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NFL & United Way Blog

United Way Character Playbook Event with the Los Angeles Chargers

On Friday, November 20, the Los Angeles Chargers alongside United Way Orange County and United Way of San Diego County held a Character Playbook event for students around the Los Angeles metro area.  
This Character Playbook focused on Salute to Service, honoring veterans and what they have done for this country. This session featured Los Angeles Chargers player Cole Christiansen, who is a graduate from West Point. It also included Donald Parham, another player for the Chargers who has family members who are veterans and Hayley Elwood, a reporter for the Chargers.  

Christiansen attended West Point, the United States Military Academy. Not only did he have the opportunity to serve his country with his acceptance to West Point, but the chance to continue playing football as well. His time playing at West Point helped him earn his chance to play in the NFL, which he has now accomplished.  

Parham attended Stetson University, playing tight end on the football team. Though Parham himself is not a veteran, he emphasized how important it is to support those who are.  

“My uncle as well as my grandpa are both veterans,” said Parham. 

The Character Playbook session focused on how having family members in the military can often be stressful, and Christiansen helped students find ways to deal with that stress. 

“The key for me in any stressful situation is making sure to lean on others around you,” said Christiansen. “I’m lucky to have a great support network built of friends and teammates. 

Not only did this focus on veterans and the great things they have done for the country, it focused on what having character looks like for students.  

Christiansen talked about how who you are friends with is very important.  

“It’s important for your own health and wellbeing that when you are in a difficult situation, you surround yourself with good people,” said Christiansen. “I’m a firm believer that you are the person that you surround yourself with. If you surround yourself with bad people doing bad things, more likely than not you’re going to fall into the same trends as those people. But, if you surround yourself with really focused and happy people, you are going to be like them.” 

Students had the opportunity to ask questions as well participate in poll questions alongside the players. Players helped the students find the correct answers to the poll questions, and also gave their opinions on the questions.  

Overall, both players focused on how important it is to see the good in life. 

Seeing the light through the darkness of every bad situation is really important,” said Christiansen.