At the beginning of the school year, the St. Louis Rams started a new program with Ameren Missouri, Diversity Awareness Partnership (DAP) and CHARACTERplus aimed at promoting diversity among local students. Rams Blitz, as the program is known, served to build positive relationships between the players of the Parkway North High School and Seckman High School football teams.
“We felt like we were in a unique position to use the game of football to first establish some commonalities among the two schools and then build from there and tackle the differences,” Molly Higgins, St. Louis Rams vice president of corporate communications/civic affairs said. “The successful outcome of the program was establishing a great respect for each other in the short term, while providing them with the skills and mindset to build relationships beyond high school.”
Over the course of the year, the Rams initiated a variety of programs and interactions between Parkway North and Seckman. Early on, there was a character development day at the ContinuityX Training Center. During the 2012 high school football season, Rams running back
But last Wednesday, Parkway North and Seckman concluded the Rams Blitz program with a final event. After a year of getting to know one another and confronting diversity issues, the students met once again at the ContinuityX Training Center to further explore what they had learned. This time members of the football team were joined by other student-athlete leaders from their schools to help spread the diversity training beyond the football locker room to the entire school.
The students were divided into three groups and rotated through three stations before coming together for a fourth. The stations were designed to get the students critically thinking about and discussing diversity issues that affect their everyday lives, including piecing together stereotype boards in groups and finding common ground through life experiences.
La’Roi Glover, Rams director of player programs and former defensive end, capped the event by speaking to both schools. His message, like the one of the Rams Blitz program overall, focused on the importance of bridging differences.
“The expertise of Ameren Missouri, DAP and CHARACTERplus made this a truly substantive and meaningful experience for the students,” Higgins said. “It’s exciting to see the immediate impact the project had on these kids, and ideally they will become ambassadors of diversity and inclusion for the rest of their lives.”