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Rams team up with LA Unified School District to kick off 'Making Caring Common' pilot program at Third Street Elementary 

In partnership with Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the Los Angeles Rams hosted a school-wide pep rally for Third Street Elementary School students to kick off the Making Caring Common program.

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Rams offensive tackle AJ Arcuri, safety Quentin Lake and linebacker Zach VanValkenburg, Rams Cheerleaders and Rampage participated in a panel for more than 600 students about the importance of kindness and ways they foster positive relationships on their teams.

"It's important for us as players at a high professional level to be with these kids," said Lake. "This one moment might make their day. It's very important to interact and build relationships with the kids. Sometimes we get caught up in football, but it's good to give back to the kids that look up to us."

Leading up to the pep rally, students participated in a two week #KindnessChallenge and tracked their acts of kindness on a calendar to promote a school-wide culture of Making Caring Common. Students who participated in the challenge were entered into a raffle. During the pep rally, nine students were selected from the raffle and received a special meet and greet and photo opportunity with the Rams players, cheerleaders and Rampage.

"Some of the questions in the panel made me realize that we play a game that has nothing to do with kindness. We're tackling and hitting people, but in essence this humbles you and reminds you that being kind can go so far," said Lake. "You must be kind to your teammates, coaches, the front office and fans. When you show kindness as a football player it can go a long way."

Jocelyn Minton, a parent of a first grade student, expressed her gratitude for LAUSD kickstarting the program and having the support of the Rams.

"I would love this program to be in every elementary school in Los Angeles and even go national because I think that kindness needs to be in the curriculum at schools," said Minton. "To have this taught in schools every day, throughout the day, being kind from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed. This helps to get the entire community involved and brings so much excitement. Having the LA Rams adds so much credibility and support. To have a professional football team come to our school to speak on kindness being important helps us reach our goal."

Erick Hansen, the Executive Director of Los Angeles Unified, explained LAUSD's Strategic Plan and how Making Caring Common exemplifies their plan.

"As part of our strategic plan in Los Angeles Unified School District, one of our pillars is joy and wellness. Making Caring Common ties right into that pillar," said Hansen. "We are looking at as many schools as possible to grow this program, such as elementary, middle schools and high schools. It is important for kids to learn how to treat each other and adults as well. Having the Rams out here shows their acts of kindness to the community, it was great for everyone to experience the players coming out and sharing their thoughts on what kindness means and how they can be kind to others."

Making Caring Common was created at Harvard University and aims to foster a positive, caring culture of kindness in schools (grades K-12). The program seeks to change how kids treat each other and teach them how to care for one another by getting the whole community involved including parents, teachers and students. Third Street Elementary was selected by LAUSD to pilot this groundbreaking program.

To learn more about the Rams' community efforts, please visit www.therams.com/community.

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