Tag Archives: women

Massachusetts Turns Turquoise to Recognize National Women’s Lung Health Week 

 American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE calls upon Massachusetts to share its collective voice to defeat the number one cancer killer of women – lung cancer 

Today, the American Lung Association in Massachusetts is supporting LUNG FORCE during National Women’s Lung Health Week (May 8 – 14) by turning local landmarks turquoise in an effort to raise awareness and defeat lung cancer in women. LUNG FORCE is a fast-growing initiative uniting the nation against lung cancer, the #1 cancer killer of women. In Massachusetts, the Basketball Hall of Fame, TD Garden, the Zakim Bridge, among other significant sites were illuminated turquoise on Monday, May 9.

“Lung cancer remains the leading cancer killer of both men and women,” said Jeff Seyler, President & CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast.  “We thank and salute the many landmarks, local governments, retailers and individuals here in Massachusetts and across the Northeast who are taking action to raise awareness about Women’s Lung Health Week and LUNG FORCE.  We know that it will take a force of supporters for us to be successful in beating lung cancer and saving more lives; and we are committed to building our number of supporters and our momentum each and every year.” 

Every eight minutes, a woman in the United States will lose her battle with lung cancer, yet awareness is shockingly low, only 1 percent of women say that lung cancer is a top-of-mind cancer concern. However, the number of women dying from lung cancer has nearly doubled over the past 30 years. A strong, healthy breath is critical to ensure women can speak out and raise their voices. LUNG FORCE uses the powerful stories of the nation – from celebrities and influencers, to families, friends and communities – to stand together with the collective voice, strength and determination needed to make lung cancer history.

LUNG FORCE is focused on driving more positive outcomes for the women and families whose lives have been forever changed as a result of a lung cancer diagnosis.

Now in its third year, LUNG FORCE is empowering women and men in Massachusetts to share their voice to make lung cancer a public health priority.

Towns and cities such as Boston, Auburn, Springfield and Holyoake have issued proclamations declaring May 8-14 Women’s Lung Health Week. The American Lung Association is also asking Massachusetts residents to share their voices in the fight against lung cancer. Visit www.LUNGFORCE.org to learn how to participate:

Walk: A LUNG FORCE Walk is scheduled in Boston this Thursday, May 12, at Boston Common. To register, participate or help raise funds for the important work LUNG FORCE is hosting in Boston and nationwide, visit LUNGFORCE.org/runwalk

What’s fair pay?

Worcester’s Grafton Street Elementary School. For years elementary school teachers all over America – mostly women at the time – were grossly under-paid. pic:R.T.

By Edith Morgan

We are at last at the place where there is some hope that women will be paid the same as men for equal work. That has taken a while. As a former teacher, I can remember the days when women teachers were paid less for the same or greater effort, did not get regular raises for experience, could not teach if married, then could not teach if pregnant, etc. I recall being told that only men could get a raise, as they were heads of household, and I as a woman could not be a “head of household” – despite the fact that I, like many women, was the main wage earner in my family, as my husband was in school and received only a meager stipend.

It was really high school teachers who spearheaded the move to organizing for more fair pay. Too many of us who were elementary school teachers were female, and we were accustomed to serving but not expecting proper pay. We taught children; high school teachers said they taught subjects. But now, after decades of battling, all teachers are on a multi-step schedule, based on educational level and years of service, not on the sex of the teacher.

It has been a tough battle to get fair pay for female-dominated professions – and the battle is by no means over.

This society still gives lip service to the vital role of raising and educating children, said to be our future. But we still pay near-starvation wages to those to whom we entrust our allegedly most precious possessions: our children. Early childhood programs of top quality are few and far between, very expensive, and overfilled. I went to a public preschool at three years of age, in France, in 1933 – that is how far behind we are here in America. My parents, who never even entrusted us to a babysitter, entrusted us to that French public school program. They could not have afforded a private program, as we came to France with nothing. Of course, there, teachers were honored and looked up to, and I do not remember my parents ever saying a bad word against teachers. If we children complained, they said we should learn all we could from this year’s teacher(s), and next year we might get one we liked better.

