Teens are all smiles during holiday gathering

WESTBOROUGH _ A group of 20 troubled teenage boys got some holiday cheer recently when a group from the Corridor Nine Chamber of Commerce School/Business Partnership Committee visited the Department of Youth Services Hadley Assessment Unit Facility in Westborough.

Rhonda Engelking, Client Relationship Manager at PENTA Communications, Inc., joined the Corridor Nine School to Business Partnership Committee in 2006 and helped to spread this holiday cheer.

“This was a spur of the moment and a bit of a last minute idea to organize a party for these boys, after listening to John Ferriero, teacher/coordinator at the Hadley Assessment Unit Facility, speak at the Chamber’s November School/Business Partnership meeting,” said Manager Maureen McDowell, Community Outreach, National Grid. Maureen has been a member of the Chamber’s School to Business Partnership Committee since 1993 and served as the chairman from 1993-1994.

On Friday, Dec. 22, 2006 members from the Chamber Committee delivered gifts, along with “Finz,” the AHL Shark’s mascot, who was on-hand to have photos taken with the boys.

According to McDowell, Carol Sexton, of Sovereign Bank was also instrumental in helping to make the event such a huge success.

“We were able to purchase a nice article of clothing for each of the 20 boys, as well as a second gift for each; given during a Yankee Swap,” McDowell said. “The Yankee Swap gifts consisted of hand-held games, headsets, clothing, basketballs, footballs, soccer balls, Patriots shirts and videos.”

According to Rhonda Engelking of PENTA Communications, Inc., there was an overwhelming response from the business community. So much so that there was money left over to purchase additional items for the unit floor for both current and future residents.

A double basket-free throw indoor basketball hoop, numerous DVD movies and $225 gift card to Tatnuck Bookstore to purchase much needed books were also bought, McDowell added.

In addition, Sexton donated a used air hockey table, as well as baked goods; cider and eggnog provided by Mary Simone, Henry Tessman and Linda Sevier.

“The committee didn’t know quite what to expect, however, the kids were very appreciative, well-behaved and seemed to really enjoy themselves,” Engelking said. “We were all happy to do this. PENTA Communications was proud to be a part of this event.”