On February 2nd, 2017 the Houston Texans and the United Way of Greater Houston launched the Character Playbook program at the Pilgrim Academy. With the back drop of the Super Bowl LI, Texan players Jeff Allen and Curtis Drummond were joined by Super Bowl Champion and NFL legend Donald Driver who came out to support the launch of the program and to share their personal accounts of why character counts. The event was hosted by Drew Doughtety and was met by a red sea of Texan faithful at Pilgrim Academy which is a PreK-8 school in the Vanguard neighborhood of Houston.
The attendees, including national leaders from both the NFL and the United Way, interacted with students as they explored the Character Playbook program followed by a assembly conversation on lifelong Character development. Each player shared his story of building his own character as 13 year old and Donald Driver captivated the audience with his “Letter to my 13-year old self.” The assembly included Toro the mascot of the Texans, the Houston cheerleaders and even the President of the Houston Texans Jamey Rootes. The culmination of the event was the presentation of the award for the Character Playbook essay contest winner, Ariel Deleon. Little did Ariel know that her mother was in the audience and that she about to be awarded 2 tickets to the Super Bowl. The intimate experience of character education was experienced by everyone in attendance as well as a reminder of the power of sports in communities to bring everyone together.