On Tuesday, July 29th, The Boston Celtics CommUNITY Crew took a trip to the Cardinal Cushing Centers in Hanover, MA to renovate their rec center. In what has become an annual summer event, the Celtics Community Relations Department and volunteers from partner TDBank choose a local non-profit to support. In 2015, the Community Crew chose to support Special Olympics Massachusetts. Celtics Community Relations Coordinator, Kelsey Keena stated “Both TDBank and the Boston Celtics have a strong relationship [with] and support for Special Olympics Massachusetts, and on their behalf we chose to partner with Cardinal Cushing to support both the athletes that are on campus and in the general population by helping to revive their rec center.” The rec center is on the campus of the Cushing Centers and functions as an indoor gathering space for resident and visiting groups alike.
In addition to the Celtics and TDBank, volunteers from VOYA, Special Olympics Massachusetts and the greater community joined in the effort. Tuesday was phase one of the renovation and included removing old furnishings, adding two new coats of paint to the walls and hand painting signs that will be applied to the walls later in the project. Once the paint dries, the carpet will be replaced and brand new high resolution graphics will be applied to the walls. A theme of sports and community will run throughout the room. A media center including a new television, video games and computer stations will be installed. Because of the sensory sensitivity of some of the residents, a sensory corner will be set up to provide time away with toys and games that will support their needs. The focal point of the room will no doubt be the basketball hoop accompanied by a high definition image that mimics the view from the free throw line at TDGarden – you will feel like you are there taking a free throw with all of Boston cheering you on!
Special Olympics Massachusetts has enjoyed a long relationship with the Cushing centers and Director of Recreation and Community programs, Tom McElman. In addition to his role with Cushing Centers, Tom manages the local Special Olympics program throughout the year. This renovated space will continue to promote sports as a positive influence on the lives of people with all abilities.
When asked to describe why sports is an important part of community, Ms. Keena drew direct comparisons to the volunteer event: “Just like we did today, with teamwork anything is possible.” Teamwork is central to sports and Special Olympics is proud and grateful to have such strong partners at the Boston Celtics, TDBank, VOYA and the Cushing Centers who agree.
Reflecting on the progress made on Tuesday, Ms. Keena said “It’s amazing how in one day, when people come together, how much can be transformed. This is just phase one of the project. With a little bit of effort and a little bit of help, you can do anything. With this project, I think that message is really going to shine through.”
Please click on the images below to see all of the photos from the Cushing Centers event.