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Patriots players, coaches split up visiting organizations throughout Massachusetts for 'Community Day'

New England Patriots players and coaches participating in mandatory minicamp last week turned their attention to the impact they can make off the field with 'Community Day' on Tuesday.

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The Patriots received a masterclass on what it means to be an athlete in New England during minicamp the last few weeks.

Players got a feel for the hard work that will be required during a string of practices, and during Tom Brady's Patriots Hall of Fame ceremony last Wednesday, they saw for themselves how one man could lift their teammates to cement their names in NFL history.

Perhaps most important was what they did beyond Gillette Stadium while players were briefly back in town, as head coach Jerod Mayo and his entire coaching staff required the team to participate in a "community day" on June 11.

That Tuesday, members throughout the organization split up between four locations to discover the impact the Patriots have off the field.

"This was needed," DeMario Douglas said last week at Elevated Thought in Lawrence, Mass.

"When we're in the facility, I'll be drawing all the time, so when I saw one of the outings would allow us to be creative I was happy. I was ready to get here and the fact that our coaches could come out too is pretty cool."

Douglas was part of a large Patriots contingent in Lawrence that included teammates Ja'Whaun Bentley, Deatrich Wise Jr. and Matthew Judon, and coaches Alex Van Pelt, Jeremy Springer, Brian Belichick and Mike Pellegrino.

"It was awesome," Springer said of the experience. "I only wish we could have been there longer."

Elevated Thought is an art and social justice organization that develops spaces for local youth to flourish while discovering the liberating power that being creative offers. The Patriots learned about the non-profit's mission, connected one-on-one with its staff, and made collages out of magazine cutouts.

Meanwhile, two other groups visited the Perkins Community Center/Lee School and Lila Fredericks Middle School to help lead children through field day activities. The final quarter of the team traveled to Meryl's Safe Haven, an emergency assistance shelter committed to assisting young people to transition to a path to self-sustainability.

"Today was a blessing," Douglas said before leaving Lawrence. "I can tell it put a smile on a lot of people's faces. It's great being around artists and seeing guys get out of their comfort zone. It's great to live in a world where people allow you to come out and be yourself."

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