By: Panchami Bhat & Tamara Orozco
In response to the growing issue of bullying across the nation, United Way Bay Area (UWBA) teamed up with the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders to launch the Character Playbook, an interactive, digital program, training middle school students on maintaining healthy relationships and making good decisions.
Events to kick off the program were recently held at Piedmont Middle School in San Jose and Montera Middle School in Oakland where hundreds of students received an opportunity to learn from San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders players and cheerleaders as they shared the importance of healthy character development.
UWBA’s K12 Director, Larry Berry said, “Learning to develop healthy relationships is a fundamental asset for young people. Empowering youth through strong character development is a pillar of community support that UWBA is committed to. We believe that with this foundation, young people will grow into thriving adults who can successfully navigate their education, career, and positively contribute to society.”
The Character Playbook was created in 2015 by the NFL Foundation and United Way Worldwide and will be implemented across 12 Bay Area middle schools.
The program–powered by EverFi–offers learning modules on developing positive character, social-emotional learning, building healthy relationships, and opportunities to connect lessons with student experiences. Through true life scenarios, students from 6th to 9th grades learn bystander intervention strategies, examples of positive relationships, and build critical skills for social development.
“Bullying, cyberbullying, and teen dating violence continue to be pervasive issues that put immense pressure on communities across the United States,” said United Way Worldwide president and CEO, Brian Gallagher. “Couple that with escalating violence, strife, and lack of trust and opportunities in communities and it underscores the real need for programs that help kids understand how best to manage emotions, resolve conflicts and communicate effectively.”