In a time when being physically together with classmates and friends isn't possible, the Los Angeles Chargers and EVERFI wanted to make sure students in Southern California stayed connected and thus held a virtual Character Playbook.
The live event made possible by EVERFI, and local United Way chapters was broadcast to almost 300 students and featured rookies Kenneth Murray and Joshua Kelley as special guests. The players joined in on discussions about the importance of good character, how they're handling this time apart, and how students can use this time in a positive fashion both for themselves and their families.
"The goal of this is to talk about the hard things that are happening in our lives, while coming up with positive ways to address that," said Rob Roberts, Senior Account Manager, Enterprise for EVERFI. "I think what's special about this time, even though it's challenging, is that we're all experiencing the same thing. We're all going through this together, which usually, it can be regional or by city. The fact that we're all doing it together, we can share in ways we're dealing with it constructively and still growing and learning, despite how different our lives look."
"To get a chance to talk to so many kids, that's something that's really special with being here," Kelley added. "If I was a kid, I would love to get a chance to talk to a couple NFL guys and see what their mindset was. Me getting a chance to do that was really cool to be a part of."
While the Chargers have held previous Character Playbooks in the past, this one was special given how it was tailored to navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic. Having players be part of it was of the utmost importance so that students could hear their advice on how they would help out around the house, key study habits, and more applicable tips that can be applied to not only this time, but even beyond the COVID crisis once it subsides.
"Kenneth and Joshua really humanized everything," Roberts mentioned. "When they were talking about journaling, washing dishes, helping your mom and staying positive, those are things that all levels of societies can benefit from. If you're a middle school kid, high school kid, parent or NFL player, having a positive attitude and helping your loved ones out, that doesn't change.
"They did such a great job of showing how they do these things too. Even though they just got drafted in the NFL, they're doing those things too because they're believers in those things. I think it just connects us all and Kenneth and Joshua did a great job expanding that connection."
For Kelley having grown up in Lancaster and gone to college at UCLA, he's been tapped into the Southern California community for a while. He said he was happy to make that connection with the kids, especially now being in the NFL.
"Being a Southern California kid, just growing up in the area and being around the area, I know all these places around here," Kelley said. "So to get a chance to talk to these Southern California kids, that's an obligation of mine. Especially playing for the Chargers, I have to give back. I feel like that's something I really have to do and I'm going to take that responsibility."
For Roberts, he was thankful to both Kelley and Murray for taking time out of their days when he knows kids need it most.
"These are definitely special guys to take the time, but I think they realize the value in it," he said. "I think what's interesting about teaching, sharing and learning in situations like this, is you don't know the impact that you have. You don't know how valuable it is to hear someone who's on an NFL team explain something that seems basic or easy to understand. But for kids, they listen. I think those guys, they know that they one time were that middle schooler and want to be a resource and a support to those kids. You can tell it's important to them and it really goes a long way."