FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (Nov. 15, 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."
Jamie Dorr from Bath, Maine was selected as a 2019 Patriots Difference Maker of the Week for her commitment to Midcoast Community Alliance (MCA).
In the summer of 2016, Jamie was serving as the president of the board of directors for the Bath Youth Meetinghouse and Skatepark when she learned that a teen in the community had died by suicide. This was not the first time that the community had experienced such a tragedy so Jamie brought local leaders together to discuss the high rates of anxiety, depression and suicide amongst teenagers.
Through these discussions, Jamie launched MCA, a coalition committed to mental health awareness, advocating for those in need and expanding access to support. As the founder and president of the nonprofit, Jamie facilitates monthly meetings with community stakeholders to discuss and address challenges faced by youth. She leads representatives from more than 30 local organizations including the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the United Way, suicide survivors, faith organizations, local hospitals and police departments.
She has volunteered countless hours to coordinate "YOU MATTER" events at local middle and high schools and a "Set for Success" event that provides new backpacks and school supplies to ensure that students have the proper materials to succeed academically. Jamie has met with students to listen to their challenges and concerns and seeks their feedback about ways the community can help them feel supported.
"I am very honored and excited to be selected as a Patriots Difference Maker, especially from an organization I admire greatly for its leadership and pursuit of excellence," said Jamie. "I began Midcoast Community Alliance because I don't want to lose any more young people to suicide. The statistics in my community, across the state and across the nation are telling a story that we all have a responsibility to listen to."
In addition to her work with the MCA, Jamie started a youth leadership program at the Bath Youth Meetinghouse and Skatepark. The program provides fun, healthy activities for middle and high schoolers, including a scooter club, art club and homework help. She volunteers her time to build positive, supportive relationships with youth who are identified as high risk due to adversities they face in their lives. She has also been a mentor to twin siblings from Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Bath/Brunswick for the past 10 years.
Jamie is committed to reducing the stigma surrounding mental health and addiction. In the fall of 2018, she left her full-time job as a web designer so that she could focus all of her time and energy on the work of MCA. She is constantly advocating for youth and for her tireless commitment, she was named Bath, Maine's Citizen of the Year in 2017.
"Our youth are hurting and it's up to every one of us to have difficult conversations about mental health and to take action to empower our youth to find healing," said Jamie. "I have always been passionate about youth and found that volunteering with them gave as much to my life as it may have to theirs, and perhaps more."
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.