February 17, 2018

Inbox [Feb. 17-24]: News and notes from the Bravehearts, Fallon Health and Saint-Gobain

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Courtesy Jaime Flores Photography

The Bravehearts will have a different look in the dugout this year.

Have news you or your group would like to share? Let us know by emailing it to info@worcester.ma. Be sure to include a link to the full release on your site or Facebook page so we can include it and send Sun members your way.

Bravehearts bring back four players, add three new pitchers

The Worcester Bravehearts have announced the signings of seven New England players — including five pitchers — who will suit up for the team in May as it looks to win a third Futures League Championship.

Four of the recent signees are back from the 2017 team. Returning to the pitching staff are sophomores Sebastian Gruszecki of Florida Gulf Coast University and Cody Laweryson of the University of Maine. Gruszecki, from Dudley and Shepherd Hill Regional High School, started nine games for the Bravehearts last season, including the Championship Game 2 at Nashua that the Bravehearts eventually lost to the Silver Knights.

Local arms will make up a significant portion of Worcester’s 2018 pitching staff. The team has already announced that two players from Shrewsbury — Danny Barlok of the College of the Holy Cross and Kendall Pomeroy of UMass-Lowell — will return, and that Douglas resident Matt Stansky of Bryant University will join the team for the first time.

Three more locals will also spend the summer back at home in Central Massachusetts: Brenden Cournoyer (Dudley/The Berkshire School), Nathan Florence (Wilbraham/Minnechaug H.S.) and Sean Burke (Sutton/ St. John’s H.S.) are all expected to play significant roles on the Bravehearts’ pitching staff.

The hard-throwing Cournoyer is  in his first season at the University of Albany. Florence is a sophomore at the University of Hartford. Burke will finish his senior season at Saint John’s High School, Shrewsbury, this spring and has committed to play for the University of Maryland in the fall.

The Bravehearts also announced that two position players who played critical roles on the 2017 team will return for a second season: infielder Kevin Doody of Canton and catcher Brett Coffel of Clermont, Florida. Doody is a sophomore at the University of Maine who hit .351 for the Bravehearts in 2017 with 24 stolen bases. Perhaps the most eye-popping statistic is that 60 of his 61 hits with the team were singles, and he often sparked rallies by beating out deep grounders to third base and then stealing second base. Coffel is likely to be the team’s opening day catcher since he caught 46 of the Bravehearts’ 59 games (including playoffs) in 2017.

The team, which made the roster announcements on Feb. 14, will begin announcing the rest of the team members in March. Opening night is Wednesday, May 30, against Nashua at Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field.

Fallon Health awards $100K in grants benefiting seniors, youth

Fallon Health awarded Community Benefits Grants totaling $100,000 in 2017, to address healthcare barriers in underserved communities.

Ten organizations received the grants, based on their ability to achieve positive health outcomes in two critical focus areas, the first involving older adults and the second involving children.

Senior Health Initiatives grants support older adults living safely in their homes and communities, and help provide access to care, behavioral health resources, food and utilities. The recipients are:

  • Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance: A $10,000 grant for its Elder Home Repair Program to provide repair and ongoing maintenance services that are critical in addressing health and safety needs.
  • Regional Environmental Council: A $10,500 grant for its Supporting Diverse Senior Community Gardens program in Worcester.
  • St. Paul’s Elder Outreach: A $10,000 grant aiming to reduce falls among Worcester’s older adults and advancing healthy behaviors that help prevent falls.
  • Merrimack Valley Immigrant and Education Center: A $12,000 grant for its Elder Outreach Program to ensure that one of the area’s more vulnerable populations, aging immigrants, receives needed services.
  • Northampton Survival Center: A $7,500 grant for the Hilltown Food Pantry, an emergency food pantry serving low- and moderate-income individuals, 16 percent of whom are seniors.

Children and Youth Health Initiatives grants support community-based programs or organizations that provide access to programs that wrap services and resources around children and youth. The recipients are:

  • Boys & Girls Club of Worcester: A $10,000 grant for the Family Support program, providing counseling for children and families, referrals, service plans and case management.
  • CASA Project (Worcester County): A $10,000 grant to address systemic issues to help children who are in foster care due to abuse and neglect overcome mental-health barriers.
  • Girls Inc. of Worcester: A $10,000 grant for its After School and Summer Camp program to serve the “whole girl” in safe, gender-specific environments.
  • Appalachian Mountain Club (Lowell and Lawrence): A $10,000 grant to make the outdoors accessible to youths living in under-resourced communities.
  • Berkshire Health Systems’ Operation Better Start (Boys & Girls Club of Pittsfield): A $10,000 grant for its Berkshire Healthy Students program to increase knowledge of healthy eating, physical activity and parent/community engagement.

“Building a healthy community involves many community partners working together to address healthcare barriers, such as food insecurity, access to care and safe housing,” said Richard Burke, president and CEO of Fallon Health. “Fallon has seen firsthand the positive impact many nonprofits are making in underserved communities across the state, especially our grant recipients. They share our goal of improving the health and well-being of others — and we’re proud to help provide the additional resources to help them expand their reach.”

Through its Community Benefits Grants program, the company has distributed more than $1.3 million in the last 11 years to local organizations with initiatives that address health care barriers. Since Fallon launched the program, the number of grant requests has increased more than 400 percent.

Saint-Gobain again recognized as a Top Employer in North America

Saint-Gobain has received the Top Employers Institute’s Top Employer North America Certification for the third consecutive year for its exceptional employee offerings. The Top Employers Institute is an independent global organization that certifies employers for creating excellent workplace conditions for employees.

Saint-Gobain was recognized at an award ceremony Feb. 8 in Miami, Florida.

The annual international research undertaken by the Top Employers Institute recognizes leading employers around the world that provide excellent employee conditions, nurture and develop talent throughout all levels of the organization, and strive to continuously optimize employment practices.

Crucial to the Top Employer Certification is Saint-Gobain’s participation in a stringent auditing process in which the company’s performance scores were rated against an international standard. The institute assessed Saint-Gobain’s employee offerings on the criteria of talent strategy, workforce planning, onboarding, learning and development, performance management, leadership development, career and succession management, compensation and benefits, and company culture.

“From our research, we have seen how the certified organizations put the development of their people first and are continuously working to optimize their HR and people development practices,” said David Plink, CEO of Top Employers Institute. “Saint-Gobain forms part of this exclusive group of the world’s best employers, an achievement they can truly be proud of.”

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