On Tuesday, June 12, 26 volunteers were recognized for their contributions at the 2018 Myra Kraft Community VIP awards ceremony at Gillette Stadium. In years past, the Kraft family has provided $200,000 in grants to New England based nonprofit organizations in honor of their outstanding volunteers. As Robert Kraft begins his 25th season of ownership, he surprised the award winners by announcing that he would be increasing the grant amounts by a total of $75,000. As a result of this surprise announcement, 25 local volunteers received a $10,000 grant for the nonprofit organization for which they volunteer and one grand prize winner was presented with a $25,000 grant for their charity.
“I look forward to this program every year as it gives us an opportunity to celebrate community volunteers for their selfless acts of volunteerism,” said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. “We admire their commitment to serving others and through this program, we are excited to provide financial support to 26 different nonprofit organizations that are making a difference in their local communities. We thank this year’s winners for their incredible dedication.”
On hand to congratulate the award winners were Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, New England Patriots Foundation President Joshua Kraft and Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Famer and Patriots Executive Director of Community Affairs Andre Tippett.
Doreen Holmes of Cranston, R.I. was selected as one of this year’s $10,000 award winners.
When she began to lose her vision, Doreen feared that she would not be able to participate in yoga because she was having trouble seeing her instructor. Thanks to the patience and creativity of her instructor, Doreen was able to find ways to continue fully participating in yoga classes.
This experience inspired Doreen to take the classes she needed to become one of the first visually impaired certified yoga practitioners in the country. Twice a month, Doreen leads yoga classes for people who are visually impaired and/or victims of domestic violence.
“I am honored and humbled to be chosen for the Myra Kraft MVP Award,” said Doreen. “When I first became legally blind I thought it was the end of the world. I knew I had to do something and I decided become a yoga teacher and teach people who are blind and visually impaired. I knew I did not want to get paid because I felt you cannot put a price helping someone feel good about themselves.”
Doreen uses small plastic figures that are in a variety of poses which participants can feel and then visualize the yoga pose. She facilitates an open discussion to ensure participants feel safe and know that they are in a very supportive place.
“For adults who lose all or part of their vision later in life, the transition is often difficult and we find that most people give up on the things that they love to do,” said the nonprofit organization in a statement prior to the event. Then there are people like Doreen, who has faced the challenge of living with macular degeneration with courage and enthusiasm. While many would have thought that their dream of becoming a certified Yoga instructor with limited vision would be too far out of reach to even consider, Doreen pursued and achieved it.”
“I believe there is no ‘dis’ in the word disability,” said Doreen. “There is only ability to do what you love. The sky is the limit!”