United Way
of Massachusetts Bay
and Merrimack Valley

October 21, 2014

Who Danced it Better: Patriots or Hyde Square Task Force?

Patriots help create NFL Play 60 fitness zone at Hyde Square Task Force in Jamaica Plain and join kids in one of their favorite off-field workouts: dancing!

Watch the amazing VIDEO on Instagram of the salsa dance the HSTF youth taught the players. Tell us who you think danced it best!  You can also see more photos on Facebook.

Teens at the Hyde Square Task Force in Jamaica Plain received a special treat on Monday as part of the NFL and United Way’s annual Hometown Huddle – not only a new Play 60 fitness room, but the opportunity to work out with Patriots players Devin McCourty, Matthew Slater and Zach Moore in one of their favorite exercises: dancing!

Patriots players teamed up with United Way and volunteers to transform Hyde Square Task Force’s dance studio into a multi-purpose fitness room.  As part of the afternoon’s activities, players also talked with the kids about being active and healthy and joined the organization’s dance team in practicing a group dance number.

“When we have a chance to come back in the community and connect with youth like yourselves, we really appreciate that opportunity,” Matthew Slater told the group of teens after the fitness room renovation was complete.  “I hope you’ll continue to follow your dreams and be positive influences for each other and your peers.”

With the makeover, Hyde Square Task Force hopes to expand the usage of the room to include other fitness activities and classes, including fitness boot camps, yoga, and toddler exercise classes. The room hosts dance classes four days a week. Through dancing, performing, and teaching, youth gain confidence, integrate physical activity into their lives and transform themselves as community leaders.

“We know that fitness is an important way to keep young people engaged in their communities and allow them to develop confidence and leadership skills,” said Mike Durkin, President of United Way of Massachusetts Bay & MerrimackValley.  “The NFL has been a terrific partner of United Way for many years and it’s great to be able to bring the players into one of our longstanding community partners at Hyde Square Task Force to do something really special for this community that will have lasting benefits well beyond today.”

For more than 35 years, the National Football League has been working with United Way to strengthen America’s communities. Hometown Huddle, a league-wide day of service, involves NFL teams across the country participating in a variety of youth fitness projects on the same day. United Way of Mass Bay & Merrimack Valley continues to work with New England Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater of Team NFL/United Way to encourage volunteerism and healthy communities.