The Play by Play of Building Character in Our Youth

It’s not every day that you get to speak with an NFL player about goal setting, character development, and relationship building. But for students at Harper Middle School, a participant in the United Way of the National Area supported Character Playbook module, they weren’t just part of the conversation—they were the conversation.

“What is your go-to method to resolve conflict?” asks Harper Middle School student James to Tress Way and Dustin Hopkins of the Washington Redskins, rising before a crowd of his peers.

Conflict resolution and peer mediation are just some of the many tools covered under the module. But hearing the advice come from professional football players who regularly deal with high stakes situations puts this information into a whole new context.

“If there is ever any sort of conflict, the one thing I’ve learned is to address it,” chimes in Way after applauding James for his willingness to speak publically. “There’s always two sides to every story.”

President and CEO of United Way of the National Capital Area, Rosie Allen-Herring, also dedicated some time to speak with the middle school students on the importance of character.

“Character is who you are—you have character right now,” Allen-Herring warmly shares with the crowd. “When you think about those things and take that moment to reflect, you’re going to always come back with the right response.”

Throughout a student’s education, rarely do we touch on character. But our character can shape the paths we choose and the decisions we make. It is through honesty, integrity, and positivity that we are able to build healthy, enduring relationships with each other. It is a core value in all prospering societies, but it is one we must build from the ground up.

United Way NCA has convened strategic partnerships with the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation and Everfy as part of its mission to ensure 12,000 at-risk students advance on to high school prepared to succeed. Together, the partnership has created The Character Playbook a comprehensive module made for students focused on simulated, character-building scenarios. Through the modules, students are given tools that help them navigate emotionally or morally challenging situations and empowers them to make the best choices for their well-being.

To learn more about how Character Playbook is enriching and empowering middle school students across our region, please visit our site today!