketplace withdedication, hard work, commitment, and excellent communication. We deliver a dependable workforce while providing opportunities forindividuals in search of gainful employment.

Page 6

Giving Gap publishes first report onthe State of Black Nonprofits in the U.S Giving Gap, the largest online platform of Black-foundednonprofits in the United States, has published a landmarkresearch report-- State of Black Nonprofits Report: Shining aLight on What Donors and Funders Need to Know. Keyfindings from the report include:Black nonprofit leaders have personal experiences relatedto their nonprofit's mission, fueling their commitmenttoward their organization's causes.Despite their dedication, many leaders need to supplementtheir nonprofit income with additional jobs due tofinancial constraints.The top need identified by these organizations is financialsupport for general operations, highlighting the need forincreased investments.Despite momentum and increased awareness driven by the2020 Black Lives Matter protests, the nation's largestfoundations still devote only about 2% to the Black community.Yet, Black nonprofits continue to prove that investments intheir organizations help address racial disparities, create moreequitable and just support services and programs, and achievestrong community conditions."The impact of Black nonprofits on local communities isimmeasurable," said Christina Lewis, Giving Gap co-founderand board chair. "This report spotlights the need to increaseinvestment in Black nonprofits that are empoweringcommunities and are at the forefront of racial equity andjustice work."The 2024 State of Black Nonprofits Report was made possibleby the participation of nonprofit members and the generoussupport of funders Fidelity Charitable® Catalyst Fund, the Bill& Melinda Gates Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.To read the report, visit: andPerspectives

Page 7

Women of Influence+, a leading global organizationcommitted to advancing gender equity in the workplace,released its groundbreaking findings from its survey,"Exploring the Impact of Ageism on Women in theWorkplace." Ageism is overwhelmingly present in workplacesacross the globe. According to the findings, nearly 80 per cent(77.8 per cent) of women surveyed have encountered age-related discrimination in their careers, underscoring ageismas a critical yet often overlooked barrier to professionalgrowth. "Nearly 80 per cent of women encountering ageism in theworkplace is not just a statistic; it's a clear indication that weare facing a pervasive and systemic issue," said Dr. RumeetBillan, CEO, Women of Influence+. Not only does ageism exist, but it is also more visible than wemay want to believe.More than 80 per cent (80.7 per cent) have witnessedwomen in the workplace being treated differently becauseof their age.Almost half (46.2 per cent) report it to be an ongoing issue.40.7 per cent of respondents experienced age-baseddiscrimination within the first decade of theirprofessional journey.More than half (55.9 per cent) encountered ageism aftersurpassing 21 years in their career."Our survey sheds light on the hidden barriers many self-identifying women face, that not only hinder their careerprogression but also impact their confidence and well-being."The impact of age intersects with other facets of a person'sidentity, such as race, ability, and gender. Intersectionalitycan compound the negative effects of ageism, andrespondents are noticing this in their workplaces. Onerespondent shared, "Ageism is so intertwined with sexism, soit is hard to separate the two."Trends and Perspectives New Survey reveals that almost 80 per cent ofwomen face ageism in the workplace

Page 8

Thoughts: Massachusetts named a best state for womenIn 2024,according to a WalletHub survey,Massachusetts is considered one of the best states forwomen. The site notes that women represent morethan two-thirds of all minimum-wage workers in theU.S. While women make up nearly 51% of the U.S.population, they are only 25% of the Senate and 29% ofthe House of Representatives. To identify the top statesfor women, WalletHub compared the 50 states and theDistrict of Columbia across 25 key indicators of livingstandards for women. Massachusetts was number oneone the list.Massachusetts was first in the sub-categoryof women's health care and safety, and seventh foreconomic and social well-being. The Bay State has thelowest rate of uninsured women, the second-lowestfemale homicide rate and the third-highest lifeexpectancy at birth for women. New report on diversity, equity and inclusionClick and play the video

Page 9

Page 10

11Human ServiceForum offers 2024Workplace EquitySeries Session launches on ZoomMay 15 @ 9:00 am - 12:30 pm is a multi-session series fororganizations ready to takeaction in creating and /orenhancing their internal cultureof equity. HSF is bringing amultitude of voices to the tablewith a variety of engagingspeakers.With new topics for 2024, thisseries is great for those who havebeen working on their culture ofequity or for others who are justbeginning their journey.

