Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Superintendent Dan Warwick joined Patrick Ireland, from Neutral Corner Inc., as the program received a $20,000 donation from Judith Danek, Director of the Office of the President and Community Relations for Health New England to support anti-bulling efforts in the Springfield Public Schools. The presentation took place at Forest Park Middle today.
“I’m very appreciative of Health New England – they’ve been an outstanding corporate citizen, especially to youth development aspects. To Pat Ireland, thank you for continuing to teach and transfer lessons in the ring towards positive life lessons,” said Mayor Sarno.
More than 40 students at Forest Park Middle School, and a total of more than 200 students throughout the Springfield Public Schools, will benefit from the program designed to instill the values of goal-setting, hard work and tenacity. “These are virtues that will help these students graduate from high school and beyond,” said Pat Ireland, a former professional boxer and five-time Holyoke Golden Gloves champion who administers the program. “We combine a health and fitness component to the program that completes the picture.”
The five-week mentoring program struck a chord with students, according to Forest Park Middle School Principal Tom Mazza. “They see Pat, and he’s this boxing champion who’s taking his time to pass down lessons learned and share valuable information. They tune in and really engage.”
The students engaged not only their minds, but they were also able to get physical with the program, which features non-contact boxing training and conditioning.
“When we looked at the priorities identified though our community listening sessions, there were many areas to consider. It was clear that our middle school students have a need and Neutral Corner is helping to address this need,” said Maura McCaffrey, President and CEO of Health New England. “We understand that influencing these students before they reach high school is critical to developing a strong workforce and future leaders. We decided to provide funding to the existing network of anti-bullying education resources in the region to make a difference when many budgets are depleted and schools need resources the most.”
“Patrick’s dedication to this program with our youth has been relentless and his connection with the students is special,” said Superintendent of Schools Daniel Warwick. “We are grateful that he has chosen to share his experience, gift and passion with our young people.”