FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Over the past seven years, the Kraft family and the New England Patriots Foundation have placed a strong emphasis on celebrating volunteerism and honored hundreds of volunteers in the process. Throughout the 2017 season, the foundation continues its mission of teaming with nonprofit organizations to educate fans about the need for volunteering, highlight deserving volunteers from across the region and seek to inspire Patriots fans to become lifelong volunteers.
Every week throughout the season, the Kraft family and the foundation present the "Patriots Difference Maker of the Week" award, which recognizes deserving volunteers who go above and beyond to support their local community and nonprofit organizations.
"So many nonprofit organizations rely on the work of volunteers," said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. "We encourage everyone to volunteer and like to highlight those who do the most to positively impact their communities. It's nice to give credit to those who are most deserving and to reward the nonprofits they represent."
Catherine Duncan from Fairhaven, Mass. was selected as a Patriots Difference Maker of the Week for her commitment to School on Wheels of Massachusetts.
Duncan started volunteering two years ago with School on Wheels of Massachusetts (SOWMA) which brings tutors into local homeless shelters. She uses her background in engineering to promote STEM based learning in the shelter. Last year she was paired up with a 12 year old female student who was notorious for skipping school and failing to turn in homework. In just over a year, Duncan has managed to bond with the young student over a shared interest in marine biology and now, the young student has passing grades and dreams of going to college.
"I am so honored to be selected as a 2017 Patriots Difference Maker of the Week," said Duncan. "Volunteering at School on Wheels of Massachusetts is something I look forward to every week. Volunteering, especially tutoring is important to me because I feel like every student deserves the tools to be successful. SOWMA provides those tools to students affected by homelessness. Seeing these students succeed is so rewarding."
Duncan was awarded SOWMA Tutor of the Year for her volunteer efforts and received an official citation from the state senate. Her commitment to STEM learning is an inspiration to everyone around her. She strives to make a difference for each student she works with and avidly recruits other potential tutors to get involved.
Duncan will join 14 other outstanding volunteers for a special in-game ceremony at the Patriots Dec. 31 game against the New York Jets. She will also be featured in the Patriots Football Weekly newspaper, Patriots GameDay magazine and on www.patriots.com/community.
For more information about the Celebrate Volunteerism initiative, including pictures and videos of Patriots players giving back to the community, resources and information about volunteering, or the "Patriots Difference Maker of the Week" award, visit www.patriots.com/community.