As part of their 23-year partnership supporting New York City youth, United Way of New York City (UWNYC) and the New York Giants have reteamed to launch Character Playbook with the support of Verizon. The new interactive online course, focused on helping students develop character and cultivate and maintain healthy relationships, is powered by education technology leader EverFi and will serve thousands of middle school students each year in 20 schools across New York City. The program was launched today at the Eagle Academy for Young Men in the Bronx.

“Building on more than two decades of partnership with the New York Giants, UWNYC is thrilled to launch Character Playbook with the support of Verizon and EverFi and continue to grow our impact on NYC youth,” said Sheena Wright, President and CEO, United Way of New York City. “Providing our young people with character-based development resources will empower them to grow into adults that foster healthy relationships with quality communication skills—it’s critical to the future of our City.”

Approximately 68% of young people between the ages of 12 and 18 have experienced some form of relationship abuse, and these experiences can negatively impact lifelong rational development. Character Playbook has six scenario-based learning modules that help students develop healthy social-emotional skill sets. The digital curriculum has been developed alongside subject matter experts, and guides students through a variety of interactive, confidence-building activities that explore true-to-life challenges like managing emotions, communicating effectively in relationships and resolving conflict. Character Playbook will teach students safe, effective options for stepping up when a friend, family member, or peer needs help.

Giants stars Dwayne Harris, Jay Bromley, Kelvin Sheppard and Mark Herzlich attended today’s launch event, which was emcee’d by former Giants player and current FOX NFL analyst David Diehl. The players visited a computer class and interacted with students as they worked through the Character Playbook course and later fielded questions from Eagle Academy students at a school assembly that focused on character education, being a good teammate, managing emotions and communicating effectively. The Eagle Academy marching band also performed at the event.

“The New York Football Giants have had a long standing relationship with United Way of New York City,” said Allison Stangeby, Vice President, Community & Corporate Relations, New York Football Giants. “Over the years, we have worked on many different projects. The launching of the Character Playbook is a game changer, not only for our relationship but for the students and communities in which we live. We are thrilled to be on the ground level with this new initiative.”

“As a leader in the community, Verizon believes that we must use our resources and expertise to create innovative solutions that help the vulnerable in our society,” said Kevin Zavaglia, Verizon Market President-Northeast. “Through our Verizon Innovative Learning program, we have focused our resources on education and character development programs. We believe that by supporting Character Playbook in New York City we can make an impact and address topics that are critical to middle school students’ success across the region.”

“The Eagle Academies are all-boys schools in some of the most challenging neighborhoods in the New York Metropolitan area. A huge part of our mission is to prepare our young men with the skills to make the right choices and to develop relationships based on mutual respect. This partnership with the NFL and the United Way goes a long way toward helping us to do that,” said David Banks, President & CEO, Eagle Academy Foundation, which manages the Eagle Academy network of public schools. The Eagle Academy network consists of six public schools in the five boroughs of New York City and Newark whose mission is to develop young men of color committed to the pursuit of academic excellence, strong character and responsible leadership. The first Eagle Academy for Young Men opened in the Bronx in 2004 and currently serves students from grades 6 through 12.

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About United Way of New York City
United Way of New York City (UWNYC) has been a trusted partner to government, corporations and community-based organizations for nearly 80 years. Serving low-income New Yorkers, UWNYC’s collective impact approach enables the diagnosis of neighborhood challenges and the design of solutions to expand education, financial stability and health opportunities. UWNYC then deploys resources and volunteers while also driving policy change that is guided by measured results. UWNYC envisions caring communities where all individuals and families have access to quality education and the opportunity to lead healthy and financially secure lives. Learn more at About the New York Giants A cornerstone franchise of the National Football League, the New York Football Giants began play in 1925. With eight championships, including a victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIV, their second in five seasons, the Giants are the only franchise in the NFL with a Super Bowl victory in each of the last four decades. Headquartered at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, N.J., the Giants enter their 92nd season of play in the NFL.

About Verizon
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ), headquartered in New York City, has a diverse workforce of nearly 162,700 and generated nearly $132 billion in 2015 revenues. Verizon operates America’s most reliable wireless network, with 113.2 million retail connections nationwide. The company also provides communications and entertainment services over mobile broadband and the nation’s premier all-fiber network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers worldwide.