FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (Oct. 24, 2019) - Nine years ago, the Kraft family and the New England Patriots Foundation introduced a season-long theme called Celebrate Volunteerism. The main focus of the initiative was to recognize community volunteers and to promote the importance of volunteering.
Since its inception, New England Patriots players, coaches and alumni have donated tens of thousands of hours to giving back to their New England communities. During their weekly off day, Patriots players volunteer throughout New England to support children and families in need. Patriots season ticket members have also teamed with Patriots players to better their communities.
Throughout the 2019 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.
"Volunteerism is at the heart of giving back and bettering our communities," said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. "We will continue to honor and thank the many deserving volunteers in our region that are often not recognized for their valuable contributions. Through this Celebrate Volunteerism initiative, we hope to inspire Patriots fans to make a difference and become lifelong volunteers."
Amy Busch from Hyde Park, Mass. was selected as a 2019 Patriots Difference Maker of the Week for her commitment to the Dennis Messing Memorial Foundation.
After losing several friends and family members to the opioid epidemic, Amy wanted to do something to help keep their legacies alive, while also helping to combat drug addiction. In 2015, she founded the Dennis Messing Memorial Foundation, in memory of a friend, to provide families and individuals struggling with alcohol and substance abuse disorders with support, resources and financial aid to attend 12-step treatment facilities.
In 2016, the nonprofit expanded its operation to add a program known as DMMF Kids, which provides scholarships to children who have lost a parent to an overdose. It also supports children whose parents are not present because of their drug use. The program has helped to provide children with clothing and school supplies, in addition to funding dance lessons, summer camps and other recreational activities. The nonprofit also started a secret Santa program during the holidays to support the children.
"As we mourn the losses that keep coming, we may be a glimmer of hope for someone seeking treatment," said Amy.
Amy serves as the organizations president and spends countless hours working with families, providing guidance and resources, to ensure they are able to get back on their feet. She hosts eight different fundraising events throughout the year to help provide essential scholarships to families. Amy is always on call and is always willing to go the extra mile to help someone in need.
Since the nonprofit began, Amy has helped more than 200 individuals enter treatment facilities and provided never-ending support to their children.
"A scholarship is a second chance. It's hope, it's love and it's life," said Amy. "There is a generation left behind and through DMMF kids we get to help them live out the childhood they deserve. "
Fifteen individuals will be named Patriots Difference Makers throughout the season. The outstanding volunteers will be recognized on the Patriots website and will be honored during a special ceremony at the Patriots final regular season home game against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, December 29.
Fans are encouraged to nominate a local volunteer for the Patriots Difference Maker of the Week award by visiting www.patriots.com/community.