FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (Oct. 9, 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."
Jocelyn Cook from Marblehead, Mass. was selected as a 2019 Patriots Difference Makers of the Week for her commitment to SPUR.
Five years ago, Jocelyn created SPUR, whose mission is to cultivate a "Community of Doers" by providing an array of multi-generational volunteer opportunities and youth enrichment programs which "spur" participants to strengthen communities and improve lives of individuals and families in Lynn, Marblehead, Salem and Swampscott.
Under her leadership, SPUR organizes a variety of engagement activities from large-scale day of service events to regular monthly and weekly opportunities. Examples of such are multi-town beach cleanups, serving meals at local shelters, preparing personal hygiene kits, installing and managing a garden which grows fresh produce for local food pantries and rescuing food from local marketplaces and redirecting to individuals facing food insecurity.
"I am moved by this recognition from the Kraft family and the Patriots Foundation on the tangible impact being made through SPUR here on the North Shore," said Jocelyn. "Five years ago I founded SPUR to provide a platform for individuals of all ages to leverage their power for good in the world, enrich their lives and those around them. Today, through SPUR, hundreds are able to engage annually in intentional acts of kindness and thoughtful service around complicated issues like hunger, environmental concerns and meeting basic needs of neighbors."
The nonprofit also supports hundreds of local children annually by providing new backpacks with school supplies and gifts at the holidays, as well as runs youth specific programming aimed at engaging the youngest members of our community in age appropriate conversations around community, stewardship, social action and philanthropy.
Jocelyn exemplifies the qualities of integrity, compassion and commitment to the community. Last year, she led more than 2,500 volunteers and totaled more than 5,000 volunteer hours. She is creative, selfless and exudes unstoppable energy and passion about engaging community members in spurring good deeds.
"What we are doing and building together reaches far beyond just volunteering. We are entering into deeper relationships with people we haven't yet met," said Jocelyn. "Knowing our communities more intimately, demonstrating and motivating the children in our lives to be service-minded by intentionally involving and practicing empathy, gratitude, and self-awareness as a community at large. I am humbled to accept this award on behalf of all those who are part of our Community of Doers."
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.