I recall coming home one day and announcing to my parents that henceforth I would have nothing to do with money, as the teacher had told us that “money is the root of all evil.” As a testament to the power of teachers’ influence, it was years before I really felt comfortable having anything to do with what was popularly called “filthy lucre.” My parents, loath to contradict the teacher, explained gently to me that the real saying was: ”THE LOVE OF MONEY is the root of all evil.”

Our system of compensation for work, our reward system, seems to reward those who do the least, with the most. Hedge fund managers, who move money from here to there and catch billions in between, are fabulously rich; CEOs who barely know what goes on in their businesses get millions and bonuses; speculators of all sorts are rewarded outrageously, while those who die for us have to battle to get treated for the horrendous diseases they pick up in battle. The list is endless! Suffice it to say: We reward the most vital jobs the least, and the least vital the most.

Worcester news you can use!

From the Massachusetts Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Children

Who: Parents and caregivers of children who have experienced sexual abuse

When:  Tuesdays, 9:00-10:30am (starting January 27, 2015 and running in 8 week cycles). This is an “open” group; participants are welcome to attend one meeting, several, or all meetings.

Where: MSPCC, 335 Chandler St.

Cost: Free

Goals and Topics for this Group Include (but are not limited to):

·        Learning about ways to talk and respond to children after the abuse

·        Recognizing and responding to the signs of trauma and other reactions

·        Learning about treatment options

·        Ideas for caretakers to cope with stress and take care of themselves

·        Legal issues and dealing with the court and other systems

·        Obtaining Victim Compensation

·        How to create safety and prevent re-victimization

·        Getting mutual support from other parents and caregivers with similar experiences

For more information/to refer, please call the Group Leader, Emily Ascolillo, at (508) 767-3097.




For Girls ages 9-12

An active group for building confidence, self-esteem and body image through movement and dance.

When: Tuesdays 6:00pm-7:00pm
Start Date: February 24 (weekly x 7 weeks)

Location: 81 Plantation St.

MassHealth is accepted;
private pay arrangements can be made for clients
whose insurance does not cover group attendance.

For more information contact:
Jeannette Cardozo 508-849-5600 x 211 … or Central Referral at 1-855-4YOUINC or 508-849-5600 x421


A co-ed group for youth ages 6 – 10
with Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD and other difficulties with self-regulation.

Using a visual curriculum and Louise Goldberg’s research-backed Creative Relaxation® techniques, this group will teach yoga and self-calming strategies.

When: Wednesdays 3:30 pm – 4:15 pm
Starting February 4 – every week for 6 weeks

Location: 81 Plantation St.

The group is open to all MassHealth and Fallon insurance plans.
Private Pay Options are also available

For more information contact:
Centralized Referrals 508-849-5600 x 421
Hope Rideout 508-849-5600 x 134
Jeannette Cardozo 508-849-5600 x 211



Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance Housing, Homelessness, & Benefits Meeting:

Wednesday, January 21 from 11:30 to 1 at CMHA

6 Institute Road

Please RSVP to dlariviere@cmhaonline.org by January 19 so enough lunch can be ordered.

All are welcome!

Agenda Item:

Foreclosure and Tenant Rights:

Due to recent uptick of foreclosure petitions in Worcester County, we feel it is important to discuss the rights and responsibilities of tenants in foreclosure properties.

CMHA meetings are open to anyone wishing to learn more about housing and homelessness in our community and benefits available.  It’s also a great opportunity for organizations to share information about themselves.

For more information, contact:



Love Shouldn’t Hurt! October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Parlee and Athena 2

Parlee Jones (left) – a woman of beauty and consequence! Thank you, Parlee, for all your great work in Worcester and beyond!

By Parlee Jones

Peace,  Worcester people!

In my position as Shelter Advocate at Abby’s House, some of the bravest women I have met are the women who are fleeing a Domestic Violence situation.  They are willing to walk away from everything they own, with the clothes on their back, going into the unknown.  Some willing to meet unknown folks at a train station or bus station to go to a new place, a new home.  Some with children, some without children.  Some very young, some middle aged, some older women.  Black, white, Hispanic, Asian, all folks.  Trying to get away from the one they love and who is supposed to be loving them.  Willing and ready to start over again.  Just worried about finding a place to stop the pain.

