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A local volunteer group called Team Haverhill has received notification from the Massachusetts Cultural Council that it was selected to receive a 2011 Commonwealth Award, in the category of “Creative Community.” According to the Council’s Executive Director, Anita Walker, Team Haverhill is being recognized for its “extraordinary efforts to make Haverhill a better place to live, work, and visit.”

“Team Haverhill is both surprised and honored to receive statewide recognition in our fifth anniversary year,” said Team Haverhill Chairwoman Alice Mann. “It’s not easy to play a role in our city’s life that is both independent and collaborative, but we seem to be hitting our stride.” Major projects over the last three years include a successful push for curbside pickup of all recyclables; the 2009 “Soles of Haverhill Shoe-la-bration” public art project; the 2010 “River Ruckus” downtown event; and the recent launch of the Haverhill Youth Mentor Network, whose first phase pairs adult mentors with twenty-five fourth-graders at the Tilton School.

Given every two years, the Commonwealth Awards are a means by which the Massachusetts Cultural Council may “shine a spotlight on the extraordinary contributions that arts and culture make to education, economic vitality, and quality of life in communities across the state.” Past Commonwealth Award winners include cellist Yo-Yo Ma; historian David McCullough; the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival; and the Peabody Essex Museum.

The award ceremony will take place on February 9, 2011 at the State House. Representative Brian Dempsey is expected to present Team Haverhill’s award. Boston native John Slattery-an accomplished stage and screen actor and a star of the critically acclaimed TV show “Mad Men”-will deliver the keynote address. This free event runs from 1-4 pm is open to the public; registration opens in January. For more information, visit, or visit Team Haverhill on Facebook.