Christy Torres: CEO/President
"Teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulner
"If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else." – Booker T. Washington
"Great things in business are never done by one person; they're done by a team of people." – Steve J
"Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean." – Ryunosuke Satoro
"Cooperation is the thorough conviction that nobody can get there unless everybody gets there." – Vi
"It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." – Harry Truman
"The whole is other than the sum of the parts." – Kurt Koffka
"It takes two flints to make a fire." – Louisa May Alcott
"The way to achieve your own success is to be willing to help somebody else get it first." – Iyanla
"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." – African Proverb
"Success is best when it's shared." – Howard Schultz
"Hard work beats talent if talent doesn't work hard." – Tim Notke
Planting the seed. Let's work together towards a common goal.

There's No "I" In TEAM: Christy Torres-

CEO/President's favorite saying.

“Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” Steve Jobs

"Push yourself. Stay eager to learn, take risks, and keep trying to do what

others say can’t be done."


 " It takes a village to raise a child and a community to raise a village."


Tony Bass,

Veteran Representative/ Media & PR 

Tony (Commander) is a longtime resident of Springfield who is also a Vietnam Era Marine Corps Veteran. He is a computer expert and is the founder and owner of City Beat Multimedia Group. 

Carmen Rivera,

Member Services

Carmen is an experienced Realtor with a demonstrated history of working in the real estate industry. She is also skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Affordable Housing, Project Based Section 8, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Real Estate Development. She has a strong background in Low Income Tax Credit and mixed Funding experience. Carmen enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren. She is attending Springfield College, School of Professional and Continuing Studies to attain her Bachelors of Science in Human Services.

Micheal Collazo,

Veteran Representative

Micheal is a Desert Storm combat veteran with 9 years of service in our military. He has volunteered for VITA as a tax preparer and filed taxes on behalf of students and low income residents in the Springfield MA area at no cost. He has also assisted in Dress for Success as an associate which offered complete suits for veterans and any low income resident's that were actively seeking work. As a combat veteran he understands first hand the challenges that our brave veterans have. His main objective is to help connect veterans with available local resources so they have the opportunity to live fulfilling lives. 

Lisa Thompson Howard,

Events/Fundraiser Coordinator and

Interim Secretary

Lisa is a member of the Indian Orchard Citizens Council, elected Chairman of Parks, Recreation and Schools. She serves her community as an elected member of the 2020 Democratic Committee and Affirmative Action Outreach Officer for her Ward 8 council. She also has many roles including creating  youth groups such as Springfield High School Democrats in order to provide outreach to engage the youth in today's political environment.Lisa is a retired Clayton County School educator and former owner of Tiny Steps Childcare. She's also a copywritten children's author, "Ms. Howards Children's Finance Series". She owns and operates 3J Concrete of Springfield Mass and Quickies Credit Repair. Her greatest accomplishments are being a mother and a grandmother. One of her many talents include fundraising.

Charles Knight,

Development and Homeless Coordinator

Charlie has over 55 years of graphic arts skills, having first completed the Famous Artists School course of study and developing a friendship with Norman Rockwell of Stockbridge MA. Knight has served on many committees of the Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness and been an advocate for better programs to help the homeless get on their feet. He has been a board member of the Hampden County Continuum of Care, the Armory Quadrangle Civic Association and McKnight CDC.  Having been interested in building codes since his involvement with the Mass. Manpower Development Act program. He also has been active in the 'Revitalize Springfield" programs, now called Revitalize CDC.  He also completed the Citizen Scientist course of study and the Green Skill course of study with regards to the best practices for urban horticulture with the Re-Green Springfield people. 

Melinda Murphy,

Volunteer Coordinator

Melinda is involved in volunteering throughout Hampden County in the March of Dimes, Afterschool Homework Programs and Homeless Shelters throughout Springfield, MA. She was involved with the South end Community Center, North end Community Center and Martin Luther King Community Center. She had a very important mentor by the name of Daryl Moss as a youth. The Triangle Project was a program that helped many inner-city children growing up in poverty and having them make a difference in Springfield and around Hampden County communities. She has also volunteered as the Volunteer Coordinator on various campaigns: Tracye Whitfield and Linda O’Connell just to name a few.  She has her Masters of Guidance Counseling from Cambridge College and her bachelor’s degree in Human Services from Springfield College.  

She is also a part of the First Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta in Springfield, Ma. The chapter name is Beta Alpha Zeta Zeta.

My favorite quote is In a gentle way,”You can shake the world.”--------Mahatma Gandhi 

Linda Matys O'Connell,

Community Advisor

Linda is a career advocacy journalist turned social and political activist. Educated at Mount Holyoke College and Brown University, Linda founded and edited The Valley Advocate and other independent newspapers challenging mainstream media around the country. She was editor of New Orleans and San Antonio magazines and, bringing her advocacy inside the news industry, went on to executive positions with the Times Mirror, Tribune and Gannett newspaper companies. A graduate of the Western Mass. Women’s Fund’s Leadership Institute for Political and Public Impact, Linda has been active in politics at the local, state and national levels. She served as Co-President of the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts, President of the Mount Holyoke Club of the Pioneer Valley and regional Social Action Chair of the United Methodist Women. She has sat on the national board of directors of the Mount Holyoke Alumnae Association and the Society for Features Journalism and is the Outreach and Diversity Director for the Springfield Democratic City Committee.

Utsav Lakhlani,

Development and Fiscal Coordinator

Utsav is a Diligent Architecture & Building Technology major currently attending Springfield Technical Community College, with 2.5 years of work experience. Utsav is aiming to leverage a proven knowledge of building code compliance, asset workout/recovery, and commercial development skills to successfully Help Veterans & Homeless People.

Yelissa Santiago,

Community Advisor

Yelissa  is currently a case manager in the mental health field. She has her Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in Child Psychology. Most of her professional career has been working to help individuals through some of the toughest times in their life. She's worked mainly with youth who who are placed in residential homes. Currently she works hard to help the youth find their communication and coping skills which enables them to improve the family relationships in their homes. In her free time she enjoys spending quality time with her three daughters, husband and family. She's also a health coach helping others improve their physical health. She also, enjoys other hobbies such as exercising, reading, and playing basketball. She states, she's excited to join the Western Mass Tiny Home Initiative Team and looks forward to working with the community to achieve their visions and goals.


Chuck Whitaker-Battle,

State/Community Advisor

Chuck is a U.S. Army Veteran, and serves on the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee. He holds the at large Veterans seat on the State Committee, Chuck also is the Sr. Co-Chair of the MassDems Veterans and Military Families Outreach Sub-Committee, as well as the State Director for the Democratic National Committee Veterans and Military Families Council, he also is a mentor on the Western Massachusetts Veterans Treatment Court. Chuck is the CEO of CDTS, a Business Development Co. Specializing in Federal Government Contracting.

Building Community Partnerships.


Community Collaborations and Partnerships




Neighbor 2 Neighbor,


Springfield Community Land Trust,

Several Springfield City Councilors,

Indian Orchard Citizens Council, Backyard ADU's, ACC PR/Media Company,

Bling Boutique, Veterans, Inc.


VA Hospital in Leeds

Just to name a few.

The community of Springfield, Holyoke and Northampton as well. 

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​Telephone: ​413-285-9294