Advocate Staff Report
Robert DeLeo, former Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, was honored recently by the team at Roca, Inc. for his 30 years of dedication to the young people whom Roca has served in 22 communities across Massachusetts. DeLeo visited Roca’s headquarters in Chelsea, where the organization was founded in 1988.
The visit began with an impactful meeting between DeLeo, Roca Founder/CEO Molly Baldwin and Roca staff who at one time or another were participants in Roca’s programming when they were younger. The staff shared with the former Speaker the transformational impact Roca has had and continues to have on their lives. DeLeo shared his own experiences after growing up in the area and working alongside Roca throughout his tenure in the Legislature, first as a new state legislator in the 1990s when he had constituents participating in Roca’s fledging program, and later as Chair of the Ways & Means Committee and as Speaker, when his backing helped Roca expand its services across the Commonwealth.
“Speaker DeLeo supported our organization, our programming and our young people every step of the way, and we are truly grateful for the continued friendship that we share with him,” said Baldwin. “Without Speaker DeLeo, Roca wouldn’t be the organization we are today and, more importantly, we would not have been able to positively impact as many lives as we have.”
Before DeLeo concluded his visit, a larger group of Roca staff then gathered to thank DeLeo for his support throughout his years in the legislature and to present him with an award Roca originally intended to give him in March of 2020 – immediately prior to the pandemic.
“Speaker DeLeo is an extraordinary person and leader, and he has never wavered in believing that change is possible for the extraordinary young people that we serve,” said Baldwin. “We appreciate his visiting Roca and providing us an opportunity to honor and thank him in person.”