On September 15, 2010, the National Network to End Domestic Violence did a 24 hour Census of Domestic Violence Shelters and services reported the following information.  1,746 out of 1,920, or 91%, of identified local domestic violence programs in the United States and territories participated in the 2010 National Census of Domestic Violence Services. The following figures represent the information provided by 1,746 participating programs about services provided during the 24-hour survey period.


70,648 Victims Served in One Day

37,519 domestic violence victims found refuge in emergency shelters or transitional housing provided by local domestic violence programs.  33,129 adults and children received non-residential assistance and services, including individual counseling, legal advocacy, and children’s support groups.

23,522 Hotline Calls Answered

Domestic violence hotlines are a lifeline for victims in danger, providing support, information, safety planning, and resources. In the 24-hour survey period, local domestic violence programs answered 22,292 calls and the National Domestic Violence Hotline answered 1,230 calls, resulting in more than 16 hotline calls every minute.

Despite helping over 70,500 people on September 15, 2010, domestic violence programs were unable to meet 9,541 requests for services because of a lack of funding, staffing and resources. Although programs have historically struggled to find resources to provide comprehensive services, funding cuts, reduced donations, and dwindling community resources are severely straining programs’ ability to help survivors get back on their feet.

If you are a domestic violence victim, let the people who care about you help you.

1. Confide in someone you trust. If you have a friend or relative who cares about your safety, tell them about the abuse. Sharing a burden with someone makes it lighter. If you’ve left your abusive relationship and are feeling lonely and tempted to return, talk it out with a friend who knows the situation.

2. Don’t let others talk you into taking action that doesn’t feel right to you. You are the only one who knows if you’re ready to leave your relationship, go to the police, or seek emergency shelter. Make your own decisions, based on your own comfort level.

3. Leave an “emergency kit” with a friend. This could include extra money, a set of car keys, a change of clothes and copies of important documents (driver’s license, birth certificates, social security card, health insurance records, documentation of abuse) that may come in handy in an emergency. Think of what you might need if you have to leave your home in a hurry.

4. Ask a friend to accompany you to important appointments. If you have medical appointments, are going to the police, to court, or to see a lawyer, take a friend along for moral support.

5. Make sure a friend knows about your Personal Safety Plan. Start making your own Personal Safety Plan Go over it with a friend and give that friend a copy of the plan.

A safety plan is a personalized, practical plan that includes ways to remain safe while in a relationship, planning to leave, or after you leave. Safety planning involves how to cope with emotions, tell friends and family about the abuse, take legal action and more.  A good safety plan will have all of the vital information you need and be tailored to your unique situation, and will help walk you through different scenarios.

In Worcester we have been acknowledging the national awareness of this terrible epidemic with quite a few events. [Still to happen]:

October 27 ~ Daybreak Breakfast:  7:45 – 9:30 am Holy Cross Hogan Campus Center (more info 5608 767 2505 x 3009 $35)

October 29 ~ 6 pm to 8 pm ~ Spoken Word and Music Honorary Concert at the Worcester Public Library. This is going to be an incredible event, with some of Worcester’s most amazing poets and singers! Please join us! 

All month long the Empty Place at the Table Exhibit will be showing at different places including Worcester City Hall, Worcester Public Library, Heywood Hospital, MWCC Student Lounge, Leominster City Hall, Health Alliance Hospital, Holy Cross, Fitchburg State, Quinsigamond Community College Student Life Center, UMASS Hospital and the Worcester Police Department.

For more info on these events you can call Daybreak at 508 767 2505.

National Network to End Domestic Violence http://nnedv.org/

Jane Doe (Mass. Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence http://janedoe.org/

Daybreak http://www.ywcacentralmass.org/domestic-violence

MassResources.org  http://www.massresources.org/domestic-violence-agencies.html

In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day 2014! Worcester celebrates!

Parlee and Athena!

By Parlee Jones

We must CELEBRATE!  I had the honor of being Honorably Mentioned as a 2014 Woman of Consequence Award presented by the City Manager’s Advisory Committee on the Status of Women this past Thursday (March 20th, 2014) with my friend Ms. Athena Haddon as the chosen one.

