More than 150 volunteers from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, the Boston Celtics, and City Year, joined forces last week to transform the indoor and outdoor learning and recreational spaces at Dorchester-based institutions including the Joseph Lee K-8 School, Harambee Park, Boston Center for Youth and Families (BCYF) Perkins Center, Berkshire Partners Blue Hills Boys & Girls Club, Sportsmen’s Tennis & Enrichment Center, and the Urban Farming Institute.
Joining the volunteers were Boston Celtics Guard Terry Rozier and former player and Assistant Coach Walter McCarty, 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 Guard Terry Rozier; Boston Celtics Senior Vice President of Corporate Partnerships and Business Development, Ted Dalton; and Joseph Lee School Principal Kimberly Crowley.
“For the past decade, Harvard Pilgrim has been a proud partner with the Boston Celtics and City Year in creating clean, safe and healthy environments for local students to play and learn,” said Schultz. “Building strong, vibrant communities is at the core of what we do and we are fortunate to have such great longtime partners who understand the value of working together.”
Volunteers spent the day painting murals, gardening, building and painting benches, and building vegetable planting kits for students. In addition, Boston Celtics team members and staff hosted a basketball clinic for Joseph Lee students, and Harvard Pilgrim employees presented healthy eating demonstrations.
“This initiative benefits so many different areas throughout the community and provides improved spaces for our youth and families,” said Rozier. “It’s great to be able to get out here as an organization and take part in something that will benefit such a wide-ranging group of people.”
The event marked the 10th 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 is a current sponsor of City Year Boston’s Extended Day Programs, which play a pivotal role in helping students gain additional learning time beyond the school day in the form of supplemental tutoring, homework help and enrichment programming.
More than 1,000 students at 23 Boston Public Schools across the city participate in the program. “As students and families kick off a new school year, it’s important that their energy is reflected in the spaces where they learn and play,” said Sandra Lopez Burke, Vice President and Executive Director of City Year Boston. “Projects like this ensure that students at the Joseph Lee K-8 School start the school year on a positive note by entering bright, nurturing school grounds and community centers throughout Dorchester, Lopez said. This day is an annual highlight for City Year Boston and we are fortunate to call Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, its Foundation, and the Boston Celtics partners in our service to the Boston Public Schools.”