Led by Holy Cross Students, Working for Worcester Ensures Playground Access for Elementary School Students

Working for Worcester Achieves Longtime Goal, Despite Pandemic

It took a pandemic to keep them away in 2020, but this year, Holy Cross students were back in full force to drive the ninth year of Working for Worcester. Over 200 volunteers worked at 11 sites across the city to beautify playground, educational and community spaces, and this year, the group achieved one of the goals it established nine years ago: to ensure that every Worcester elementary school has its own playground.

Founded in 2012 by Holy Cross students Jeffrey Reppucci '14 and Derek Kump '14, Working for Worcester is dedicated to mobilizing college students to improve recreation infrastructure and opportunities within neighborhoods across the city. Since its founding, the organization has expanded to include volunteers from the other area colleges as well as members of the community and has gained corporate sponsors while collaborating with the city to make an impact where it's needed most. To date, the student leaders of Working for Worcester have raised and invested over $1 million into the community, mobilized over 4,000 volunteers and renovated over 100 community spaces and schools.

"We've been working for the past nine months to make it safe and successful," Ian Williamson '21, one of the co-executive directors of Working for Worcester, told Masslive about this year's effort. "There’s just nothing better than, after such a crazy year, being able to come together as a community and just make a difference. It’s really powerful."

Despite the reduced scale of this year's efforts—with the number of participants limited per site due to COVID-19 concerns—the organization made a big impact at their sites. In particular, the teams built playgrounds at McGrath and Columbus Park Elementary Schools, completing a years-long effort to ensure that every elementary school in the city of Worcester has its own playground. In Worcester, where students have only recently returned to in-person learning opportunities after a year of remote learning due to the pandemic, it seems even more meaningful this year to have achieved the goal of completing these outdoor spaces for the city's children.

Read more about Working for Worcester and the 2021 Build Day:

-Telegram & Gazette