Area briefs: Events to mark 89th birthday of Dalai Lama; grants to help area veterans; The Care Center fundraising record

 Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, left, holds a microphone as Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in India in 2015.

Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, left, holds a microphone as Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in India in 2015. AP file

Published: 07-04-2024 9:18 AM

Events to mark89th birthdayof Dalai Lama

AMHERST — To celebrate the 89th birthday of the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, the Regional Tibetan Association of Massachusetts will mark his lifelong commitments to humanity, culture and compassion through a series of community service activities and cultural events across western Massachusetts.

Born on July 6, 1935, in Takser, Amdo, northeastern Tibet, His Holiness was recognized as the reincarnation of his predecessor at age 2. He began his monastic education at 6 and took on the political responsibilities of Tibet at just 16, amid challenging circumstances. Following his forced exile in 1959, he established the Central Tibetan Administration in India, promoting democratic governance and tirelessly working to preserve Tibetan culture and religion.

Several cultural celebrations will take place on Saturday, July 6, including:

■ Sangsol (prayer offering) at 8:30 a.m., at the New England Peace Pagoda in Leverett.

■ Birthday celebration at 12 p.m. at Most Holy Redeemer Church, 120 Russell St., Hadley.

■Outdoor picnic at Mill River Recreational Area at 3 p.m. in Amherst.

Community service events include:

■Friday, July 5, from 12-2:30 p.m., lunch will take place at the Amherst Survival Center, 138 Sunderland Road, North Amherst.

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■Saturday, July 6, at 12 p.m., lunch at Not Bread Alone, 165 Main St., Amherst. Also on Saturday, donations of pet food and supplies will be accepted at Dakin Humane Society, 171 Union St., Springfield.

■Sunday, July 7, 4:30 p.m., dinner at Cathedral at Night, Main Street in downtown Northampton.

■Sunday, July 14, Take & Eat meal program in partnership with Most Holy Redeemer Church, 120 Russell St., Hadley.

Veterans groups land state grants

Two western Massachusetts organizations that help veterans recently landed state grants from the Executive Office of Veterans Services.

The agency’s Veterans Community Initiative (VCI) Grant program awarded $2 million to 15 community organizations in support of informal and formal peer support efforts, as well as fund innovative programming to address suicide prevention in the veteran and servicemember community in Massachusetts.

The local grants went to Veterans Inc., which received $356,170 for mobile outreach centers to support suicide prevention efforts in centeral and western Massachusetts.

Additionally, the Western Massachusetts Veteran Service Officer Association recently received a $40,000 grant for an outreach campaign and social programming in throughout western Massachusetts.

Care Center holds record-breaking fundraising event

HOLYOKE — Nearly 400 community members contributed over $220,000 at a recent fundraiser in support of The Care Center’s Moving Women Forward campaign.

The Care Center’s Moving Women Forward campaign, launched in late 2022, has now raised 98% of its goal of $4 million for an endowment to assure that the Bard Microcollege is funded in perpetuity providing ongoing tuition-free education to students.

A fundraising event in May welcomed Oona Cook, The Care Center’s new executive director, and students Destiny Bermudez and Shy’heema Reid, all of whom spoke beautifully about their experiences.

The Care Center is a nationally recognized program located in Holyoke. By providing a rigorous liberal arts curriculum, transportation, on-site daycare, food, health care, counseling, and individualized support, young mothers are able to complete their high school equivalency exams and continue onto college.

Since 2016, The Care Center has been home to Bard Microcollege Holyoke, the first college in the country exclusively for young mothers and low-income women.