More than 150 volunteers from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and its Foundation, the Boston Celtics and City Year, joined forces last Friday to transform the outdoor learning and recreational space of the Hennigan Elementary School in Jamaica Plain, just in time for the new school year. Joining the volunteers were Boston Celtics Forward, Jared Sullinger, 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; Boston Celtics President, Rich Gotham; and, Hennigan Elementary School Principal, Maria Cordon.
“One of the ways Harvard Pilgrim supports the Boston community is by providing local students with the tools they need to succeed in school, including a clean, safe environment and a full backpack,” said Schultz. “We are fortunate to have such strong, longtime partners like Mayor Walsh, the Boston Celtics and City Year, who know the value of working together to build healthy, vibrant communities.”
Volunteers spent the day painting colorful murals and games on the school’s walls and blacktop, enhancing its gardens and grounds and helping to clean up the orchards and meadows at neighboring Nira Rock Urban Wild. Through a partnership with Cradles to Crayons, the Harvard Pilgrim Foundation additionally distributed 800 backpacks filled with pencils, notebooks and other school supplies to the school’s K-5th grade students.
Boston Celtics Forward Jared Sullinger stated, “We are proud to team up with the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation and know that together, we will further our efforts in helping improve the lives of children in our communities.”
Last week’s event marked the 7th 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.
“City Year is excited to partner with Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and the Boston Celtics to help launch a successful school year for the students and teachers of the Hennigan School,” said Sandra Lopez Burke, Vice President and Executive Director of City Year Boston. “Last week’s service was critical to demonstrating the commitment we all have to fully developing the potential of all of our students.”
Community Service Days are part of Harvard Pilgrim’s corporate commitment to the state. In 2013, Harvard Pilgrim’s charitable giving and service totaled nearly $1.8 million and staff volunteered more than 3,320 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 health of the people it serves and the health of society. The Harvard Pilgrim Foundation provides the tools, training and leadership to help build healthy communities throughout Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. In 2013, the Harvard Pilgrim Foundation awarded more than $2.8 million in grants to nearly 650 nonprofit organizations within the four states. For more information, please visit www.harvardpilgrim.org/foundation.
About the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation
The Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation benefits our children directly through programs that provide education and support. The Foundation currently partners with Perkins School for the Blind, Children’s Hospital Boston, Horizons for Homeless Children, Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, Citi Performing Arts Center, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (MSPCC) and Berklee College of Music. For more information on the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation, visit the community section on www.celtics.com.
About City Year
City Year is an education-focused, nonprofit organization founded in 1988 that partners with public schools and teachers to help keep students in school and on track to succeed. In 24 communities across the United States and through two international affiliates, this innovative public-private partnership brings together teams of young AmeriCorps members who commit to a year of full-time service in schools. Corps members provide individual support to students who need extra care and attention, focusing on attendance, behavior, and course performance through in-class tutoring, mentoring, and after school programs.