Buffalo Bills, United Way launch education initiative

The Buffalo Bills and the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County have announced the launch of Character Playbook, a new education initiative focused on youth character development and building healthy relationships. The interactive digital program will be implemented directly in schools in the Buffalo metropolitan area. The Buffalo Bills and United Way of Buffalo and Erie County announced the new direction for their partnership at the Character Playbook launch event at the ADPRO Sports Training Center. Prior to this announcement of Character Playbook, this initiative was also launched nationally during the 2016 NFL Draft. Character Playbook is powered by education technology leader EverFi, Inc. which currently works in more than 13,000 K-12 schools and 800 colleges.

Character Playbook uses evidence-based strategies to educate students on how to cultivate and maintain healthy relationships during their critical middle school years. The course is comprised of six interactive, digital modules that cover key concepts around positive character development, social-emotional learning and building healthy relationships. Designed for learners in grades 7-9, the digital learning experience enables students to engage with true-to-life scenarios that include bystander intervention strategies and positive relationship examples.

“We value our relationship with the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, and enjoy partnering on programs that can have a positive impact in our community,” said Buffalo Bills Vice President of Community Relations Gretchen Geitter.

“We would like to express our sincerest appreciation to the Buffalo Bills and the NFL for their outstanding support of our organization and our work in the community,” said United Way of Buffalo & Erie County President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Weiner. “Education is a significant focus for the United Way and the NFL Character Playbook program, and provides another tool for us to implement in our community schools to further ensure the success of our children. Social-emotional and character development is proven to be a critical component in the success of students academically as well as in life and we are excited for the opportunity to provide this tool to teachers and students.”

“We often assume young people will simply find their way to positive character and healthy relationships, but it is a skill that can be taught and nurtured,” said EverFi Chief Operating Officer Tammy Wincup. “The NFL and United Way are committed to helping lift up communities and they are thrilled to bring Character Playbook to students across the metro area.”

“Character Playbook is an online interactive course that provides teens with realistic scenarios on topics like decision making, conflict resolution and effective communication,” said Hamburg Middle School’s Health Teacher Grey Day. “I believe it will help my students understand how to strengthen relationships and deal with difficult situations involving peers. The scores I see make it obvious that the students are engaged in the program. I think it will be an effective tool for all my students and thanks to the Buffalo Bills and the United Way.”

The launch event at the ADPRO Sports Training Center on Wednesday, May 18 included Buffalo Bills QB Tyrod Taylor, Special Team Quality Control Coach Kathryn Smith, Alumni Director Marlon Kerner, as well as Assistant Director of Player Engagement/Team Chaplain James Trapp. Approximately 100 students, district and city officials also attended the event.

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