BOSTON (WHDH) - A group of students in South Boston got a chance to play alongside members of the New England Patriots organization Tuesday as the Patriots partnered with the Doc Wayne Youth Services program on Mental Health Awareness month programming.
Together, students learned skills such as teamwork and trust-building through a program that also emphasized the importance of mental health in sports.
“We all have our own needs, and it’s OK to not be OK,” said Doc Wayne CEO David Cohen.
Doc Wayne Youth Services is based in Boston. Through its programs, it works to strengthen the mental health field for children around the world.
“We find a way to use sport as a way to engage, have conversations and work with kids and help them become contributing members of the community,” Cohen said.
Doc Wayne typically holds its events in schools and community centers. On Tuesday, its backdrop was the Joseph M. Tierney Learning Center, where several dozen children met Patriots players and other members of the Patriots organization.
Tuesday’s event involved children and players participating in several skill stations before taking the time to sit down for a conversation about mental health.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Doc Wayne participant McKenna Savicke. “I get to learn about the players themselves and what they do to prepare.”
7NEWS also spoke with Patriots defensive back Brenden Schooler during the event.
“If we’re not playing too well, we’re going to lean on each other,” he said. “It’s the same thing in life — if you’re not doing OK, it’s OK to lean on somebody.”
“To get out here and be able to tell them that ‘Whatever you’re going through, it’s OK and you’re going to make it through it,’ — it’s awesome,” Schooler continued.
This week’s event was the first time the Patriots and the Doc Wayne program worked together.
Both organizations now hope it is just the start of their relationship.
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