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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Fleet of Fidelity volunteers transforms Nashua’s Elm Street Middle School

NASHUA – More than 150 Fidelity Investments employees played hooky from work on Friday, but they had the boss’s OK, given where they were heading.

A horde of volunteers 160 strong took over Elm Street Middle School as part of the company’s annual School Transformation Day. ...

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NASHUA – More than 150 Fidelity Investments employees played hooky from work on Friday, but they had the boss’s OK, given where they were heading.

A horde of volunteers 160 strong took over Elm Street Middle School as part of the company’s annual School Transformation Day.

It’s the fifth time the financiers descended on the school, and they spent the day sprucing up the building and grounds and painting a pair of murals.

The volunteers were joined by Tom Hassan, New Hampshire’s “first gentleman,” along with Mayor Donnalee Lozeau, Nashua Superintendent of Schools Mark Conrad and the school’s principal, Mike Fredricksen.

“I look around this room and see the numbers of people, and I can’t wait to see the work you do,” Hassan said.

Hassan has championed volunteerism since his wife took over the governor’s office. He launched the Help Out New Hampshire initiative last summer, and visited each of the state’s 10 counties to meet with various community service groups.

“I really wanted to go around the state and thank people for their efforts,” he said.

Joe Murray, Fidelity’s vice president of public affairs, said the company’s School Transformation Day aims to revitalize city schools inside and out.

“Our goal is to reinvigorate the environment and make it a positive, fun place to learn,” said Jack Johnson, the chief compliance officer at Fidelity’s campus in Merrimack.

Johnson said employee participation in community outreach has grown year after year.

Fidelity’s community outreach efforts, Fidelity Cares, also includes tutoring sessions, after-school programs and career-oriented field trips.

Fidelity volunteers will be transforming another school on Saturday, this time Mount Pleasant Elementary.

On Friday, the volunteer teams were all over Elm Street School. Each team had a specialized mission. Murray said they work with the School District, teachers and principal of a given school to see where the most need is.

This year, that was a focus on teacher areas and administrative spaces, where volunteers built shelving and painted murals.

They also built a shady sitting area in one of the courtyards and did landscaping around the building and in the courtyards.

“The appearance of a school is significant,” Murray said. “That’s what prompted this day.”

In her address to volunteers, Lozeau said, “You’re telling a whole group of students that somebody cares about them.”

Tina Forbes can be reached at 594-6402 or tforbes@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Forbes on Twitter (@Telegraph_TinaF).