Served: City Year Boston’s Civic Engagement Team from 2010-2011 and Care Force from 2011-2012
Current position: Senior Program Officer with the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation
Fun fact: I really enjoy participating in races and challenges like Tough Mudder and Battle Frog, which I do with other City Year alums!
City Year Boston (CYB): What first attracted you to City Year?
Ashley Hackett (AH): City Year Boston’s Civic Engagement team is what initially attracted me to City Year. I’ve always loved physical service and learning about different parts of the community.
CYB: What is your proudest moment from your service year?
AH: One moment from my service year was leading my first event at the Mattahunt Elementary School. Due to a snowstorm, it had to be rescheduled to take place at the same time as another service day, meaning our team was serving in several different locations all over the city. However, since I had great training from my Program Manager, Mollie Puskar, it was a great event that the volunteers really enjoyed. The Mattahunt is now my favorite school in Boston.
CYB: Describe your transition from City Year to your current career.
AH: My transition from City Year to my work with the Harvard Pilgrim Foundation was easy because both organizations have “community” as a core value and in their mission statement. To me, working for a company that shares the same values I have makes the job easier and makes me happy to come to work every day.
CYB: What is your current job and title? What do you do in this role?
AH: I am the Senior Program Officer with the grant side of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation. In my role, I lead and manage the Foundation’s Healthy Food Fund initiatives and grant programs in all of Massachusetts. I also manage an internal program called the Mini-Grant program that gives employees the benefit to donate $500 to the nonprofit organization of their choice. The stacks and stacks of thank you letters on my desk make me proud to manage this Harvard Pilgrim benefit.
CYB: What do you love most about your job?
AH: Everything! My job is to help Harvard Pilgrim employees engage in the communities where we live and work, whether it’s donating hundreds of backpacks filled with school supplies to a local school, helping to eliminate food insecurities through Mobile Food Markets, or painting a local homeless shelter that hasn’t been painted in years. Before I do anything, I think about how this will affect the community and if this will help get them the resources they need. Seriously, I truly believe that I have the best job.
CYB: How did City Year prepare you for this position?
AH: City Year not only gave me the tools and training needed for the work I do with Harvard Pilgrim, it gave me the tools to do it well. More importantly, City Year helped show me, first hand, the disparities and issues occurring in our own community. That is something I will always cherish and carry in the work I do every day.
CYB: What does it mean to you to continue to stay involved with City Year as an alum, both in your professional role and personally, and why do you do it?
AH: Staying engaged is extremely important as the network is so large and full of great people and resources. Engaging with networks such as City Year and AmeriCorps Alums is a great way to stay connected and informed about what is happening around your community.