An army of volunteers from Fidelity Investments was at the Mario Umana Middle School Academy last Thursday to take part in a ‘Transformation Day’ at the school.
Over 400 Fidelity employee volunteers were on hand to upgrade science classrooms, in-classroom greenhouses, the library and the school’s gymnasium. Workers were also busy cutting lumber to make bookcases, window benches and outdoor planters.
Fidelity has conducted similar events at Dearborn Middle School in Roxbury for the past three years.
“This is our first year at Umana, which we saw as another school in need of some TLC,” said Jenny Engle of Media Relations.
Mayor Thomas Menino, who was on hand at the event thanked Fidelity for investing in the school and making other investments throughout the city that have made a difference in the lives of students and their families.
“Events like this give kids hope and opportunity because it shows people care,” said Menino. “Fidelity has a reputation of making good, sound investments and has picked another winner here in East Boston. The transformation efforts here are a sound investment in East Boston and the students of the Umana Middle School Academy.”
Menino added that the volunteer effort was the biggest crowd he had seen at one of these Fidelity ‘Transformation Day’ events.
“I just want to thank all of you for showing up and making this event a success,” said Menino.
Recognizing that there are many ways for companies to support education and the local community, Fidelity launched a series of “Transformation Days” three years ago.
“We work with HandsOn Network and Boston Cares to conduct events at Title I schools in Fidelity’s 10 regional sites, including our headquarters in Boston,” said Engle. “This summer, more than 2,100 employees and interns will donate more than 10,500 hours of service to schools around the country.”
Engle said Fidelity’s goal is to demonstrate to students that they matter and that they have the potential to succeed.
“We hope to play a small part in bringing renewed energy and enthusiasm to their studies in order to inspire them as they transition through high school and ultimately, to graduation,” said Engle.
Fidelity places special emphasis on improving teaching areas that are devoted to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education since it plays a critical role in enabling the U.S. to remain competitive.
“We’re undertaking a number of projects at the Umana — and at the other 11 schools around the country where we’re also conducting “Transformation Days” — to support STEM education and teachers,” said Engle.
Umana teacher Jim Kearney was amazed at how quickly Fidelity volunteers transformed the school’s computer lab.
“This lab was a mess when I came in this morning and now the computer stations are new and organized, the bookcases cleaned up—it’s as if the entire room has been magically transformed into a state-of-the-art lab in a matter of hours,” said Kearney.
City Councilor Sal LaMattina toured the school where volunteers were working and thanked them for their help.
“I didn’t know what to expect on my way down here,” said LaMattina. “I thought it would be a cleanup effort but they have put a lot of sweat into building new science and computer labs, painting murals, building benches—it’s unbelievable the amount of work these volunteers accomplished in just one day.”