More Than 150 Volunteers Transform Boston School

BOSTON (Sept. 9, 2011) – More than 150 volunteers from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, the Boston Celtics and City Year, today joined forces to transform the outdoor learning and recreational space of the John Marshall Elementary School in Dorchester’s Field’s Corner neighborhood, just in time for the new school year. In the afternoon, state and local officials gathered to dedicate the newly constructed outdoor classroom.

“Preparing children for success in school is one of our city’s most important responsibilities,” said Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, who addressed the volunteers at the closing ceremony. “Thanks to the volunteers here today who rolled up their sleeves and made a difference, students at the Marshall Elementary School now have a safe and beautiful outdoor space in which to learn and play and backpacks filled with all the supplies they’ll need throughout the school year.”

Volunteers spent the day painting an array of games and educational murals on the school’s walls and blacktop; creating outdoor classrooms with benches; refurbishing the school’s basketball court and soccer field; and landscaping to enhance the campus. In addition, in partnership with Cradles to Crayons, Harvard Pilgrim distributed backpacks filled with all of the necessary school supplies- donated by Harvard Pilgrim employees and the Harvard Pilgrim Foundation- to all of the school’s 1st-5th grade students.

“This special day of service reflects Harvard Pilgrim's commitment to strengthening the communities in which our customers and employees work, live and thrive," said Eric H. Schultz, President and CEO of Harvard Pilgrim. "We are thrilled to provide Boston students with the environment and supplies they need to succeed throughout the school year.”

In addition to the service projects, Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge, Boston Celtics Assistant Coach Mike Longabardi, former Celtics player Dana Barros and Celtics dancers hosted basketball and dance clinics for students at the Marshall Elementary School.

“Today Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, City Year and the Celtics exemplified what it means to be a true Celtic,” Boston Celtics CEO and Co-owner Wyc Grousbeck said. “Not only did we work together to give these Boston students an improved environment to succeed in throughout the school year but we also showed them how to be a good role model in today’s society.”

This was the 4th year that Harvard Pilgrim, the Boston Celtics and City year have partnered for Harvard Pilgrim’s annual Let’s Get Moving! day of service, to benefit a local school.

“City Year is excited to join Mayor Menino, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, the Boston Celtics and Cradles to Crayons to welcome the students and staff of the Marshall School to the new school year with a transformed learning space,” said Sandra Lopez Burke, Vice President and Executive Director of City Year Boston. “We are honored to partner with Boston Public Schools to provide the extra help and support that students need to succeed academically in classrooms and across the neighborhoods.”

“The students and staff at the Marshall School are so grateful for the efforts of volunteers from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, the Boston Celtics and City Year,” said Teresa Harvey Jackson, Principal of the John Marshall Elementary School. “The murals and landscaping have transformed our outdoor space and the outdoor learning space will be a wonderful new setting for our students to learn. Thank you all.”