Page 11

Since 1927, the NationalConference for Community andJustice (NCCJ) has served as adiversity, equity, and inclusion(DEI) anchor institute, acommunity convener, catalyst forchange, and collaborator forinnovation in DEI education tostrengthen communities. NCCJcelebrates the diversity of races,religions, cultures, genders,abilities, and sexual orientations. NCCJ works towards advancingequity, promoting justice, andbuilding inclusive communities inthe public and private sector. Weunderstand that life is complex,‘humaning’ is hard and it’s ourmission to create safe spaces to‘help humans human better,’together. NCCJEngaged, inclusiveand rooted incommunityMonique Lorenzo, NCCJPresident and CEO bringsher wealth of experiencein the areas of nonprofit C-suite and corporatemanagement. Lorenzo is a fierce Afro-Latina who has dedicatedover two decades as arelentless civil leader,tireless change agent, andfearless disrupter.

Page 12

We are proud to announce that we, theUrban Farming Institute (UFI), havepurchased the 1786 Fowler Clark EpsteinFarm at 487 Norfolk Ave in Mattapan - aproperty redeveloped by Historic BostonInc. (HBI) for UFI in 2018. The restoredproperty serves as headquarters and thenow-permanent home for UFI’s missionof building healthy communities throughthe development of urban farms and foodproduction. “The farm is home to us and has becomea special center for our farmers and ourneighbors,” said President and CEO ofUFI, Pat Spence. “Fresh food is vital to ahealthy community and from this placewe share our bounty and teach theprinciples of cultivation and growth.” Thepurchase was finalized on January 12,2024 for the sum of $1.4 million.”Urban Farming Institute PurchasesHistorical Fowler Clark Epstein Farm The property includes an educationalcenter, a greenhouse, office space, afarm stand, classrooms, and a teachingkitchen. UFI actively grows a widevariety of food on the site, such as,okra, collard greens, tomatoes, kale,and callaloo; all items in high demandin our community. “We want to extend our deepestgratitude to our partners, our funders,and to you, our UFI family,” Spencesaid. "The future of this historic placeis bright because so many people gaveselflessly to do more than we’d havebeen able to do by ourselves. Wecouldn't do this without yourcontinued love, support andgenerosity.”

Page 13

Page 14

Page 15

Getting to know our community

Page 16 of Western Mass has been providing services to people with disabilities throughout theBerkshires for over 60 years and has been growing rapidly within the Pioneer Valley for the pastseveral years. We pride ourselves in helping to provide a Life Without Limits to all of themembers we serve. We are seeking to expand our services further and are growing our team.Current openings include Registered Nurses, Service Navigators, and Direct Care Staff. Be a partof one of the fastest growing and most rewarding agencies. UCP of WesternMassachusettsThink about UCP for job opportunitiesthat make a difference

Page 17

Page 18

Join the Gandara Center today! Trabajo Tuesday is held every first Tuesday of everymonth. (See the information on the next page).Don’t miss your chance to learn about theorganization’s mission and the ample amount ofcareer opportunities awaiting you!Gandara Center - Jobs available

Page 19

Page 20

Visit us: www.sunshine.usOr, Sunshine Village provides opportunities for peoplewith developmental and intellectual disabilities,including those on the autism spectrum, to SHINE!Our programs – located in Chicopee, Agawam andThree Rivers - are warm and welcoming and ourclients are able to achieve amazing things thanksto the commitment of our stellar staff of caringprofessionals. LIVE AND LEARN: Our Life Engagement Services, alsoknown as Day Habilitation Programs, is a medically-basedmodel, offering services with a focus on developingfunctional life skills, enhancing social skills, improvingcoping strategies and increasing independence. Physical,speech and occupational therapies are incorporated intomusic, culinary, art and sport therapy programming. Inaddition to providing services at Sunshine Village's maincampus, the organization also operates community-basedsites in Three Rivers and Agawam. WORK AND EARN: Employment Services offers people avariety of paid work experience through supervised teams atlocal business settings. Additionally, staff work to placeindividuals directly into competitive jobs and withinentrepreneurial opportunities. SSV also holds a federalcontract that supports a commercial cleaning company thatmaintains the buildings and hangers at Westover Air ReserveBase. GIVE AND GROW: Community Based Day Services (CBDS) -operated at sites in Chicopee, Agawam and Three Rivers -offer individuals activities involving wellness, recreation,community engagement, technology, self-advocacy andpersonal development. Individuals on a Career Track arealso supported in professional development, entrepreneurialopportunities and volunteering to build their resumes andjob skills. Those on the Retirement Track are supported inhealthy aging with relationship building and life-longlearning activities. This program is designed to bothcompliment and act as a wrap-around support to both LifeEngagement and Work Services for individuals with complexneeds. In all locations and at all programs, SunshineVillage is committed to delivering on the promiseof a GREAT day, every day.Everyone SHINES at Sunshine Village Gina KosExecutive Director

