FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (Sept. 22, 2017) - Over the past seven years, the Kraft family and the New England Patriots Foundation have placed a strong emphasis on celebrating volunteerism, honoring 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."
Mike Cogburn fromPembroke, Mass. was selected as the Patriots Difference Maker of the Week for his volunteer efforts with Pembroke Titans Against Drugs.
As a parent and volunteer coach, Cogburn has been overwhelmed by the local drug and alcohol problem and saw the significant need for education about drug abuse and addiction. Three years ago, he sought out Pembroke politicians, educators and community groups and formed Pembroke Titans Against Drugs (PTAD).
"Why I volunteer is quite simple - it's with the hope of making a difference in the life of just one child in our community," said Cogburn. "I started Pembroke Titans Against Drugs because I was scared. I was scared that our kids weren't getting enough information or education about the dangers of drug abuse and how it manifests itself into addiction. I was also scared that some kids don't have the confidence in themselves to make healthy decisions."
With his guidance, PTAD has sponsored several educational programs and community forums with local law enforcement and political experts on the heroin crisis and recent marijuana question on the ballot. Cogburn also created the Pembroke Youth Pledge program where sixth graders pledge to avoid drugs and alcohol and make good decisions after listening to the inspiring stories of graduating high school seniors.
Through this nonprofit, two Pembroke graduating seniors receive the True Titan Scholarship award each year for promoting the PTAD mission and goals through their community service and choices during high school. Thanks to Cogburn's leadership and work ethic, Pembroke now has a strong drug prevention coalition that brings the entire community together with a shared mission of one day making Pembroke drug-free. "I want to make sure that kids have the discipline, confidence and positive reinforcement to keep them going in the right direction," Cogburn continued. "I may not be perfect at it, but I will stay committed to this cause in hopes that just one kid makes a good choice that they may not have otherwise. To me, that makes it all worth it."
Cogburn will join 14 other outstanding volunteers for a special in-game ceremony at the Patriots Dec. 31 game against the New York Jets. He 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.