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Bristol County Savings Charitable Foundation Awards $60,000 Grant to New Bedford Public Schools’ Playworks Program

$60,000 check presentation to the New Bedford School Department's Playworks ProgramTAUNTON, MA, September 8, 2017 — Bristol County Savings Bank (BCSB), through its Bristol County Savings Charitable Foundation (BCSCF), awarded a grant totaling $60,000 to the New Bedford Public Schools to support the Playworks program during a ceremony today at the Congdon Elementary School in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Playworks is a national non-profit organization that delivers an evidence-based program for safe, healthy play in urban schools giving elementary students the tools they need to be successful in school, in their community and in life. The grant will allow the program, launched last year, to continue at the Congdon, DeValles, Hathaway and the soon-to-be-completed Irwin Jacobs elementary schools.

Patrick J. Murray, Jr., President of the Bristol County Savings Charitable Foundation and President & CEO of Bristol County Savings Bank, as well as Dr. Pia Durkin, Superintendent of Schools, New Bedford Public Schools and Jon Mitchell, Mayor, City of New Bedford, took part in the grant presentation. “As we are a community bank we place a priority on giving back to the communities we serve,” said Murray. “Our Foundation’s particular emphasis is to fund education initiatives and we have a long track record of doing just that in the New Bedford Public Schools with this Playworks program the latest example. We couldn’t be more proud to partner once again with the school system and help support its mission.” Since 2007, the Foundation has donated more than $4 million to 501©(3) organizations in the Southcoast.

“We are so grateful that the Bank has generously agreed to fund this important program in the four elementary schools,” said Dr. Durkin. “Playworks was launched last year to encourage staff and students to work together to teach social and emotional skills during recess time as well as in the classroom to help resolve conflicts constructively and manage behaviors. I’m proud to say that we saw a significant increase in time devoted to learning as a result due to far less time spent on issues that cause tension and distractions in the classroom. We look forward to seeing a safer, calmer more productive learning environment throughout the entire school day this school year thanks in part to the Playworks program.” Durkin added that the District sees Playworks as a key partner in its school improvement plans and its approach to supporting the whole child by helping its youngest learners become happy, healthy, and positive contributing members of the New Bedford community.

“We appreciate the support of Bristol County Savings Bank, not only for this grant to help students learn and interact in a more effective way, but for its many other important community endeavors in New Bedford,” said Mayor Mitchell.

By helping kids to successfully organize their own play, make it more inclusive and resolve conflicts effectively, Playworks transforms what is often the most challenging and overlooked time of the day – recess – to an opportunity for students to learn about themselves, their peers and develop caring attributes that extend into the classroom long after the recess period ends. The grant covers the cost of a 10-week full-time recess support coach who will help the staff learn and develop strategies for their students before, during and after recess through professional development and training. Conflict resolution and bullying skills are a key part of the program.

Bristol County Savings Bank is an active supporter in the communities in which it serves. The Bristol County Savings Charitable Foundation was established in 1996 as part of the Bank’s 150th Anniversary celebration.  Its purpose is to fund needs that contribute to the economic and the social well-being of the people and institutions located in the greater Attleboro/Taunton Region, the greater New Bedford/Dartmouth Region, the Fall River Region and the Pawtucket, Rhode Island Region, with particular emphasis in the areas of education and literacy, economic development and housing for the low- to moderate-income population.  Since the Foundation began, more than $18 million has been committed to hundreds of different non-profit organizations.  In 2016, the Foundation awarded $1.7 million to various 501©(3) organizations.