This celebration of the Women and Young Women of Consequence provides an opportunity for the City Manager’s Advisory Committee on the Status of Women to educate the public about the contributions that women and young women make to improve communities and to inspire others. Their leadership can be shown in community activism, volunteering or holding public office, but it can also be shown when women, young and old, lead by example. Community engagement, dedication, and compassion resulting in positive change is what a real leader is all about.

Woman of Consequence – 2014

Athena Haddon

Ms. Haddon has inspired many people through her patience, honesty, trust and perseverance. As a dedicated employee, volunteer and resident of Worcester, she is a role model to all around her. She has been called the “heart and soul” of Everyday Miracles, a peer recovery support center in downtown Worcester, serving more than 3,000 diverse members in recovery from alcohol and /or drug addiction every year.

One of Athena’s leadership initiatives includes the founding of “Women’s Space” to help more women in early recovery to access services. She also became active with Worcester’s Department of Public Health Task Force on Sexual Exploitation to address serious health implications of sex trafficking in the local community. Prevention and intervention strategies were developed to eliminate sex trafficking and exploitation in Worcester. This led to her founding “A Ray of Light” to train service providers to work with victims and survivors of sexual exploitation. She has volunteered and worked for nearly a decade for DAWN, Developing Alternatives for Women Now, which works with women in prostitution-related crimes. Athena is a voice of compassion and positive change, and a true leader in her community. It is hard to capture on paper all her accomplishments, her enthusiasm and her genuine compassion for helping others.

Parlee Jones

Another extremely inspiring woman in our community is the well-known Ms. Parlee Jones, is creative and active in many domains as well as being a dedicated leader called “exemplary and tireless” in her work on behalf of the homeless, and the battered women with and without children whom she helps on a daily basis. She has assisted over 700 women to self-direct their lives and improve their situations. Through her passionate guidance, support, and empathy to all the women she helps, she improves the lives of those around her. Her accomplishments listed above would be incomplete if her work on social and racial equality in the community were not mentioned. Parlee founded OurStory Edutainment nearly a decade ago which offers black history education and entertainment. It is truly a multicultural asset that makes the city more global, and makes Parlee a true leader.

Young Woman of Consequence – 2014

Jenny Cao

Jenny Cao, currently a Senior at South High, is a student in the Goddard Scholars Program. An outstanding student, she’s taken many Honors and Advanced Placement level classes since her Freshman year. She consistently scored yearly grades in the very high ‘90s and even a few 100s. A National Honor Society Member, she also created the Goddard Tutoring Club, is a member of the Yearbook Club, and she is also on the Math Team. She’s played 1st Doubles on the Varsity Tennis Team and is a well-rounded student. Jenny demonstrates leadership qualities and is a role model in her service to the community.

Rose Payva

Rose Payva, a Senior at North High, is an excellent student, having consistently scored high grades in all classes including many Honors and Advanced Placement classes. She founded the Principal’s Advisory Council, was a participant in the National Education Start-Up Challenge, and has been a member of the Math team since her Sophomore year. Rose is a well-rounded leader; the Captain of the Soccer and Tennis Teams, a participant in Dynamy Youth Academy, and a Peruvian Cultural Dancer. Rose is a dedicated role model to those around her.

Congratulations to all!  Below are some words on being Honorably Mentioned.

“I am honored and humbled by this honorable mention and in keeping in tune with the award, I will honorably mention some folks.

I will honorably mention the homeless men, women and families that are looking for a safe place to rest their heads tonight. Please keep them in your thoughts.

I will honorably mention the families that have lost loved ones to racial violence. Trayvon Martin’s family, Jordan Davis’ family, and all other unnamed loved ones. Please keep in prayer the many unnamed victims.

I will honorably mention the men and women that work tirelessly to find a place for families to go. Who go to their own homes with an ache in their heart because they don’t know where that last client will go tonight with her little one. Please send them positive energy and vibes.

I will honorably mention all who work to show our youth that you can be successful without falling victim to today’s norms. To those who work with youth where they are! Pease send blessings their way!

I will honorably mention OurStory Edutainment which is the vehicle in which I strive to instill knowledge of self in people of color. Young and old who have not heard of Ida B Wells or Denmark Vesey.  As we introduce them to a rich history not taught in school books.

