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Saturday event to raise funds for Holyoke Career Closet

Date: 5/17/2013

By Lori Szepelak

HOLYOKE — The Waterfront Tavern on Main Street will be the setting for a unique benefit, "Rock Out for the Holyoke Career Closet," on May 18.

Tim Lynch, an AmeriCorps volunteer at the Holyoke Career Closet while completing his degree at Holyoke Community College, is spearheading the fundraiser, which is open to the public.

"The Holyoke Career Closet has made a great impact in my life," said Lynch during an interview with Reminder Publications. "It has made me see and feel what it is like to help provide for your community in so many different ways."

AmeriCorps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, an independent federal agency whose mission is to improve lives, strengthen communities and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. Each year, AmeriCorps offers 75,000 opportunities for adults of all ages and backgrounds to serve through a network of partnerships with local and national nonprofit groups.

As Lynch looks forward to finishing his degree in elementary teaching in December, he is also looking ahead to how he can make a difference for others.

"I have learned that in order to accomplish your goals in helping your community you must work with a team because the more in the group the more connections become available for you to find support for what you are trying to achieve in the community," he said.

Lynch has enlisted the support of his band of brothers — literally — to help him ensure the fundraiser is a success. The band is Maverick West, and in addition to Lynch as the front man, he is joined by brothers Kenny, Andy and William.

"We have a heavy rock sound with clean vocal melodies with catchy guitar rifts," he said. "I am very excited to play in a band with my brothers supporting a good cause for my community."

In addition to Maverick West performing, Lynch invited Lord Jeff and Kudzu to round out the evening's entertainment.

"Lord Jeff has many styles," he said, adding, "they play from country, folk and indie rock to hip hop and punk rock, while Kudzu plays reggae/rock music with unique melodic bass and guitar lines behind the lead singer's poetic melodies."

Lynch's role at the career closet includes ensuring clients are fit with the proper clothing for their job interviews. He also encourages area residents to donate professional clothing in good condition.

"I am specifically looking for men and women's dress clothes," he said, noting that in the past year the project has served more than 100 clients.

When Lynch's one-year stint ends June 22 at the Holyoke Career Closet at Holyoke Community College, he can look back on the many skills he garnered from the unique experience.

"The Career Closet has improved my social and communication skills a great deal and I am thankful for that," he said.

Tickets are $10 per person and can be purchased from members of the bands, at Cinderelli's in South Hadley, the Providence Ministries for the Needy office in Holyoke, or through the Holyoke Career Closet website.

The fundraiser kicks off at 7:30 p.m. and during the evening a 50/50 raffle is planned.

"I encourage everyone to attend this event because for only $10 you can help your community and have a great time filled with some great music ranging from rock, reggae and folk/indie," he said.

The Holyoke Career Closet, located in the Kittredge Center, Room 207, is a project of Providence Ministries and Holyoke Community College. Office hours are Mondays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

"The Holyoke Career Closet is very important to the area because we help individuals become successful in getting a job with the proper outfit and education of what is fit to wear to certain job interviews," he said.