Patriots salute Tiverton ‘star’ volunteer

Timothy Flanagan, Star Kids founder, receives Myra Kraft Community MVP Award

Posted 9/1/19

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft called “all stars” of another sort onto the field at Foxborough on August 20 to honor them for their long-time commitment to volunteering.

Dr. Timothy …

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Patriots salute Tiverton ‘star’ volunteer

Timothy Flanagan, Star Kids founder, receives Myra Kraft Community MVP Award


New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft called “all stars” of another sort onto the field at Foxborough on August 20 to honor them for their long-time commitment to volunteering.

Dr. Timothy Flanigan of Tiverton, founder of Middletown-based Star Kids Scholarship Program, which provides educational opportunities to more than 200 local, disadvantaged children, was among them.
He was awarded a 2019 Myra Kraft Community MVP Award at Gillette Stadium, an award that recognizes leadership, dedication and a commitment to improving communities through volunteerism. Winners were chosen from more than 350 nominees around New England.
As a Myra Kraft Community MVP, Dr. Flanigan was given a $10,000 grant for the Star Kids Scholarship Program, which helps at-risk children envision a brighter future by providing scholarships and related funding to help them rceive a quality education and graduate from high school.

An infectious diseases specialist at The Miriam Hospital and professor of medicine at Brown University, Dr. Flanigan founded Star Kids in 2000 with fewer than 10 children, believing that the best way to assist at-risk children was to equip them with a good education.

Since then, two chapters of Star Kids – one serving Newport County and Fall River, and the other serving New Bedford – have helped hundreds of low-income students whose parents have been incarcerated or battled substance abuse, change their expectations and reach their potential through education. Nearly 94 percent of Star Kids graduate from high school, and 92 percent pursue post-secondary education. Others join the military or find gainful employment.
"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 Mr. 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.

Of his work with Star Kids, Dr. Flanigan said, “We support these children and families caught in the cycle of poverty, addiction, crime and incarceration by telling them that they can excel and overcome the societal tyranny of low expectations, in spite of what others assume.

“We help change those expectations by telling our Star Kids they are valued and capable and by providing them with educational resources, tools, caring interventions, and hope that achievement is possible so that they believe in themselves and can envision a bright, self-driven future.”

Dr. Flanigan, who is also a Catholic deacon, brought his considerable medical expertise to bear in 2014 as a front-line volunteer for two months in Liberia at the height of the Ebola crisis. “In a world that currently seems consumed by bad news,” he said, “our program shines a positive light on truly changing the lives of our society’s most vulnerable members – our children. Our program model works to negate the effects of the burgeoning opioid crisis and accompanying epidemic of incarceration. It is making a difference in Newport, Fall River and New Bedford, and it can work in other communities as well.

“I am grateful to the Kraft family and the New England Patriots Foundation for believing in our mission and efforts, most of all, in our remarkable students. Through the Myra Kraft Community MVP Award, Star Kids can serve more children and continue our important work of changing the expectations and lives of disadvantaged children in our communities.”

One Star Kids student, Duwuan Edwards, of Newport, was on hand at Gillette for the presentation.

“The Star Kids Program accepted my family and me with open arms and gave me the opportunity to walk the halls of my school, Bishop Hendricken High School, where I received a first-rate education and, as a student-athlete, was able to compete for some of the best coaches in the nation,” he said.

“The opportunities the Star Kids Program has given me will allow me to continue both my education and track career at the University of Rhode Island in September,” added Mr. Edwards. “I dream to be a teacher and influence the lives of young people, just as the Star Kids Program has done for me. When I walked across the stage to receive my high school diploma in June, the love and support of all those involved with Star Kids was with me.”

Newport/Fall River Star Kids’ President Ken Moldow said, “Dr. Tim Flanigan is a man living his faith … faith in the ability of children from challenged and difficult backgrounds to change the course of their lives, from making poor decisions to living lives of positive expectations and productive outcomes. He lives his volunteerism, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and believes that in serving others, we are served … For 20 years, Dr. Tim has been instrumental in changing lives, breaking destructive cycles and strengthening our communities.

Star Kids was founded in 2000 by Dr. Flanigan, and now serves more than 225 children.

The mission of the Star Kids Scholarship Program is to provide educational opportunities in the form of tuition aid to non-public schools, as well as funds for tutoring, mentoring, after-school and summer programs and more for those high-risk, low-income children in grades K-12 who have a parent with a history of incarceration and/or substance abuse. Star Kids’ goal for each child is to graduate from high school. By completing high school and, hopefully, going on to higher education, these children will have a greater chance of breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty, drug use, violence and incarceration

Once a child completes the application process and is accepted into the Star Kids program, he or she may attend the non-public school of his or her choice (once that child has been accepted into the school itself) through 12th grade. Star Kids then pairs each child with sponsors, who agree to provide up to $4,000 in tuition scholarships each year (up to $4,500 for high school students) for that student. Star Kids’ partner schools also provide financial aid to the children, who also receive funds from Star Kids for wrap-around supports, including tutoring, after-school and summer programs, school books, uniforms, school transportation, and more. 

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