NELCWIT waits to hear about $50K for building renovations

Staff Writer
Published: 10/30/2019 10:18:57 PM
Modified: 10/30/2019 10:18:46 PM

GREENFIELD — If all goes well, the New England Learning Center for Women in Transition (NELCWIT) will receive $50,000 of a $130,000 state earmark this year, thanks to Rep. Paul Mark, that it will use to do some renovations on its new building.

Mark, D-Peru, said Sen. Jo Comerford, D-Northampton, is supportive of his request, so she will be working to get it passed in the Senate. If that happens, all that will be left is for Gov. Charlie Baker to sign it.

NELCWIT Interim Co-Executive Director Carla Oleska said the money is discretionary, so the agency will be able to use it as it sees fit.

“We’re planning on using it to do some capital work,” Oleska said. “NELCWIT has purchased 17 Long Ave., a building it used many years ago. We’ve come full circle, but we need to do some renovations inside and some landscaping outside.”

NELCWIT’s offices are currently on Main Street in Greenfield.

The nonprofit’s mission is to work within the community to build safety, justice and dignity for everyone, Oleska said. She said it offers counseling, advocacy and resources to individuals whose lives have been impacted by domestic violence or sexual abuse. It also assists in prevention and education to decrease violence.

“We want our new place to be a warm place to come,” she said.

Oleska said the board will be meeting to decide exactly what renovations it will do with the $50,000. She said though $130,000 has been earmarked, there’s no timeline as to when NELCWIT might receive more.

“This is money NELCWIT needs as it transitions into its new building,” Mark said. “Once it has the $50,000, I’ll be making a push for the rest.”

Mark said NELCWIT is an important organization that serves a great community need.

“It’s so important that it receives our support,” he said. “We want to see it make a positive transition and get to where it needs to be.”

Mark said he’s looking forward to seeing what NELCWIT does with its new location. He said he expects the new facility will be welcoming and feel safe to those who need to use it.

“People should be able to go in and get the services they need with no fear,” Mark said. “They should be able to access services quickly and safely.”

As an anti-racist, multicultural organization, NELCWIT joins with and mobilizes other groups and individuals who are working to end domestic violence and sexual abuse, ensure human rights and create social change.

NELCWIT serves people of all genders, sexual orientations and abilities, Oleska said. All services are free and do not require health insurance or documentation. Services are available in English and Spanish; other languages are offered through an interpretation service.

Oleska said NELCWIT is funded by the state Department of Public Health, but also receives grants and donations and earmarks like this one.

“Paul has been so helpful to us,” Oleska said.

She said NELCWIT will hold its major annual fundraiser on March 26, from 5 to 7 p.m. It will be held in the dining common at Greenfield Community College this year, with college President Yves Salomon-Fernández as keynote speaker. She said this year’s theme is “Power to Persevere.”

Reach Anita Fritz at
413-772-0261, ext. 269 or afritz@recorder.com.


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