Draft hosts student leaders

In partnership with the Buffalo Public Schools, the Chris Draft Family Foundation hosted 200 students in a Discussion and a Movie, featuring a private screening of the 2009 hit film "The Blind Side" on January 8th.

As part of the Chris Draft Family Foundation's Character Team™, 200 student leaders (Draft's Picks, selected by the Buffalo Public Schools based on academics, leadership and extra-curricular involvement) had the opportunity to attend the private screening at the Dipson Market Arcade Film and Arts Centre in Buffalo. Following the movie, Buffalo Bills linebacker Chris Draft, led a discussion of the film, allowing the students to discuss the importance of character as a theme in the movie.

The children had a great time at the movie and enjoyed sharing their thoughts about the movie during their discussion.

"My favorite part of The Blind Side was the will power that Michael Oher had," said Michael, Grover City High School student leader who was invited to attend. "He did everything he could to stay away from negative influences in his neighborhood and that is what a lot of kids including myself are trying to do every day. It's a great feeling to think that anyone can be whatever they want to be regardless of where they came from."

Dr. James A. Williams, Superintendent of the Buffalo Public Schools, was on hand to kick off the event along with some school principals. Following the film and discussion, the students will participate in an essay contest, encouraging them to use the film as a vehicle to convey their thoughts about history, current events, perseverance and other positive character traits. The student with the winning essay will have the opportunity to have dinner with Draft the weekend of January 16.

"This was an opportunity to find our young leaders in Buffalo and have the chance to talk to them," said Draft. "When we asked the Buffalo Public Schools to bring leaders to the movie they didn't need to go real far, they knew who they were. It was about recognizing them and just saying, hey, great work. But now we need more. We need these leaders to turn it up and to take this fight and really reclaim Buffalo. We need to say to the city, and even the country, that we are here and we are Buffalo. We are here and we are going to be better."

"We are just so honored that we had this opportunity for our students," said Terri Schuta, South Park High School principal. "One of the biggest lessons that we want to teach our students is to give back, and when they see someone like Chris Draft coming out and putting on an event like this, it's really special. It's something that will stay with them for a long time."

The Chris Draft Family Foundation's Discussion and a Movie is an effort to promote the development of the following traits as pillars that build positive and productive men and women: compassion, courage, honesty, perseverance, respect, responsibility and self-discipline. Through the attainment of these positive character traits, the partnership's goal of encouraging the achievement of academic success, leadership and positive change in Buffalo communities will be accomplished.

"The Blind Side" is based on a true story which depicts the story of Michael Oher, a teenager who is surviving on his own, virtually homeless, when he is spotted on the street by Leigh Anne Tuohy.  Learning that the young man is one of her daughter's classmates, Leigh Anne insists that Michael—wearing shorts and a t-shirt in the dead of winter—come out of the cold. Without a moment's hesitation, she invites him to stay at the Tuohy home for the night. What starts out as a gesture of kindness turns into something more as Michael becomes part of the Tuohy family despite the differences in their backgrounds.

The Chris Draft Family Foundation launched the Character Team™ in August 2007 as an effort to help good young men and women across the country extend the character-building lessons learned from participation in team sports and extracurricular activities as they apply to everyday life. We ask the question "What does it take to make a good man, what does it take to make a good woman?" and we celebrate the diversity of responses. The Foundation pledges to support the members of the Character Team™ in promoting good character by helping each other to understand, care about and act upon core values.

The mission of the Chris Draft Family Foundation is to strengthen communities by empowering families to live healthy lifestyles.  The Foundation focuses on seven primary initiatives with overarching themes that stress the importance of education, healthy lifestyles, character development, personal responsibility, self-discipline and physical fitness.  In the spirit of the Foundation's logo, inspired by a painting called "The Journey", the Chris Draft Family Foundation actively pursues partnerships with individuals, families and organizations.  On "The Journey" to change the world for the better, merging our different paths and perspectives powers our mission and strengthens our commitment to improvement and ensures the success of our actions.  For more information, please visit our website: www.chrisdraftfamilyfoundation.org.

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