And I will honorably mention Abby House as the vehicle in which I have been able to assist the most honorable women I have met on a journey not easily taken. The journey back to a home.

Thank you Lynne for nominating me and thanks to my village for supporting all I do.  Because it takes a village to take care of its people, young and old.  I am so humbled to have a village that sees the world as I do. And strives to make positive change when called upon.
Peace and blessed be!”


Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital celebrates Women’s History Month

Activities aimed to help Female Veterans learn more about the services available to them at Bedford VAMC

Bedford – Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford VAMC) is hosting a Women’s Tea to celebrate Women’s History Month on March 28,  2 p.m.,  at Bedford VAMC’s Canteen Service Dining Room, located in building 78.

The event will feature a presentation by Air Force Captain Joyce Massello, Retired Reserves, a decorated Vietnam Veteran who served as a flight nurse.   Following Captain Massello’s presentation, there will be an opportunity to socialize and enjoy the displays highlighting women in history, including Edith Nourse Rogers.

The recent growth of female Veterans accessing VA health care has outpaced that of the male Veteran population. VA is stepping up to meet the needs of a growing women Veteran population by enhancing primary care to meet their needs. This is a major undertaking for VA.

“It’s all about personalizing care for our women Veterans so that everything we do supports a patient–centered approach benefiting the Veteran,” said Christine Croteau, acting director at Bedford VAMC. “We are pleased to showcase the services offered at Bedford and to partner with our patient population to provide the care that best meets their specific health care needs.”

The Women’s Tea serves as an important way to highlight female Veterans’ contributions to history, and more specifically, Edith Nourse Rogers, for whom the hospital is named. Bedford VAMC was the first VA hospital named after a woman. Edith Nourse Rogers was the first Congresswomen from New England and was dedicated to Veterans’ issues.  She introduced the unprecedented bill to establish the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps in 1941. When the law passed in 1942, it opened up military service to thousands of women in countless occupations other than nursing.  Edith Nourse Rogers dedicated her life to Veterans’ issues for more than 40 years.  The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps was just one of her many accomplishments, which also included the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 (commonly known as the G.I. Bill) which provided educational and financial benefits for soldiers returning home from World War II.

Improving health care for women veterans‏

 Bedford – VA New England Healthcare System (VISN 1) has received a grant for Women’s Health Primary Care Nurse Mini-Residency, one of 32 projects funded nationally by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The $21,000 grant will provide for two inter-professional women’s health mini-residency training programs for primary care providers and nurses utilizing simulation equipment and live models to practice skills necessary for caring for female patients. The mini-residencies will be conducted in April and June 2013. Some of the topics which will be covered are contraception, cervical cancer screenings, sexually transmitted infections, abnormal uterine bleeding, menopause, gynecologic emergencies, interpersonal violence, military sexual trauma, breast and pelvic exams, and cardiac disease in women.

 “Our goal is 100 percent accessibility for women Veterans who need us,” said Michael F. Mayo-Smith, MD, Network Director, VISN 1. “This new project will improve access and quality of critical health care services for women.”

VHA’s national Women’s Health Program Office and Office of Rural Health jointly selected the winning proposals for projects that will improve emergency health care services for women Veterans, expand women’s health education programs for VA staff, or offer telehealth programs to female Veterans in rural areas.

This is the largest number of one-year grants VA has ever awarded for enhancing women’s health services.

The grant program is part of VA’s continued effort to improve access and quality of care for the increasing number of women Veterans seeking care at VA.

“We are committed to providing individualized, sensitive care to women Veterans,” said Cindy Williams LICSW, women’s health program manager, VISN 1. “This grant-funded project enables us to continue to enhance care for women and exceed patient expectations.”

Women serve in every branch of the military, representing 15 percent of today’s active duty military and nearly 18 percent of National Guard and Reserve forces.  By 2020, VA estimates women Veterans will constitute 10 percent of the Veteran population. Over 20,600 Women Veterans received care in VISN 1 in fiscal year 2012, which is up from 7,700 ten years ago.  VISN 1 pays special attention to providing quality, comprehensive health care, including more accessible and flexible clinic hours for working women who may have childcare or eldercare responsibilities and difficulty getting time off for appointments. VISN 1 provides tele-health for users in rural areas, maternity care coordination, assistance in finding housing for homeless women and their children, and initiatives to ensure patient privacy.