Page 21

Page 22

“As a beneficiary of Dora'scare and phenomenalleadership example, it is anhonor to be a part of herlegacy of empowerment forwomen of all backgrounds,"says Dr. Latoya Bosworth,co-chair of the steeringcommittee and decades-longmentee of Dora. Dr. Bosworth is joined by co-chair, Giselle Gaines, whoadds, "It's a privilege to bepart of the Dora D. RobinsonWomen's LeadershipCouncil, celebrating atrailblazer's legacy. In ourcommitment to women'shealth, education, andfinancial empowerment,each woman on thecommittee brings uniquegifts and leadership.Together, we build on Dora’sfoundation, creating alasting legacy ofempowerment."The sold out event will beheld at Penthouse 650 at 1500Main Street in Springfield. Alimited number of tickets areavailable to sponsors. Tobecome a sponsor, pleasecontact Tracy Trial in that role, she championedopportunities for women to fulfilltheir philanthropic endeavors bysharing their talents, treasures, time,and leadership through the UnitedWay.After a period of inactivity, theCouncil is ready to begin anew, re-established to honor Robinson’sspirit and legacy, and to continue hervisionary work on behalf of womenand girls. A 13-member steeringcommittee guides the strategicdevelopment of the Council, and theMarch 8th kick-off event, whichcoincides with InternationalWomen’s Day, will serve as both apublic re-introduction and amembership drive.The United Way of PioneerValley is proud to present a kick-off event for the Dora D.Robinson Women’s LeadershipCouncil. The Dora D. RobinsonWomen’s Leadership Council isan affinity group of the UnitedWay of Pioneer Valley, and ismodeled on United WayWorldwide’s “Women United”program.Robinson co-founded theCouncil in 2014, when sheserved as President and CEO ofUWPV. As the first woman toserve the century-oldorganizationDr. Latoya BosworthGiselle GainesUnited Way of Pioneer Valley Women’s Day event on March 8re-launches Dora D. Robinson Women’s Leadership CouncilEvents

Page 23

Page 24

Page 25

The African American Female Professor AwardAssociation celebrates and honors AfricanAmerican female professors annually. FounderTraci Gaynor said, “We are passionate andcommitted to inclusion, equity, and change. Weappreciate the value of postsecondary educationas we work with college leadership, deans, andprovosts to ensure the college experience is fairfor both students and faculty.” The African American Female Professor AwardsAssociation believes that creating a multiculturalfaculty will build a healthy, stable, and all-encompassing learning atmosphere. In 2024, theorganization will celebrate its eighth year. Key events in 2024: the March Networking Event,the October Awards and College President Ball.Please join and support the African AmericanFemale Professor Awards Celebration in 2024, forthe March Networking Event, the OctoberAwards, and the College President Ball. 2024. Foradditional information,Visit us at | Call Traci Talbert 413-883-9631Event speaker: Dr. Karen-Louise (Rucks)Walker as Assistant Vice President ofAdvancement and Executive Director to theSTCC Foundation.EventsThursday, March 28, 2024 ( 6 pm) -Networking Event: Meet AfricanAmerican Female ProfessorsPan African Historical Museum1500 Main Street, Springfield, MAMarch 28, 2024Springfield

Page 26

Superintendent Dr. Paula StarnesSpringfield students deserve a Superintendent who has: Served on the Principal and Teacher Advisory Cabinet Exposed Springfield Public Schools corruption Defended students without fear of retaliation Challenged outdated curriculum Bought and renovated a Springfield Public School now known as YES academy57 School Street, Springfield, MA 01105 (413) 747-7004

