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A Unified Community at The Caring Force Rally

On May 14, Vinfen attended the 8th Annual Caring Force State House Rally at the Massachusetts State House in Boston, MA in support of the Providers’ Council pro-workforce legislative agenda. The agenda included the discussion of a loan repayment program for human services workers and eliminating the pay disparity between state workers and those employed by private, community-based, human service nonprofits.

Hundreds of people were in attendance as the Providers’ Council President and CEO Michael Weekes welcomed attendees. The program included remarks from Providers’ Council Board member and HMEA CEO Michael Moloney, statements on fair pay by Berkshire County Arc Site Manager Marc Bourassa, testimonial from Advocates’ Senior Outreach Clinician Kristen Tingley on student loan repayment, and speeches from two young adults with lived experience.

“We need to help all human service workers make ends meet,” Marc encouraged. “Losing these skilled staff members would be absolutely crushing to the individuals we serve,” he added. Kristen then shared with attendees her personal struggle with paying her student loan debt, which is now over $30,000 after making payments for 8 years. “I’m speaking to you because there needs to be a change,” Kristen stated.

Next in the program was the presentation of two Caring Bear Awards to Massachusetts State Senator for the 4th Middlesex district Cindy Friedman and Massachusetts Representative for the 3rd Suffolk District Aaron Michlewitz followed by remarks from each awardee. “You take care of some of the most vulnerable people in our society,” Senator Friedman said. “We cannot afford to lose you.”

Genuine support for one another with a common goal at hand was profound and felt across the audience. Providers’ Council Public Policy and Communications Associate Christine Batista received a round of applause for coordinating such a successful event. “For me The Caring Force is about making sure everyone has a voice and they have the opportunity to share that voice with their legislators,” She explained. A fellow colleague, Providers’ Council Education and Membership Associate Amanda McCarthy stood by Christine’s side holding QT, The Caring Force’s teddy bear mascot. “The Caring Force is important to me because we are advocating for human service workers across the state, which not a lot of people are doing, and it’s really important to care for the people that are caring for people,” she added.

The event concluded with Michael Weekes providing instructions for the commencement of lobbying day to attendees.

Vinfen is proud to support The Caring Force! If you have any questions or are interested in joining a grassroots human services advocacy movement, contact Christine at christine@providers.org.