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NFL & United Way Blog

Tampa Bay Buccaneers - United Way of Suncoast 2017 Character Playbook Live

Buccaneers Cornerback Robert McClain and Cheerleader Julia join league-wide initiative for Q & A session on character development presented by the NFL and the United Way.

Source: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

October 11, 2017

On Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosted Character Playbook LIVE, a new virtual classroom experience presented by the NFL and the United Way.

Cornerback Robert McClain along with Buccaneers Cheerleader Julia joined seven middle school classrooms from around the Tampa Bay area for the interactive activity and digital Q & A session. The morning focused on communicating effectively, making good choices, and self-confidence. The duo spoke on the power of words and tips for communicating in today’s social media driven world, while covering lessons taught in Character Playbook about life inside and outside of football.

"It's encouraging to show students that you can accomplish great things right where you are in middle school, when sometimes life just seems real tough." says Cheerleader Julia.

Team mascot, Captain Fear joined the interactive chat at Sulphur Springs K-8, a Buccaneers Academy, to further motivate and excite students during the engaging conversation.

The morning also proved to have as big of an impact on the administration as it did the students. “The kids and administrators were extremely excited, they love the opportunity to be a Bucs Academy and something like this brings it all together.” says Community School Director for Sulphur Springs LaKema Massey. “Hearing from Robert and Julia as they talk candidly on their life experience made it real and reinforced that they have power in their voice, power in their choices and power in the decisions.”

The league-wide Character Playbook LIVE initiative strives to engage students in conversation on character and why it matters. NFL players will virtually join local schools in their classrooms for a personal Q & A experience during the season. Character Playbook LIVE session with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reached 7 classrooms and over 200 students; bringing conversation and dialogue to students who may not have heard it in another setting.

"It's cool because I never had the chance to talk to an NFL player about his life experience," said McClain. "Anyway I am able to give them my insight or things I did or didn't do along the way, I am happy to help."

The Buccaneers Academy adopt-a-school program serves more than 16,000 students and 2,200 teachers that are located in mostly economically-distressed areas of Hillsborough County, FL. Each of the 24 schools are provided with curriculum-based programming from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that engage students and encourages learning, including regular visits from players, cheerleaders and from the Glazer Family Foundation Vision Mobile to provide children with free prescription eyeglasses. Each school also receives a Buccaneers Academy-themed court-sized shade cover that provides a safe environment where students can participate in physical health and wellness activities.

Visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers site to view the video.