This Week we Celebrate Youth Volunteerism!
For the week of Sept. 14, the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation will work in cooperation with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, the Hockomock Area YMCAs, Wags 4 Dogs and Weymouth High School to celebrate the next generation of volunteers.
From September 2011 to April 2014, students at Weymouth High School spent more than 65,000 hours volunteering out in the community. The program continues to grow and is helping to motivate the next generation of volunteers. Why We Celebrate Youth Volunteerism:
Congratulations to our "Patriots Difference Maker of the Week" Tara Balan Volunteers with Cradles to Crayons, Project 351 and SADD
- Youth are the next generation of volunteers.
- It is an opportunity to recognize youth that are committed to supporting their communities.
- These youth are following the Kraft family’s example of being lifelong volunteers.
- We hope to inspire other youth to get involved and find new opportunities to volunteer.
Tara Balan, a senior at Weymouth High School, has spent her entire high school career taking advantage of opportunities to serve others. At the age of 14, she was chosen to represent the Town of Weymouth in the Launch of Project 351, a community service initiative with a mission to "unite diverse 8th grade service Ambassadors from every city and town in the Commonwealth for an inspirational year of community service, leadership development, and enrichment." Since then, Tara has lead multiple service projects including a commemoration for the victims of 9/11 and, most recently, a clothing drive for Cradles to Crayons. For this drive, Tara coordinated placement of collection bins across the Weymouth school district and recruiting peers to help collect, sort and deliver the donations. She is also an active member and Vice President of her school's chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD). She works with this chapter to educate her peers about the dangers of self-harm, drugs, and alcohol among other dangerous decisions. Tara is now a senior in high school and has been instrumental in building Weymouth's VIP program. She hopes to continue to be an active Volunteer in Practice (VIP) and serve others through her final year in Weymouth and into her college life.
Here are some additional stories about just some of the youth who are committed to bettering their communities and have dedicated hundreds of hours to give back: Juliette and Lynette Alvarez - Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston
Juliette, age 14, has been a member of the Jordan Boys and Girls Club for 8 years. Juliette is an active member of our club community and always willing to lend a helping hand. Juliette is the past president of our Torch Club a youth volunteer program, in which she has helped organize making care packages for kids at Children’s Hospital, baking cookies for local police stations and fire houses, and helping younger members read more books. This past summer Juliette was a member of our Young Leader program where she worked with members in the club during summer camp as well as participating in community service projects.
Lynette, age 14, is an enthusiastic athlete that loves passing on that enthusiasm to our younger club members. You can always find Lynette in the gym helping coach hockey, play basketball or play on the scooters with our youngest members. Lynette is always willing to participate in any opportunity given to her and has always been an active volunteer, helping in community clean-up projects on the weekend, working with volunteer organizations in the club and being willing to help whenever a staff asks. This summer she was participated in our volunteer Young Leader program helping with summer camp and volunteering in the community. Annie Blumenfeld - Wags 4 Hope
Annie started a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization called Wags 4 Hope two years ago after her rescue dog Teddy had a near death experience with heartworm disease. She works to encourage pet responsibility and help support shelter animals medical needs. Annie, age 16, works with children in her community to teach them how to properly take care of their pet, and raises donations for shelters and rescue groups through her artwork. To date, Annie has sold over 250 paintings. She also donates her artwork to hospitals to help brighten the cancer patients’ days. She created a bill with her state representative that aimed to have pet responsibility education in all of the shelters in Connecticut and on the Connecticut Dog License. Annie also started a Wags 4 Hope Club at her school to get her peers involved in helping animals in their community. With more than 30 members, the group collects toys and food for shelters in their surrounding communities. Neive Doyle - Weymouth Recreation’s "Exceptional Program"
Neive volunteers with boundless enthusiasm at the Weymouth Recreation's "Exceptional Program." "I leave knowing I can make a difference in someone's life. As a member of the Volunteers In Practice program, I enjoy the feeling of knowing I made someone smile that day. One little action is all it takes." "The Exceptional Program" is an organization that provides children ages 6 to 22 who special needs such as Down Syndrome and high-functioning autism with a summer camp they will never forget. Neive works with her campers to help them make friends, learn new skills, and form lifelong memories. Activities include two aquatic days, bowling, arts and crafts, jazzercise, martial arts and a field trip each week. Neive admits that she volunteers her summer to this cause because "who you are helping is benefitting the most, but there is a little place inside myself that benefits as well. I hope I am always able to help my community, I love it so much. That is why I am honored to be a VIP and to be a person with the power to help be the change." Brittany Johnston - New Baby Bundles
