On May 13, the New England Patriots recognized a remarkable Friends volunteer, celebrated senior citizens' community engagement, and held the ultimate intergenerational gym class for some lucky Concord school kids.
The Patriots' visit to Abbot Downing Elementary School was occasioned by the team's selection of Friends volunteer Caren Bonisteel as a "Difference Maker" just before making their Super Bowl run. The Patriots recognized her late last year during a midfield ceremony in Foxboro and promsed to pay a visit to the community where she does so much to help so many.
Joining Bonisteel as guests of honor were 27 seniors who volunteer with the Friends Program or who participate in Bone Builders senior exercise sessions.
Fitness and wellness across the generations were central themes of the recognition event. Retired Patriots center Peter Brock spoke about the importance for kids to Play 60 - putting down the screens and getting active for at least one hour each day. Brock's message was underscored by a full battery of games and activities he led along with Patriot defensive end Zach Moore, a pair of cheerleaders, and other team representatives.
In recognition of the great work done by Bonisteel and hundreds of volunteers like her, the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation made a $5,000 grant to support senior wellness efforts in New Hampshire.