On October 16, the Los Angeles Rams partnered with Beyond Differences to celebrate 'Know Your Classmates Day' and assist with group activities at two Los Angeles schools. Know Your Classmates is a curriculum, a campaign and a national awareness day designed to create and nurture healthy and open relationships between classmates, particularly focused on middle school students.
Rams Tight End TYLER HIGBEE paid a visit to Magnolia Science Academy 2 in Van Nuys where he held a Q & A session with multiple classrooms. He echoed Coach McVay's message of team connectedness to achieve a common goal and translated it for students to implement in their daily lives with their peers in the classroom.
"I wanted to relay the message of teamwork," said Higbee. "In order for us to have success on the field, we have to achieve our common goal as a team. That's why it's so important for us to get to know our teammates because everyone has something special about themselves regardless of what their differences may be whether it's their background, where they grew up, or their ethnicity. It also provided me a chance to share some of my experiences while also getting a chance to listen to some of theirs."
The team's Long Snapper JAKE MCQUAIDE, Offensive Lineman AARON NEARY, and Defensive Lineman ETHAN WESTBROOKS spent time at Sutter Middle School in Winnetka where they participated in an all-school meet-and-greet session with students and faculty. The players signed autographs, took photos, and facilitated interaction between students.
"It was fun because today's event was all about getting to know a couple new friends," said Pro Bowl Long Snapper McQuaide. "I made four new friends here at Sutter Middle School. The kids were into it and I think it's a very important message. My challenge to them was 'You be that friend, you be the person who looks for someone that might need someone to talk to or is sitting alone. You be the person to go sit with someone who is in need of a friend.'"
The Los Angeles Rams and Beyond Differences teamed up with Magnolia Science Academy 2 in Van Nuys and Sutter Middle School in Winnetka to promote ways to deepen friendships and foster acceptance among students' classmates.
Beyond Differences is a student-led organization that believes that change can only be true and lasting if the agents of that change are youth themselves. Their mission is to inspire students at all middle schools nationwide to end social isolation and create a culture of belonging for everyone. Since they began promoting 'Know Your Classmates Day', the program has been integrated in more than 5,000 schools across the U.S and provided teachers curriculums and lesson plans that educate students on how to accept, include, and respect one another.
"'Know Your Classmates' is a holiday that Beyond Differences promotes to teach children how to learn about their own identities and to get to know somebody else that they don't ordinarily hang out with," said Laura Talmus, Executive Director and Co-founder of Beyond Differences. "Being able to partner with such a popular and generous organization such as the Los Angeles Rams was a dream come true for Beyond Differences, but more importantly, for the middle school students at MSA 2 and Sutter. The Rams understand how important it is to model leadership, connection and acceptance of one another and the students clung to their every word. It was an incredible experience!"
The initiative was part of the team's Staff Day of Service program. Each month, the Rams front office staff takes time out of the office to volunteer with local non-profits. Since returning home to Los Angeles, Rams staff members have provided more than 4,600 hours of community service and impacted 29 local non-profits and 49 schools.
For more information about the Rams community outreach initiatives, please visit therams.com/community.