From making blankets to put in care packages for homeless newborns and their Parents for New Baby Bundles to teaching kids as young as three years old not only how to defend themselves but also how to be confident, respectful, and always put forth their best effort, I have donated much of my time and energy to trying to make the world a better place. I have worked with Birthday Wishes to throw birthday parties for children with mental illnesses such as Autism or Aspergers whose families are either unable or unwilling to be there and volunteered with Linden Ponds to help run the Walk for Alzheimer's in addition to raising money to try to find a cure. With the Marching Band, I help inspire school and town spirit and pride, from marching in parades to visiting the middle school band to help with their events. I have donated over 500 hours since becoming a student at WHS. Erin McGinley - Hockomock YMCA
Walk into the Hockomock Area YMCA’s Bernon Family Branch in Franklin and you'll likely find Erin McGinley. Between volunteering, part-time work, and exercise, Erin is always at the Y. She is passionate about helping people and doing better for the world. Erin recalls, "When I moved to Franklin in 3rd grade, I joined the Y’s afterschool childcare where I found my second home. The Hockomock Y helped me fit in." Erin tells everyone she knows to join the Hockomock Area YMCA Teen Leaders Club, which helped her to see community service as so much more. "I love service and the Y taught me that," says Erin. She volunteers in the Hockomock Y’s Integration Initiative and runs weekly Teen Leaders meetings. Last summer, Erin earned a once in a lifetime trip to Prague to attend YMCA Europe Festival, a week-long event uniting 10,000 YMCA youth. Nick Mecsas - Hockomock YMCA
Nick Mecsas-Faxon has developed into a true leader and role model to chidren and families at the Y’s Invensys Foxboro Branch. A Sharon, MA resident, Nick has a passion for building community. "I really enjoy playing a role in building bonds among kids at YMCA camps," says Nick. Through sports, he teaches kids respect and to work hard as part of a team. He adds, "Seeing kids develop, and assisting in that process, is extremely rewarding. The Y has given me confidence. It’s given me something of my own, something I’m good at, something I love doing." In addition to running sports programs, Nick is a leader in charge of training high school staff at the Invensys Foxboro Branch. Nick appreciates when kids run up to him smiling at the Y because he is just as happy to see them. He thrives on helping kids and staff develop. Andrew Waple - Hockomock YMCA
Andrew Waple, North Attleboro resident and graduate of Tri Country High School, is a shining example of a talented teen who has a passion for making a difference. A motivating leader, he is consistently the first person to arrive and the last person to leave when he volunteers at events and initiatives through the Hockomock Area YMCA’s Teen Leaders program. He talked about how the Y impacts his daily life, "The Y gave me confidence to work with kids and taught me how to be a leader, to help and encourage kids, make others smile, and make a difference." With a brightness that surrounds him, Andrew embraces every opportunity that comes his way to make a difference.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston
30 Willow Street
Chelsea, MA 02150
Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston mission is to help young people; especially those who need us most, build strong character and realize their full potential as responsible citizens and leaders.
They strongly believe in the valuable role that volunteers play in transforming the lives of their members. As little as one hour per week is all it takes to have a positive impact on a child’s life. Every Club offers volunteer opportunities for adults to work directly with youth as mentors and tutors, and by providing career guidance, internships and college preparation support. Volunteer Opportunities
Some opportunities for youth to get involved and give back to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston include:
- Homework Help/Tutoring
- Maintenance Projects
- Data Entry
To learn more, please click here
The Hockomock Area YMCA
The Hockomock Area YMCA is a 501 (c)3 organization committed to meeting the needs of our 15 town service area. They enable all individuals to participate in our programs, services, and events through funds raised during its annual Reach Out for Youth and Families campaign. The Y instills four core values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility in all of its programs, services, and activities and positively impacts the lives of the communities’ youth. More than half of its members are under the age of 18 years. With a focus on Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility, we continue to develop programs and services based on the needs of the communities it serves. Volunteers are critical to the Hockomock Area YMCA:
To volunteer, please call the following numbers:
- The success of a human service organization like the Hockomock Area YMCA can be measured in the engagement and volunteerism its mission inspires
- The Hockomock Area YMCA is a volunteer driven organization whose dedicated program and policy volunteers make a difference in the lives of area children and families every day.
- Last year 833 volunteers contributed 22,962 hours to support the mission of the Hockomock Area YMCA Volunteer Opportunities:
- Integration Initiative: The Hockomock Area YMCA’s innovative initiative focused on inclusion, opportunity and impact. Volunteers will work with children with special needs and also with the Y’s unified sports teams (flag football, golf, basketball, etc. This program has been made possible by the support and involvement of the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation and New England Patriots Alumni Club.
- Program volunteer opportunities are available in aquatics, children’s programs, LIVESTRONG at the YMCA a program for Cancer Survivors and their Families, and YMCA Special Events
- Volunteer Coaching opportunities in various Youth Sports Leagues
- Franklin: (508) 528-8708
- Foxboro: (508) 543-2523
- North Attleboro: (508) 695-7001
Wags 4 Hope
The goals of Wags 4 Hope are:
- To spread heartworm disease awareness to pet owners and help support shelter animals’ medical needs.