Page 27

Tiffany Joseph is the founder, CEO, andowner of Grounded In Wellness 365 LLC,the one-stop-shop for everything healing,healthy, and holistic. “ I started thisbusiness about 8 years ago but I began mypersonal practice 15 years ago out of adeep need for healing and transformation.What I have learned over the many years Iwould love to share with all of you,” notesJoseph.She adds, “Grounded in Wellness is a placewhere you can find healing tools thatprovide mental, physical, and spiritualhealing. Grounded In Wellness 365provides a variety of services that cater toindividual and group needs; such asbreathwork, wellness education, medicinalherbal remedies, energy healing,meditation, movement, nutrition, andwellness coaching that allows anybody andeverybody to live more holistic andhealthier lives, every single day.” You can contact Tiffany formore information. You can also find herbusiness pages on Facebook and Instagramunder GroundedInWellness365.Grounded inWellness, the Black Business Associationof Amherst Area, are dedicated tothe growth and prosperity of ourmembers. Join us as we elevateblack businesses, drive economicprogress, and make a lastingimpact. Meet some of ourmembers in this special section. Pat Ononibaku President of theBlack Business Association ofAmherst area.

Page 28

I am thrilled to introduce you to Positively Africana, a one-of-a-kindauthentic handmade gift shop located at Thornes Market Place inNorthampton. We are passionate about celebrating the creativity, beauty,and rich cultural legacy of Africa. At Positively Africana, we offer a diverserange of products including handmade jewelry, home decor, accessories,high-quality clothing, vibrant athleisure wear, The Aimee Dolls, andenergetic fitness classes. Our brand is not just about providing exceptional products; it is aboutmaking a positive impact. We proudly support women entrepreneurs andartists in the Congo by donating 25% of ALL profits to them. By joining us,you become a part of a movement that honors and showcases the uniqueartistry and traditions of Africa. Our authentic handmade gift shop islocated at Level 2, Thornes Marketplace, 150 Main St, Northampton,MA.Our Group Fitness classes and workshops, they are hosted at StudioHelix, Level 3, Thornes Marketplace, 150 Main Street, Northampton, MA. To make shopping more convenient for our customers, we have launcheda user-friendly website that brings our products right to your doorstep.No matter where you are, we can ship our products across the country. Visit our website at to explore our collection and experience thewonders of African heritage. Emails: Phone number: 1-413-297-8010. The Carefree Cakery crew aims to bring you thebest, scratch-baked treats around. We have anarray of cakes, cupcakes, gluten free and vegancupcakes, cookies, brownies, cheesecake slices,and more in the shop every day. Any cake flavorcan be made GF or vegan upon request. We canbake and decorate all sorts of cakes, cupcakes, andother treats for your events of any size! We caterto people with all sorts of allergies because webelieve everyone deserves access to treats.Order your sweets today by calling (413)230-3141or emailing:

Page 29

kdqDesigns • Clay JewelsKathleen DeQuence AndersonHandcrafted art to wear, art for interior decor Jewelry and homedecorating art inspired by West, North and East Africa, Navaho,Pueblo and Inuit nations. From antiquity to now cultural groupshave used jewelry along with other forms of adornment to expresswhat they think is beautiful, to convey beliefs about the naturalworld and to show their status in society. Adornment bothconnects people and cultures while at the same time distinguishingone culture from another. Kathleen DeQuence Anderson, P.O. Box1078, Amherst, MA, 01004-1078 Monica Cage is a self-taught hairbraider who launched a business in highschool after following her passion forcreating art and spreading inspirationthrough her work. Crowned by Cage wasofficially founded in 2023 with theintent of celebrating natural hair and allof the creative ways it can promoteculture and individuality. Consistentwith perfecting her craft and buildingrelationships, Monica has successfullygrown her business, garnering loyalclients from all across the Five Colleges,the greater Western Massachusetts, andeven as far as Connecticut. Monica iscurrently pursuing a business degreewhile also serving on the board ofdirectors for the Black BusinessAssociation of Amherst Area where sheencourages other young people toexplore their entrepreneurial interests.Monica | Amherst MA BraiderBRAIDS | TWISTS | LOCSRead ALL Highlights@monica.cage(413) 461-6317Andrea Battle is a certified life coach.She publishes a blog about “scamming”which is soon to be a podcast! Themotivation is to give people anawareness of the many “scams” out inthe world. Contact: In my Own Voice P.O. Box 3025Amherst, MA 01004 (516)749-5056Inmyownvoice85@gmail.comWho I AM - I am a retired high schoolteacher who received the Long IslandSecondary School Teacher of the Yearaward from Long Island University in2009. I was in the corporate world ofadvertising sales for 10 years. I have aMaster's Degree in Chinese Studies. Forover 30+ years I have been a priest ofObatala in the Yoruba/Lukumi tradition.I lived in Taiwan when my daughter was 5and I've been all over the world and haveso many experiences to share. Andrea BattleCertified Life Coach