Visit www.newengland.va.gov and www.womenshealth.va.gov to learn more about VA programs and services for women Veterans.

The connection between domestic violence and animal cruelty‏

By Deb Young

In recent years, a strong connection has been documented linking domestic violence, child abuse and animal abuse.

Nationwide, professionals in such fields as law enforcement, child protection, human and veterinary medicine, domestic violence intervention, education, and animal control — among other fields — are beginning to realize that they need to know more about the many connections between animal cruelty and violence against humans.

In a number of studies , one national and the others statewide, 71% to 83% of the women entering domestic violence shelters reported that their partners also abused or killed the family pet.

Women who do seek safety at shelters are nearly 11 times more likely to report that their partner has hurt or killed their animals than women who have not experienced domestic abuse.

When an abuser threatens, abuses, or kills an animal, several messages are being relayed to the human victim.
The abuse, or even threat to abuse the animal, displays the domination and control the abuser has over the victim.
The abuser often is successful in getting his message across through abuse of the pet.
For example, following through on threats to injure or kill an animal shows the victim that the abuser is willing to kill an animal and that he may also kill the victim.

Not only can abuse of the pet be used to manipulate or coerce a partner or child into compliance with the abuser’s wishes, it also can be used to frighten, intimidate, punish, or retaliate against a partner or child.
Especially , if the animal is the victim’s only source of love and affection, killing or injuring the animal further isolates the victim from anyone or anything but the abuser.

Many years ago I was told the story of a woman who finally left her abuser and was staying at a shelter. One day, the woman approached an advocate at the shelter and said ‘I have to go home.”
The victim had received pword of her abuser cutting off the ears of her dog with scissors. The victim knew that the only way to save the life of her dog and other animals at the house was to return to her abuser. Situations like this and the fear of what will happen to a beloved pet often keeps a victim from leaving their abuser.

Just as animal abuse is related to domestic violence, so it is also related to child abuse, another form of family violence.
Studies have found that in 88 percent of families where there had been physical abuse of children, there were also records of animal abuse.

For children, the abuse of the pet can have vast, long-term effects on their well-being.
Children who witness or are victims of domestic violence may start to abuse pets as a way of releasing their anger or expressing their distress.

In a study of abusive households with pets, it was found that in 32 percent of these homes, the children abused their pets.
Certainly not all children who abuse animals or witness abuse will grow up to be abusers or mass murderers. However, the fact children witness abuse of both their mothers and pets can only increase the chance that they will adjust poorly to life as they get older. Additionally, children who are raised in an abusive environment learn that violence is a way to solve problems.
Less well known is the fact that many of the infamous school shooters also engaged in animal cruelty before turning their aggression against their classmates, teachers, and parents.

If you break it down to its bare essentials: “Abusing an animal is a way for a human to find power, joy, fulfillment through the torture of a victim they know cannot defend itself”

Now break down a human crime, say rape. If we substitute a few pronouns, it’s the SAME THING. “Rape is a way for a human to find power, joy, fulfillment through the torture of a victim they know cannot defend themselves”

Now try it with, say, domestic abuse such as child abuse or spousal abuse:

“Child abuse is a way for a human to find power/joy/fulfillment through the torture of a victim they know cannot defend themselves.”

Do you see the pattern here?

There is legitimate evidence that the individuals involved in violent acts against animals present a danger to the public that must be addressed. Intentional animal abuse is often seen in association with other serious crimes including drug offenses, gang activity, weapons violations, sexual assault and domestic violence—and can be one of the most visible parts of an entire history of aggressive or antisocial behavior.Virtually every serious violent offender has a history of animal abuse in their past, and since there’s no way to know which animal abuser is going to continue on to commit violent human crimes, they should ALL be taken that seriously.

The line separating an animal abuser from someone capable of committing human abuse is much finer than most people care to consider. People abuse animals for the same reasons they abuse people & enough have been proven to continue on to commit violent crimes to people that it’s worth paying attention to.