More than 150 volunteers from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and its Foundation, the Boston Celtics, and City Year, joined forces last week to transform the indoor and outdoor learning and recreational space of the Hennigan Elementary School in Jamaica Plain. Joining the volunteers were Boston Celtics Guard, Isaiah Thomas, and “Lucky” the Leprechaun, who hosted basketball clinics for the students.
The day began with an Opening Ceremony featuring remarks by Harvard Pilgrim CEO and President, Eric Schultz; and Hennigan Elementary School Principal, Maria Cordon.
“Harvard Pilgrim is proud to partner with the Boston Celtics and City Year to help create clean, safe and healthy environments for local students to play and learn,” said Schultz. “We are fortunate to have such great longtime partners who know the value of working together to build strong, vibrant communities.”
Volunteers spent the day transforming the school’s indoor and outdoor learning and recreational space, painting murals in the cafeteria, helping to clean up the neighboring meadow and fields at Nira Rock Urban Wild, and painting at the Bromley Heath Housing Project. Through a partnership with Cradles to Crayons, the Harvard Pilgrim Foundation also distributed 800 backpacks filled with pencils, notebooks and other school supplies to the school’s K-5th grade students.
In addition to the Boston Celtics basketball clinic for students, staff members from ChildObesity180 hosted healthy eating and cooking demonstrations.
“Playing an active role in the community is extremely important to not only myself, but to the entire Celtics organization,” said Thomas. “It was great spending the day completing service projects that will help brighten up the students’ futures.”
Last week’s event marked the 8th year that the Boston Celtics and City Year have partnered with the Harvard Pilgrim Foundation for its annual day of service in support of a local school. Harvard Pilgrim currently sponsors a team of more than 10 City Year Corps members at the Hennigan Elementary school, which is located on Heath Street in Jamaica Plain.
“The start of the school year brings great excitement and enthusiasm for learning,” said Bryan Rotach, Interim Executive Director of City Year Boston. “Projects like this that refresh the learning spaces in and around the Hennigan School make such a big difference in setting a positive tone for the year. We are very grateful to Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and its Foundation and the Boston Celtics for organizing this powerful day of service.”
Community Service Days are part of Harvard Pilgrim’s corporate commitment to the state. In 2014, Harvard Pilgrim’s charitable giving and service totaled more than $2.1 million and staff volunteered more than 3,200 hours within local communities.
About The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation
Created in 1980, The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation supports Harvard Pilgrim’s mission to improve the quality and value of health care for the people and communities we serve. The Harvard Pilgrim Foundation provides the tools, training and leadership to help build healthy communities throughout Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. In 2014, the Harvard Pilgrim Foundation awarded nearly $2.9 million in grants to 710 nonprofit organizations in the region. Since its inception, the Foundation has granted nearly $133 million in funds throughout the four states.
Starting in 2015, the Foundation is expanding its focus on preventing childhood obesity to help families and communities eat healthier by launching the Harvard Pilgrim Healthy Food Fund. This grants program is aimed at supporting healthy food initiatives that increase access to fresh, healthy, and whenever possible, local food for families and communities in all of Harvard Pilgrim’s five markets across the region. For more information, please visit www.harvardpilgrim.org/foundation.
About the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation
The Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation benefits our community directly through programs that provide education and support to children in need. The Foundation currently partners with Berklee City Music Network, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, Horizons for Homeless Children, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (MSPCC), Perkins School for the Blind, Citi Performing Arts Center, Positive Coaching Alliance, and The3Point Foundation. For more information on the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation, visit www.celtics.com/foundation.
About City Year
City Year is dedicated to helping students and schools succeed. City Year partners with public schools in 27 urban, high-poverty communities across the U.S. Diverse teams of City Year AmeriCorps members serve full-time in high-poverty urban schools, providing high-impact student, classroom, and school-wide support to help students stay in school and on track to graduate from high school, ready for college and career success. A proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network, City Year is made possible by support from the Corporation for National and Community Service, school district partnerships, and private philanthropy from corporations, foundations and individuals. Learn more at www.cityyear.org, City Year’s Facebook page, and on Twitter.
Based at Tufts University, ChildObesity180 is committed to developing, measuring, and implementing evidence-based solutions to reverse the alarming epidemic of childhood obesity in America. Learn more at http://www.childobesity180.org/initiatives/healthy-kids-out-of-school