Page 30

Writer : Amani-Nzinga Jabbar’spassion forspreading hopeAuthor and ProfessorAmani Nzinga Jabbar a woman of courage andgiver of knowledge whoaids in the progressivetransformation of writers,with a focus on women ofcolor. She is 2024 MFACandidate at Bay PathUniversity. Also, she is thepublished author of twobooks: “I Bear Witness” &“Sadiya’s Story.” We invite you to take inthe inspiration of Amani’swords and journey. by Tiffany Grant

Page 31

Focusing on faiththrough the words ofher bookANJ: “Many of my writings arecentered around the theme offaith. I want those who read mystories to feel uplifted by my wordsand have faith in themselves.”Amani’s goal as a writer is to“elevate lesser heard voices likehers” as an African AmericanMuslim woman. She knows herwords are important and iscommitted to getting her voice outto the world. Her first book: “IBear Witness ” tells the story ofAnaya, a young Black Muslimwoman from the city of NewOrleans.” Amani states that “shehad never read a book like thisone, and it’s the kind of book shewished she had growing up” She“wanted this book to be a gift togirls like her.Women of allbackgroundsresonate with myvoice.“I thought my target audiencewas women like me, Muslimwomen, black women, thosewho felt that their voices havebeen stifled, however a diversenumber of people have read mywritings, and I realize that mywords can impact those verydifferent from me. Once you putyour words out into the world,you can never know who theymight impact. I’m thankful mywords have impacted so manydifferent people in so manydifferent ways.”I share hope and optimismANJ: While there isn’t a singular messagein my writing, I can say that I want thosewho read my books to leave with a feelingof lightness. I want them to come awayfrom my books with a sense of hope andoptimism.”Shown left -Tiffany Grant who interviewedAmani Nzinga-Jabbar.Amani Nzinga-Jabbar is a passionate writer,educator and sister friend. As a fellow MFAclassmate, I have bear witness to her passion,work ethic and development. We shed light onher writing, positivity and mentorship to all whoencounter her. I can speak for all who haveenjoyed her work, we look forward to futurepieces. Amani’s books can be purchased onAmazon, and participation in her workshop canbe purchased on: Amani-Nzinga Jabbar

Page 32

EventsAfter a chance meeting with the legendary Odetta in the early 90s, Gina Coleman(lead singer of Misty Blues shown above ) vowed to pay homage to the “Queen OfAmerican Folk.” In 2023, she did that with the live recorded album, “Tell Me WhoYou Are: A Live Tribute To Odetta,” which has spent 23 consecutive weeks at thetop of the Roots Music Report Traditional Blues Chart. After the incrediblereception of the first live tribute, the band decided they have much more to shareof this incredible women’s body of work. Come be part of this second live recordedalbum at Studio9 Porches on March 9th with two performances; 2pm and 7pm.

Page 33

Rhode Island BlackFilm Festival The RI Black Film Festival (RIBFF)provides a platform for emergingfilmmakers, actors, and filmenthusiasts to share their passionfor the artistry of cinema. RIBFF welcomes Black, Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Latinfilmmakers, local and worldwide.RIBFF showcases a range ofentertainment content made byand about people of Africandescent-- and gives a voice todiverse cultures via a varied lineupof narrative, documentary andfeature films. RIBFF hostsfilmmaker conversations, panelsand educational communityevents, along with programs foraspiring creatives. NAMIC New England is a proudsponsor of RIBFF 2024-- join usApril 4-7, 2024! For tickets: EventsApril 4-7, 2024Rhode Island Black Film Festival

Page 34

Next Now deadline:March 25send