The Holyoke Youth Task Force (HYTF) is a model for successful community-based collaborations. By working together, Holyoke youth-serving, non-profit organizations expand their capacity to serve Holyoke youth, reduce duplication of services, and build relationships among community-based organizations.
The HYTF hosts monthly membership meetings every third Thursday from 11:30-1:00 at Girls Incorporated of Holyoke—6 Open Square Way. Anyone who is concerned about Holyoke youth and want to make a difference are welcomed.
The HYTF believes it takes multiple strategies to effect the well-being of youth. With an umbrella focus of emotional wellness, physical wellness, sexual health, and opportunities for resiliency, the HYTF works to build a foundation of wellness, resiliency, and success for Holyokeyouth. HYTF committees and workgroups are based–foremost–on the needs of the community, not on the availability of funding. To get involved in any of the HYTF committees, please contact Amy Epstein at email@example.com.
Current Holyoke Youth Task Force Committees:
Social Marketing Committee
Meets monthly to implement social marketing campaign to reduce youth substance use and abuse of alcohol and marijuana based on Holyoke youth risk and protective factors. Current focus is strengthening parent protective factor with the “Parents, Keep Talking. Teens Are Listening” campaign and house party campaign. Chair: Tamika Evans
C.A.R.D.–Community Allies for Responsible Drinking
Meets monthly to implement environmental strategies to address factors that lead to increased likelihood of youth use and abuse of alcohol. Special emphasis on environmental conditions that lead to alcohol accessibility. Current focus on “social clubs” and liquor signage in low-income neighborhoods. Chair: Ana Jaramillo
Collaboration of youth-serving agencies working to reduce youth alcohol use and abuse.
The goal of this committee is to increase community recognition for pro-social behavior for Holyoke youth – a protective factor that is scores low on Holyoke PNA data. This is conducted by helping organize city-wide, multi-agency projects and events that create opportunities for recognition of youth. Current projects are Holyoke Nights and the annual community recognition reception. Chair:Amy Epstein
Holyoke Youth Commission
The Holyoke Youth Commission is the youth-led branch of the Holyoke Youth Task Force. It is made up of approximately 10-15 youth fromHolyoke’s multiple neighborhoods and wards. Youth learn valuable leadership skills and about the political process, all while assessing challenges facingHolyokeyouth. Youth earn stipends developing and implementing strategies to address these challenges. Holyoke Youth Commission meets weekly. Chair: Cesar Cruz
Y.E.S. Initiative–Youth Empowered to Succeed
The YES (Youth Empowered to Succeed) Initiative serves to reduce youth violence by providing peer leadership opportunities, conflict resolution training, college/career workshops, and other youth development opportunities in a collaborative framework. YES meets on a monthly basis to find additional ways to add to collaborative activities.