DeMarcus Ware Teams Up with Cowboys to Serve as NFL Draft Community Ambassador
DeMarcus Ware is returning to the Dallas Cowboys, not to sack quarterbacks, but to serve local students in his role as NFL Draft Community Ambassador. Ware’s teammate will be another Cowboys’ icon, Ring of Honor member Drew Pearson, who famously trolled Eagles fans during last year’s NFL Draft which took place in Philadelphia.
This year’s NFL Draft takes place at AT&T Stadium on April 26-28 and there’s a full slate of community outreach programs that Ware & Pearson will lead during the countdown to the big event. Check it out:
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Ware announced several of those outreach programs that involve students in the Arlington Independent School District. The program “launch” took place during a breakfast meeting at AT&T Stadium with Arlington ISD high school and junior high coaches, principals, and athletic coordinators.
“I remember that players would usually go to New York for the Draft, but now it’s progressed from going to New York to something that is now a community thing,” noted Ware. “Wherever the NFL Draft goes, it impacts that the community in some type of way. That’s why, here at AT&T Stadium where stars are made, we’re using the star power to go into the Arlington community. This is a great opportunity to use the NFL Draft, to use the popularity of NFL football, to really make an impact.”
The initiatives announced by Ware include:
1. The Community Quarterback High School Football Challenge –
All six Arlington ISD high school football teams will execute a service project that impacts their campus, neighborhood, or community. Draft prospects attending the NFL Draft will join the football teams at their work sites.
2. Student-Athlete Mentorship Program – All AISD high school student athletes across all sports, boys & girls, will mentor their junior high counterparts and implement the InSideOut character education lessons that their coaches have presented the past year.
3. NFL Draft Guest Speakers – NFL, Dallas Cowboys, and City of Arlington officials that are responsible for planning the NFL Draft will serve as guest speakers a the AISD’s Career & Technical Center.
4. Character Playbook/NFL Draft Edition – Junior high students will take part in a Jeopardy-like game show that highlights students’ character education lessons.
5. Celebrating Creativity Through Student Art Installation – AT&T Stadium will host an installation of football-themed art created by AISD 5th graders.
6. Fuel Up to Play 60 Touchdown Celebration – Elementary school students from AISD and other local school districts whose schools have achieved Touchdown status with the NFL’s Fuel Up to Play 60 fitness program will come to AT&T Stadium on April 24th for a youth health & wellness celebration.
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Ware is particularly excited about the Student-Athlete Mentorship Program.
“This is an awesome thing because the local high school teams are already helping in the community through the Volunteer Challenge and other initiatives, but now they can also use the Mentoring Program to bring in the younger kids and teach them about leadership,” says Ware. “The younger kids are already looking up to the older students, so now the older students can take advantage of their status as role models.
“If I had this sort of opportunity when I was young, it would have propelled me to do a little bit better. For these kids, this is an opportunity of a lifetime, something that can truly stick with them for life. We’re trying to start with the elementary schools and go all the way up through middle schools and high schools with great initiatives like Play 60 and the Quarterback Volunteer Challenge to make an everlasting impact. We want this to have an impact beyond the year.”
“It’s not just about kids who want to play professional football or other sports, it’s also electricians and doctors and plumbers and astronauts who look up to athletes as well. For those kids who are in lower-income areas, when you have the Dallas Cowboys come into the community, it’s like a little light that you put up under them that can say, ‘Hey, it’s not about the money, it’s about being motivated because you can accomplish anything!’ That’s what we can do for these kids.”
Marcelo Cavazos, the Arlington ISD Superintendent, is particularly happy that the programs include opportunities for all students, not just student-athletes.
“This isn’t just an athlete experience or a football experience, it’s a student experience in which they can learn about perseverance, about working hard and being disciplined, and about setting goals,” says Cavazos. “This is an experience in which they go through something to reach their potential.
“In Arlington ISD, we don’t wait for our students to go somewhere else. We help them reach their potential while they are still in school. We help them realize their dreams while they are in our school system. The NFL Draft experience in one way in which they can use their skills These programs can make it tangible, make it real.”
“The value here is what the game does for communities, the impact it has beyond the field,” adds Charlotte Jones Anderson, Dallas Cowboys Executive Vice President & Chief Brand Officer. “You see it at the high school level, all the way down. It takes a community to build a player, and now the player can reach back out and build the community. The draft is the catalyst for using the energy surrounding the enthusiasm of the game. Let’s use that enthusiasm to shine the light on the community. This is where we’re creating leaders, we’re creating the value of teamwork, the value of unity. This is our chance to showcase those values.”
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