Winners of Boston Public Schools Community Service Program Announced

CELTICS - SOUTHWEST - ASSISTS BOSTON (June 5, 2003) - A special group of Boston students received a pizza delivery from Walter McCarty today as the Celtics star hosted a pizza party for 25 eighth-graders at the Washington Irving Middle School in Roslindale. The students earned this unique experience by finishing second in the Boston Celtics and Southwest Airlines "Assists" Community Service Contest.

The "Assists" program, sponsored by the Celtics and Southwest Airlines, invites teams of eighth-grade students from all Boston Public Middle Schools to create and implement community service projects that would meet the needs of the local community and its members and make a positive impact. The program is designed to help young people develop an understanding of critical issues facing society, and to help them recognize their ability to initiate real change.

"It was fun to have a pizza party with the students," said Celtics Forward Walter McCarty. "They deserve a lot of credit for working hard and improving their school and helping those in need in their community. I enjoy being involved in this wonderful program."

The Washington Irving students participated in "Capable, Connected, Contributed- Service Learning Initiative," encompassing a variety of service projects led by the Alliance for Inclusion and Prevention. The program allows students to create new relationships through visits to senior centers and early childhood programs, and improve their overall school environment through special projects such as gardening clubs, newspaper clubs. The Rogerson Communities, which develops innovative, affordable housing and adult day health programs for the elderly, disabled and low-income residents of Greater Boston; the Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for the Aged, an organization dedicated to providing seniors with the highest quality of life through care, housing, research and training; Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) HeadStart, Boston's primary source for providing a comprehensive, holistic, family intervention program to low-income, pre-school children and their families; and the Irving Middle School all were benefactors of the students' charitable endeavor.

A panel of local celebrities and community leaders recently convened at the Celtics offices to select the top three "Assists" projects based on the ability to create an imaginative and unique project; to make a positive impact and meet a real community need; and, importantly, to have fun by helping others. Among this year's judges were Celtics Legend JoJo White, Andy Webster from Senator Edward M. Kennedy's office, WFXT-TV/Channel 25 Sports Anchor Butch Stearns, WHDH-TV/Channel 7 Sports Reporter Kip Lewis, WBMX-FM/Mix 98.5 Morning Show Host Kelly Malone, WWZN-AM/NBA Inside Stuff Reporter Debbie Wrobleski, Boston Public School Department Christine Hill and Southwest Airlines Area Marketing Manager for Northern New England Ronda Ivy.

The winning project came from students at Grover Cleveland Middle School in Dorchester, who participated in four different projects. The projects consisted of a canned food drive, planting a flower and vegetable garden at a local shelter, a coat drive and reading to children with disabilities, while also teaching them to dance for a spring talent show.

"Southwest Airlines has a long-standing tradition of committing time and resources to the communities we serve," said Ronda Ivy, Southwest Airlines Area Marketing Manager for Northern New England. "With the 'Assists' program, we are able to help Boston's youth discover the importance of giving back to the community. We were extremely impressed with the impact that students were able to make in their communities,"

The William Barton Rogers Middle School, Woodrow Wilson Middle School and Sara Greenwood Middle Schools were selected as third place winners for this year's program. Each of those schools will receive a Celtics basketball signed by Walter McCarty and Celtics Legend JoJo White.

"We are thrilled to be able to partner with Southwest Airlines on the Assists program to enable students to demonstrate their extraordinary dedication to their communities" said Boston Celtics Executive Vice President of Marketing John Brody. " It is extremely gratifying to work with a community minded organization such as Southwest Airlines to enrich the lives of youth from our community."

The Rogers students made stuffed pillows and Valentine cards for the children in the cardiac unit at the Children's Hospital, which they personally delivered to the kids at the hospital on February 12th. The Wilson students created a project where they collected 75 coats for the St. Francis House, and also arrange for a local cleaner to clean the coats for free. The Greenwood students created a project entitled "Adopt-a-Block," whose mission was to service a city block of homeless shelters by preparing and serving lunch to the shelter's residents.