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Mayor Jeannette McCarthy, United Way and Sallie Mae Cut the Ribbon on New Waltham Learning Trail for Area Children

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Surrounded by area children, families, volunteers and supporters in Nipper-Maher Park, Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy along with Sallie Mae Chairman and CEO Raymond Quinlan and United Way Chief of External Affairs Jeffery Hayward today cut the ribbon on a new and interactive early education learning trail. The Learning Trail is designed for children under the age of six and provides early learning opportunities through fun interactive activities, games, and physical challenges that exercise both the body and mind to support school readiness.

City of Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy, Sallie Mae Chairman and CEO Raymond Quinlan, United Way Ch

City of Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy, Sallie Mae Chairman and CEO Raymond Quinlan, United Way Chief of External Affairs Jeffery Hayward and area children cut the ribbon on new early education learning trail in Nipper-Maher Park. (Photo: Business Wire)

“We are happy to partner with the United Way and Sallie Mae to bring this fun and educational trail to Nipper Maher Park,” said Mayor Jeannette McCarthy. “This is the latest addition to the recreational opportunities at Nipper Maher Park.”

“We welcome partners like Sallie Mae and the City of Waltham to help give the strongest start to young children in our region,” said Jeffery Hayward, Chief of External Affairs at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. “The science shows that doing learning activities together does a lot more than develop skills and strengths that prepare children for kindergarten – it actually builds connections in the developing brain. We’re proud to join Sallie Mae in bringing ‘brain building’ in such a fun way to this community through the Learning Trail.”

The official opening of the Learning Trail is the culmination of a two year project and partnership between the City of Waltham, the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, and Sallie Mae-the nation’s leading saving, planning and paying for college company. In addition to climbing obstacles and tunnels, a dinosaur fossil dig and talking tubes for children, the Learning Trail supports and engages parents by promoting ongoing engagement in and exploration of colors, letters, numbers, the natural world, and physical fitness activities.

The Learning Trail was made possible through a $40,000 grant by The Sallie Mae Fund, the philanthropic arm of Sallie Mae. With a facility in nearby Newton, Sallie Mae has been part of the local community for more than a decade.

“The development of the Learning Trail has been a labor of love for our employees here in Massachusetts who are passionate about giving back to the local community,” said Raymond Quinlan, Chairman and CEO, Sallie Mae. “What’s more, by helping our youngest students develop skills and excitement around learning, we prepare them for success down the road including achieving the dream of a higher education.”

The project is also an extension of United Way’s “Brain Building in Progress” initiative, a public/private partnership of the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, and community leaders. This statewide, public-private partnership aims to raise awareness of the importance of the first few years of a child’s development to their future success – and the region’s future workforce and prosperity.

Weston & Sampson and Forte Landscaping and Construction led the engineering and installation of the Learning Trail. For more information on the United Way’s “Brain Building in Progress” initiative, please visit

For information and resources to build a plan to save and pay for college, visit

About United Way of Massachusetts Bay & Merrimack Valley One of the region’s largest nonprofits, United Way’s work ensures that children enter school ready to learn, youth stay engaged in school so they graduate with options for the future, and parents attain financial stability. United Way has the scope, expertise, and influence to bring together hundreds of human services agencies, government, businesses, private foundations and dedicated volunteers around a common vision of creating maximum impact and achieving long-lasting results.

Sallie Mae (NASDAQ:SLM) is the nation’s saving, planning, and paying for college company. Whether college is a long way off or just around the corner, Sallie Mae offers products that promote responsible personal finance including private education loans, Upromise rewards, scholarship search, college financial planning tools, insurance, and online retail banking. Learn more at Commonly known as Sallie Mae, SLM Corporation and its subsidiaries are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.

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