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NFL players from around the League are winning where it matters most — in the classroom. Their goal is to recruit 99,000 volunteer readers, tutors and mentors. Their game plan is YOU. Help them pull off the ultimate play. Enter the draft today.

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TEAM NFL Takes On DC

Julia PetersonBy Julia Peterson

United Way TEAM NFL Intern

United Way’s TEAM NFL kicked off the Youth Empowerment Summit on June 19 with enthusiasm. There were games, good food and…. dancing? Yes, there was a dance-off or two. Who knew NFL players could move on the dance floor just as well as they do on the field?

The following day, TEAM NFL got down to business. Players from around the league teamed up with high school students and United Way representatives from all over the country to discuss how to advocate for education in their communities.

Everyone divided into teams based on their team’s division.  Each team strategized on what would be the best way to recruit volunteer readers, tutors and mentors. There were some fabulous ideas! I’ll admit things may have gotten a little competitive, but in the end the AFC and NFC West pulled it out, claiming the title of most creative idea. Their idea was to have a benefit walk and a block party to celebrate and recruit volunteers.

We also heard from passionate speakers who shared staggering statistics with us. For example, one in every four kids don’t graduate from high school on time. That means for every four kids that walk through the doors of their high school on that first day of school, only three leave with a diploma on their last day of their senior year.

Our final day we spent trekking around Capitol Hill in 100 degree weather.  But it was worth every second! We began the day with “The Big Tweet” on the steps of the Capitol. Each of us logged on to Twitter and shared how we LIVE UNITED with the worldwide web.

Then, we broke into teams with the purpose of meeting with senators and congressmen in hopes that we could win their support in our campaign. I met with the Senator and congressmen from North Carolina. All were intrigued and engaged in our conversations. They pledged to do what they could to promote our efforts to cut the high school dropout rate in half. It was a smashing success!

Of course, now the real work begins! United Way and NFL players like Derrick Johnson are asking for your help. Education in America will not improve unless people like you pledge to do something to help. Become a reader, mentor or tutor today, and you can make a difference in a child’s life.  Take the pledge today. You could be the difference between a graduate and a dropout.