FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (Oct. 13, 2020) - Ten 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, alumni, cheerleaders and fans have donated hundreds of thousands of hours to giving back to their New England communities.
Throughout the 2020 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.
"This has been a challenging year, unlike anything we've experienced in our lifetimes," said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. "Charitable organizations have been called upon to support more children and families than ever before. We admire all of the hardworking volunteers that have stepped up and helped these nonprofits to continue to serve those in need. Through this Celebrate Volunteerism initiative, we will shine a light on some of these outstanding volunteers, make a donation to their respective charity and encourage our fans to get involved."
Kim Carrington from Mattapan, Mass. was selected as a 2020 Patriots Difference Maker of the Week for her commitment to Playworks New England. As part of this recognition, the New England Patriots Foundation will be making a $5,000 donation to the nonprofit organization.
Growing up in Mattapan, Kim always understood the value of volunteering. It is something that her mother instilled in her at a very young age and she always finds time to give back to her local community.
"Several years ago I was introduced to Playworks through my employer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts," said Kim. "Playworks mission statement falls right in line with my commitment to give back to the community."
Playworks is a national nonprofit that leverages the power of play to transform children's social, emotional and physical health. They partner with high-need elementary schools to ensure recess is an opportunity for students to learn the skills needed to thrive in and out of school. Playworks' ultimate goal is to create an educational environment free from conflict where students interact and play with their peers respectfully, develop healthy lifestyles, take on leadership roles and become successful learners.
Kim initially starting volunteering eight years ago as an assistant coach during recess, helping to engage all students in inclusive play opportunities. She now volunteers as a junior coach mentor for the organization, serving as a positive adult role model to fourth and fifth grade students. Through this youth leadership program, Kim teaches the students how to lead recess activities for their classmates while utilizing critical skills including communication, conflict resolution, empathy and teamwork.
"The Junior Coach mentorship program matters to me because the kids are able to see the corporate world and learn to be a leader and communicate through play," said Kim. "The excitement of the students makes me so happy and I love that we can teach each other. I teach them how to be a leader and they teach me all new dances."
The students Kim serves are from low-income areas across Boston. Kim helps them to express themselves through play. She continues to engage with the students, offering words of encouragement while also ensuring they have access to tools that will make them better students. In addition to her efforts at Playworks, Kim has volunteered countless hours at Daily Table in Roxbury, where she helps to feed Boston's most vulnerable population.
The Kraft family and the New England Patriots Foundation encourage fans to show their support for local charitable organizations and to nominate a volunteer for the Patriots Difference Maker of the Week Award. To get involved, visit www.patriots.com/community.