FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Eight years ago the Kraft family and the Patriots Foundation introduced Celebrate Volunteerism, a season-long initiative focused on recognizing community volunteers and promoting the importance of giving back to the community through service. Throughout the 2018 season, the foundation will continue its Celebrate Volunteerism initiative by teaming with nonprofit organizations to educate fans about the need for volunteering, highlighting deserving volunteers from across the region and seeking to inspire Patriots fans to become lifelong volunteers. The foundation will present a weekly “Patriots Difference Maker of the Week” award, which recognizes deserving volunteers who go above and beyond to support their New England communities.
“We originally started the Celebrate Volunteerism initiative as a tribute to my sweetheart, Myra,” said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. “Over the past eight years, it has become the heart and soul of the Patriots Foundation, just like Myra was. We enjoy shining the light on local volunteers that are committed to improving the lives of children and families across the region, and we hope that this inspires our fans to get more involved in their communities.”
Dorothy Long from Everett, Mass., has been selected as a Patriots Difference Maker of the Week for her commitment to Housing Families Inc. (HFI), a nonprofit organization that serves low-income Greater Boston families who are homeless, at risk of becoming homeless, or newly housed in affordable housing. The organization supports more than 1,000 families by offering individualized supportive services to enrich children’s lives, nurture the potential of each family member and help families maintain permanent housing.
In order to provide these services, HFI relies on volunteers like Dorothy. She has been actively volunteering for more than 13 years in their GREAT Youth and Families Program, which provides tutoring and therapy to children. Dorothy works one-on-one with children, assisting them with their homework and review lessons. She often works with children who have a variety of behavioral and emotional challenges; some of them have been labeled as “bad kids.” Dorothy has the ability to engage the students, teach them how to focus and provide them with positive encouragement.
“I volunteer because I enjoy helping others, especially children,” said Dorothy. “I consider them little diamonds in the rough; all we need to do is spend time a little time polishing them, and one day they will shine.”
Many of the children do not have a dependable adult in their lives but are able to build meaningful relationships with Dorothy, who helps them to achieve academic and personal growth. With Dorothy’s support, children are able to heal, grow and learn in a safe, compassionate environment.
“I think it is important for each one of us to reach one and teach one,” said Dorothy. “Volunteering is a very rewarding endeavor. Everyone has some way they can lend a helping hand to help someone else.”
Fifteen individuals will be named Patriots Difference Makers throughout the season. The outstanding volunteers will be recognized on the Patriots’ website and in print materials, including Patriots Football Weekly and Patriots GameDay magazine. They will also be honored during a special ceremony at the Patriots’ final regular-season home game against the New York Jets on Sunday, December 30.
Fans are encouraged to nominate a local volunteer for the Patriots Difference Maker of the Week award by visiting www.patriots.com/community. To learn more about HFI, visit www.housingfamilies.org.