DALLAS (WBAP/KLIF News) – Ahead of this year’s NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium, The Dallas Cowboys and Arlington ISD are launching community-wide programs leading up to Draft Week in April.
Cowboys team legends DeMarcus Ware and Drew Pearson will serve as Community Ambassadors for the programs aimed at youth at the elementary, middle and high school levels.
Cowboys Executive Vice President Charlotte Jones said the football stars will be the face of this year’s draft.
“Each one of them are certainly men of great character and high integrity that believe in the value of the game off the field and that’s what this is all about,” she said.
Arlington Seguin High School head football Coach Joe Gordon said it’s a unique opportunity for the community.
“The draft has an impact on an annual basis for so many kids in our community and so many students and teachers alike who prepared these same kids for the draft. It’s just an unbelievable experience,” he said.
One of the programs involves student-athlete mentorship within the Arlington ISD. It partners younger student athletes with older athletes across all sports, then encourages the mentors to attend practices, host character discussions and team building events to learn how to serve as role models.
Seguin School Coordinator Chris Rose said it’s heartwarming to see kids get excited about being involved in civic duties.
“Getting those kids together with the junior high working together doing community service projects. It’s amazing,” he said.
It’s a community-oriented idea that isn’t new to AISD. The district was part of a national pilot program for the NFL Foundation’s InSideOut Character initiative, which demonstrated how coaches of all sports and genders can work together to change the “win-at-all-cost” culture of sports.
The opportunities also include arts programs such as the “Character Playbook: NFL Draft Edition”.
During Draft Week, the program will allow selected AISD junior high students to take part in a Jeopardy-inspired game show at The Star in Frisco.
The Draft takes place on April 26-28. This year’s Draft is historic as it’s the first one to be held inside an NFL Team’s stadium.