Arizona Launch Event Recap


On March 6, 2017 the Arizona Cardinals, the Valley of the Sun United Way and Verizon launched the Character Playbook program at Greenfield Junior High in Gilbert, Arizona. Reaching nearly 900 hundreds students current Cardinals players Hakeem Valles and Drew Stanton were joined by Cardinal Alumni players Frank Sanders and Michael Bankston. Also in attendance was the Vice President of the Cardinal organization Nicole Bidwell, the Cardinal cheerleaders and the biggest Cardinal fan of them all, Big Red. Attendees from the Cardinals, Valley of the Sun United Way and Verizon interacted personally with students as they worked though the Character Playbook program discussing topics such as influences, bullying, and healthy relationships. From the library the event transitioned to the gym where the whole student body had to opportunity to be a part of a character education conversation.

The assembly opened with the rousing Cardinal video and Damien Anderson as the guest emcee, who also happens to be a Cardinal Alumni. Damien and the panelist set the tone for the event by sharing personal stories of character and why they believe that character education is critical for everyone to learn. Ten students had the opportunity to ask questions of the players of their own creation and posed queries such as, “What advice would you give your 13-year old self? The total event lasting nearly an hour and half, brought many critical ideas and questions up for discussion. This event was a true example of the vibrant community collaboration that is happening in the Phoenix Area between the Cardinals, the United Way and Verizon.