- To help raise donations to support shelter animals that are in need and to be able to donate toys, food, and blankets to animals to make their stay in the shelter more comfortable
- To raise awareness about heartworm and how pet owners can protect their pet from the emotional, and expensive process
- To share Annie’s story so others will not have to experience what her dog went through
- People can open up a Wags 4 Hope chapter or club in their community and donate to local animal shelters/ spread the mission
- Local/Corporate Businesses who are interested in working with Wags 4 Hope to help fundraise for animal shelters
- Volunteers to help with pet responsibility education events - Wags 4 Hope works with young children on teaching them proper pet care and it is always great to have a few extra hands!
To learn more, please click here
Weymouth High School
Weymouth High School has instituted a volunteer program at their school and been partnering with the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation since 2012 to encourage and motivate the next generation of volunteers. The program continues to grow and has expanded into the elementary and middle schools. Here are some details about their volunteer program: What is the VIP program?
The VIP program, which stands for Volunteers in Practice, is an honors society for student volunteerism. It exists to honor students who do valuable, inspirational and purposeful service. To date, Weymouth High School students have poured over 70,000 hours of good into their community and beyond. Their volunteerism has strengthened the town and touched lives as they’ve hosted food drives, cleaned up parks, supported the troops, and much more. Though the impact of all students involved in volunteerism is great, some students exceed volunteerism expectations. Through their outstanding volunteerism, these students earn a special standing as a "VIP," or a Volunteer In Practice. Once nominated to the society, student VIPs take leadership roles to be the change they wish to see in the world. What makes a student a VIP? A VIP
is a student who does V.I.P. service. V.I.P. service is defined as service that is valuable, inspirational, and purposeful. Valuable
- The student’s volunteerism helps someone. It makes a difference and is impactful. Inspirational
- The student’s volunteerism inspires others to volunteer themselves. Purposeful
- The student is deeply invested in the volunteer activity. Who can be a VIP?
Any student can be a VIP! The VIP program is distinct in its inclusive nature. There are no academic, athletic, or monetary requirements. Any student can aspire to become a VIP as long as they practice valuable, inspirational, and purposeful service. The VIP program does live up to its VIP namesake however. The VIP distinction is a special privilege so that students are motivated to earn the distinction and so that those who become VIPs can serve as excellent role models to their peers. How did the VIPs inspire volunteerism this year?
The WHS VIPs exercised their leadership by opening the VIP Student Center at Weymouth High School. This office is run by students for students and exists to help support volunteerism opportunities throughout the district. More importantly, it helps the VIPs organize and run volunteerism events themselves. One such event this year was the Chores for Change campaign that the VIPs ran at Ralph Talbot and Hamilton Primary schools. In this program, primary school students did chores at home in exchange for donations from family members. The money they raised was then donated to families in need and the Weymouth Food Pantry. Combined, the students at Talbot and Hamilton raised over $2,000 through the program. In addition, 41 of the primary students who demonstrated valuable, inspirational and purposeful service were inducted as Jr. VIPs. Weymouth High School eagerly looks forward to share this program with surrounding districts and see the spirit of celebrating volunteerism spread throughout the public schools.
The Patriots Celebrate Volunteerism
The Celebrate Volunteerism initiative aims to share examples of dedicated volunteers, build awareness of the need for volunteering, identify and educate others about volunteer opportunities and inspire New Englanders to follow the Kraft family's example of becoming a lifelong volunteer.
Throughout the season, the Kraft family and New England Patriots Charitable Foundation will celebrate volunteers that work tirelessly to support children and families in need throughout the New England region, while also encouraging Patriots fans to get involved in their communities. From animals and arts to military and homelessness, the foundation will have different weekly focuses throughout the season. Each week, the Kraft family and foundation recognizes one outstanding volunteer as the "Patriots Difference Maker of the Week."
Fifteen outstanding volunteers will be named as a Patriots Difference Maker of the Week and are recognized at Patriots Community Tuesday events. During the players one day off, they can be found out in the community at a nonprofit organization based around the weekly theme. Current and former Patriots players will interact with children and families each week and present the Patriots Difference Maker of the Week with an award. Patriots cheerleaders, mascot Pat Patriot and families of Patriots players and coaches will also be actively involved in the Celebrate Volunteerism initiative throughout the season.
The Kraft family and foundation encourage all Patriots fans to join us! Celebrate Volunteerism activities include the opportunity for fans to pledge volunteer hours and submit photos of their own "Patriots Difference Maker" certificates. Patriots' fans from around the world can send along their photos that will be used on our website. Each week, the foundation will also post volunteer opportunities that are available with our partnering nonprofit organizations.
Be sure to check back here throughout the season for the most up to date information on the Celebrate Volunteerism initiative.
2014 Celebrate Volunteerism Weekly Schedule
To view the 2013 Celebrate Volunteerism initiative, click here
||WEEKLY VOLUNTEERISM FOCUS
||Exercise and Healthy Eating Volunteerism
||Arts and Music Volunteerism
||Special Needs Volunteerism
||Bullying, Domestic Violence and Drug Prevention Volunteerism
||Holiday Giving Volunteerism
||Senior Advocacy Volunteerism