The NFL and United Way came together to launch Character Playbook at Ariel Community Academy in Chicago, Illinois on April 28, the morning of the first day of the 2016 NFL Draft. Character Playbook teaches students the skills to cultivate character and maintain healthy relationships throughout their lives.
Students working on Character Playbook were joined in the classroom by the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, President & CEO of United Way Brian Gallagher, President & CEO of United Way of Metropolitan Chicago Wendy DuBoe, Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Bears alumni James “Big Cat” Williams and Rashied Davis, and several top draft prospects including Carson Wentz and Joey Bosa. Students were given the opportunity to work through modules of Character Playbook with the guidance of these special guests, and the school celebrated the roll out of the course at a school-wide assembly shortly after. With Character Playbook towels waving and kids ecstatic, each of the 10 draft prospects and Chicago Bears alumni were introduced by event emcee, Melissa Stark, as they proceeded to the main stage. There was no shortage of inspiring advice given by the several special VIP’s and draft prospects, and it was an experience everyone will remember for a long time.
On the second day of the NFL Draft, all eyes were on Chicago’s third round pick — selection No. 9. Chicago Bears 2010 Walter Payton Man of the Year team winner Israel Idonije led Character Playbook students from Barton Elementary School onto the red carpet and into the front row of the NFL Draft. The participating students joined Idonije on the stage for the announcement of the pick, and to celebrate the launch of Character Playbook and the support of the NFL & United Way for this very important initiative.