JP’s Sam Potter Receives Community Spirit Leader Award from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation

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The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation recently honored four individuals, including a Jamaica Plain resident, and nonprofits for their volunteer contributions to their communities at the annual Community Spirit Awards.

Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Sam Potter of Jamaica Plain receives Community Spirit Leader Award from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation. In the photo (left to right) are Karen Voci, president of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation; Janelle Woods-McNish, Director of Service & Giving for Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation; Sam Potter, Training Specialist for Harvard Pilgrim Health Care; and Eric H. Schultz, President of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.

Held in Quincy on May 2, Jamaica Plain's Sam Potter, a training specialist for Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute was honored as a Community Spirit Leader.

“Sam joined Harvard Pilgrim’s employee group O.P.E.N. (Open. Proud. Engaged. Network) in search of finding a safer community so that he could openly be himself and have support during his transition. Through his engagement, Sam has not only created a space for himself, but now carries that momentum to make Harvard Pilgrim a safer space for others in the company whether they are transitioning, have a family member in need of support, or allies looking for answers to questions they didn't feel safe asking,” said an excerpt from his nomination form.

In honor of Sam’s award, The History Project will receive a $250 grant.

Nelson Rafael Roman, Executive Director of Nueva Esperanza, a community development organization in Holyoke dedicated to meeting the needs of the Puerto Rican/Afro-Caribbean community, spoke about the importance and value of community volunteerism and activism.

“If you have gold, give gold back,” said Roman, “and gold doesn’t mean riches, it can mean whatever you have to give, but especially your time. Don’t be afraid to go into places you don’t know and ask ‘What can I do to help out?’, be bold, find your power, and give back. You can discover the richness of your community and of yourself.”

The other Community Spirit Award recipients are as follows, along with an excerpt from their nomination forms:

• Community Spirit Volunteer: Stefany Mendez, Procurement Category Lead, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
“The passion and commitment demonstrated by Stefany for giving back to her community and fellow colleagues is commendable…she serves as a role model, mentor, educator, and leader. She has helped children learn about faith, she has mentored high school students seeking higher education. She serves her community to aid in health disparities at annual Latino health expos. She believes in creating opportunities for employees to influence decision making relative to business and employee development, and the entire Latino community.”

In honor of Stefany’s award, the Worcester Latino Scholars for Dollars will receive a $250 grant. Stefany is a resident of Worcester.

• Community Spirit Team: The Women’s Development Group, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
“The HPHC Women's Development Group supports, inspires and engages the community of women at Harvard Pilgrim. They consistently put on tremendous events that support HPHC's core values and benefit employees. They go above and beyond with exploring topics that most people wouldn’t think about in the work place (Domestic Violence Month).”

In honor of the Women’s Development Group, Maura’s Hopeful Mission in Scituate, Mass., will receive a $250 grant.
• Community Spirit Hero: Rosie’s Place, Boston, Mass.
“Rosie's Place offers shelter for women and children and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner 7 days a week to 200 people at each meal. Rosie's Place is so successful because of their commitment to making a difference and the support they receive from the community. Rosie’s Place provides a safe and nurturing environment that helps low-income and homeless women maintain their dignity, seek opportunity, and find security in their lives.”
Rosie’s Place will receive a $500 grant from the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation.

“It is always an honor to host the Community Spirit Awards presentation and celebrate those who are so passionate and dedicated to serving our community” said Janelle Woods-McNish, Director of Harvard Pilgrim Foundation’s Employee Service and Giving program. “These employees are nominated by their colleagues and they serve as an inspiration to us all.”

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