Worcester-based Pernet Family Health Service to hold ‘Curling Challenge’


By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter

Planning Committee, volunteers and Pernet staff at the Fidelity Bank Worcester Arena
Photo/Melanie Petrucci

Region – Since the U.S. Men’s Curling Team won Gold in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, there has been an increase in interest in the sport. Pernet Family Health Service, Inc. is seizing the moment by hosting the first annual Pernet Cup Curling Challenge Saturday, April 13, at the Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Arena, 112 Harding St. in Worcester, from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The event can accommodate 16 teams who will engage in lighthearted and good-spirited competition in a round robin format. There will be fun for the whole family. Spectators are most welcome and can register for $10 per person at www.pernetcurling.eventbrite.com. Students and seniors are $5 per person. Tickets will also be available at the door. Teams of six can register for $300 by visiting www.tinyurl.com/pernetcurling. No experience necessary – coaching and equipment will be provided.

Pernet Family Health Services has been supporting and strengthening families in the Kelley Square neighborhood of Worcester for over 60 years. It is a nonprofit organization that offers a range of programs and services to those in need, including early intervention and youth programs, emergency assistance, food and infant supplies, maternity care, parenting classes and more. Services targets social isolation, housing instability, abuse and neglect while breaking down barriers.

“The idea for The Pernet Cup Curling Challenge came to me as I was thinking of a unique way to raise money and create a fun way to bring families and people together to support the Pernet Family Health Service,” said John Smithhisler, Pernet board member and Planning Committee chair. “One of my objectives was to find a way to include the entire family since Pernet is a family-focused organization.”

Smithhisler, a Shrewsbury resident and former CEO of St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, also said that there were some raised eyebrows when the idea was first introduced but the more people thought and talked about it the enthusiasm grew.

“There are many golf tournaments as fundraisers, walks and runs and even soccer tournaments.  But I had never heard of a curling fundraiser,” Smithhisler added.

When asked how the funds raised will be used, Pernet Executive Director Sheilah Dooley said that all funds will support their services and programs.

“Pernet recognizes that to be well we have to support the physical, social, psychological and spiritual development of individuals and families,” remarked board member Rosalie A. Torres Stone. From her perspective, Pernet offers a holistic approach.

“They also understand that working with all relevant community stakeholders (partners) to improve the lives of the Worcester community…It’s an organization that values diversity and inclusion and strength-based approaches to care,” she noted.

Sponsors of the event include Woods Insurance, Baystate Savings Bank, Savers Bank and Flaherty Physical Therapy. For more information about Pernet Family Health Services, visit www.pernetfamilyhealth.org.