FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (Dec. 14, 2018) - Eight years ago, the Kraft family and Patriots Foundation introduced Celebrate Volunteerism, a season-long initiative focused on recognizing community volunteers and promoting the importance of giving back to the community through service.
Throughout the 2018 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.
"We originally started the Celebrate Volunteerism initiative as a tribute to my sweetheart, Myra," said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. "Over the past eight years, it has become the heart and soul of the Patriots Foundation, just like Myra was. We enjoy shining the light on local volunteers that are committed to improving the lives of children and families across the region and we hope that this inspires our fans to get more involved in their communities."
Diane Stern from Boxford, Mass. has been selected as a Patriots Difference Maker of the Week for her commitment to The Immigrant Learning Center, a nonprofit organization that provides free, year-round English classes to immigrants and refugee adults to help them become successful workers, parents and community members.
As a graduate of German language and literature at Boston University, Diane spent more than 40 years in broadcasting, including more than 30 years as an anchor for WBZ NewsRadio 1030. For decades she delivered the news to families all across the Greater Boston area, exhibiting compassion and an unwavering commitment to her work. Upon her retirement, Diane was inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.
More than 10 years ago, Diane learned about The Immigrant Learning Center through her local paper. The nonprofit is based in Malden, the second most diverse city in Massachusetts. The Immigrant Learning Center provides a critical service to foreign-born adults that have settled in Malden or its surrounding communities and are looking to build better lives for their families.
Diane first became involved as a volunteer one-on-one tutor, helping students to improve their English language skills. Over the years, she has worked with people from all across the world, including Brazil, China, Haiti, Turkey and Vietnam. Diane sits down with each student to learn more about them and how she can help.
"Tutoring English just seemed like a natural fit, my having spent so many years as a broadcaster," said Diane.
She exhibits patience and creativity as she works individually with students to help them build confidence in their speaking abilities outside the classroom. Diane often creates a story about the students' lives, including their family members, their religion and what they do for work. This written form of conversation makes her students feel special while also teaching them new vocabulary. She also assists the students with job applications and helps them to navigate the health care system.
In 2013, Diane received a unanimous vote of approval to join the board of trustees. She is now serving her third consecutive term as a volunteer on the board. She also serves as an emcee for the nonprofit's fundraising events and with the support of volunteers like Diane, the nonprofit is able to serve 89 communities all across Greater Boston. Her vast and successful work experience in broadcasting and media, coupled with her teaching capabilities makes her an irreplaceable volunteer.
"The Immigrant Learning Center is a very special place," said Diane. "Being able to use my experience while helping immigrant students learn is a joy."
Fifteen individuals will be named Patriots Difference Makers throughout the season. The outstanding volunteers will be recognized on the Patriots website and in print materials, including Patriots Football Weekly and Patriots GameDay magazine. They will also be honored during a special ceremony at the Patriots final regular season home game against the New York Jets on Sunday, December 30.
Fans are encouraged to nominate a local volunteer for the Patriots Difference Maker of the Week award by visiting www.patriots.com/community.