Big things are happening in Erie! As a major employer in this city for more than a decade, UPMC Health Plan plays an active role in northwest Pennsylvania’s economic and community development. Our regional sales and community relations staff are centrally located in the historic Erie Boston Store building, along with a UPMC Health Plan Connect Service and Sales Center in Millcreek Mall. Since many of our staff members are lifelong Erie residents, they are often spotted at local community events, fundraisers, and sports games, too!
Described below are just a few of the organizations and programs we support in Erie. In addition to these, you may learn about our other collaborations in this region:
Erie City Schools Safety Patrol Picnic
Being on school safety patrol is often one of a student’s first leadership experiences. This is a position of authority that students must learn to use wisely, and it gives them responsibility for other children in their care. In collaboration with the Erie Public Schools, the City of Erie, and the Erie Mayor’s Office, UPMC Health Plan rewards these students for their service with a day of fun at Waldameer Park. More than 700 students from 19 different schools participate in this celebration annually.
Erie Downtown D’Lights
When the weather turns cold and crisp in December, it’s time for the Erie Downtown Partnership’s annual Downtown D’Lights holiday celebration! Every year, thousands of residents turn out for an evening of festive cheer, caroling, hot chocolate, and holiday-themed activities as Perry Square and city streets are transformed into a wonderland of colorful lights.
The historic Erie Boston Store building was a major department store from the 1880s until 1979 that now serves as mixed-use office space and is the former site of UPMC Health Plan’s Erie office location (we are now located at 100 State Street). In December 2012, UPMC Health Plan installed a lifelike 36-foot Christmas tree — complete with lights, decorations, and a crowning star — atop the building’s main entrance canopy for all to enjoy. For many lifelong residents, the tree evokes memories of when the Boston Store decorated its windows and canopy during the holiday seasons of the 1950s and 1960s. While the Erie Boston Store is now an old memory, UPMC Health Plan is making new memories by annually installing the tree and hosting Santa Claus, undoubtedly the main attraction of Downtown D’Lights! We are pleased to be part of this family tradition.
At Erie’s annual Downtown d’Lights celebration, UPMC Health Plan hosts Santa Claus. Hundreds of families line-up to see the jolly old elf, sip hot cocoa, and sing holiday carols. UPMC Health Plan’s employees get in on the fun, too!
Minor League Sports
With several minor league sports teams in the area, Erie residents enjoy small-town living with the sports entertainment value of a big city.
The Erie SeaWolves baseball team hosts UPMC Health Plan Education Days at its facility, Jerry Uht Park. Teachers use baseball-themed lesson plans to cover a variety of subject areas so that more than 7,000 students from 60 elementary schools are prepared for a full learning experience during their visit. We also “Paint the Park Pink” every year to raise awareness of breast cancer, and we host an expo for senior citizens so that they enjoy the game at a discounted rate. In C. Wolf’s Healthy Challenge, the SeaWolves’ mascot encourages students to complete a physical activity and nutrition checklist to receive two tickets to a SeaWolves baseball game.
Similar to the SeaWolves’ Education Days, the Erie Bayhawks basketball team hosts an annual School Kids Jam field trip made possible by UPMC Health Plan. More than 5,000 elementary school children pack the Erie Insurance Arena every year to enjoy a free midday game, participate in an essay contest, and receive educational workbooks.
We also support the Erie Otters, a major junior league hockey team. UPMC Health Plan’s member appreciation weekend in December 2015 drew over 10,000 fans!
Safe Harbor Behavioral Health, Community Care Behavioral Health Organization, and UPMC Health Plan teamed up to establish SAFELine in 2011. The only service of its kind in Erie, SAFELine is a 24/7/365 toll-free crisis intervention hotline with additional on-ground, clinical support counseling services for preteens and teens.
Professionally-trained behavioral health counselors assist with issues such as bullying, teen pregnancy, suicide, dating, rape, and peer pressure. SAFELine is a community effort that reaches local K-12 public and private schools, businesses, and parent organizations. Each year, about 10 high school students from different schools are appointed to SAFELine’s Youth Advisory Council. These students help SAFELine’s staff stay on top of relevant issues and learn how to reach students with effective, positive messaging.
In 2012, UPMC Health Plan and SAFELine hosted an art contest for elementary school students and a video contest for high school students to encourage creative ideas for bullying prevention. The winners of the contests celebrated their achievement at an Erie SeaWolves baseball game in a VIP suite. They were recognized on-field, and their winning artwork and video were displayed on the Jumbotron at Jerry Uht Park for all to see.