New England Patriots Make Sara Deren A Winner

Whether you love the New England Patriots or loathe them, you gotta like this story.

Last Sunday, during halftime of the regular season finale versus the New York Jets, the team honored volunteers who make a difference in the world.

During every home game this year, they recognized a “Patriots Difference Maker of the Week.” On Sunday, each received a $5,000 grant to support the nonprofits for which they volunteer.

And guess who got a special $20,000 grant — sort of a Super Bowl championship for all Difference Makers?

Sara Deren of Westport.

Jon and Sara Deren, and their children, at the Gillette Stadium halftime ceremony last Sunday.

She and her husband Jon founded Experience Camps. Headquartered right here in town, the organization runs summer camps for children grieving the death of a parent or sibling.

In just 10 years Experience Camps has grown from one site and 27 youngsters, to a network of 5 camps nationwide. Last summer, 200 volunteers served 600 boys and girls ages 8 to 18.

Doing all the typical camp activities — and, guided by clinicians, remembering the loved one who died while developing the tools they need to work through grief — Experience Camp campers enjoy life-affirming, life-changing opportunities.

The New England Patriots Foundation receives hundreds of nominations for Difference Makers each year.

When the Foundation — along with Pats chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, and Pro Football Hall of Famer Andre Tippett — honored Sara on Sunday, it was a moment when, for once, Patriots and Jets fans could stand and cheer together.

Sara Deren is definitely a winner.

PS: So were the Patriots. They beat the Jets 38-3.

6 responses to “New England Patriots Make Sara Deren A Winner

  1. Adam Vengrow

    So well deserved!!! The Derens are an awesome family and Sara and Jon put everything into this Experience Camp wonderland for kids going thru a crisis! So well deserved!!!

  2. Keith Lombardo

    Such a great honor! Great people who are impacting not only our community but so many others! Well done Sara and Jon…keep up the good work!

  3. The Derens are the best and this is a great cause. They put a ton of work into making each of these camps a success. Plus now they are Patriots fans!

  4. Richard Fogel

    thank you

  5. Dan, thanks for sharing great stories like this with us. There’s so much going on around this town that I was totally unaware of before I started following your blog. And more importantly, thanks to the Deren family for the work they do.

  6. Such a great program and such an amazing family! Well deserved, Derens.