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AARP and the NFL Players Association Announce New Education Initiative to Reinforce the Value of College and Advance Education, Regardless of Age

For Immediate Release

Media Contacts:

AARP Media Relations, media@aarp.org

Carl Francis, NFLPA, 202-756-9169, Carl.Francis@nflplayers.com

AARP and the NFL Players Association Announce New Education Initiative to Reinforce the Value of College and Advance Education, Regardless of Age

Campaign Will Pair Students with NFL Player Mentors, Creating New Opportunities for Families Through Education

DALLAS, TX (February 3, 2011) – In an effort to reinforce the importance of college and advanced education and demonstrate how it can transform a family, AARP and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) today announced a new education initiative—Family Opportunities Through Education—that pairs young people with NFLPA mentors and colleges and universities, creating new opportunities that can transform a family by reinforcing the value of college and advanced education for people, regardless of age. 

The initiative also assists students and their families in getting pertinent information about institutions of higher learning.  For many of these families it will be their first experience with the complex college application process. Students in participating markets will have the opportunity to apply to be paired with an NFL Player who will be their mentor throughout their college preparatory and application process.

“By bringing AARP and the NFLPA together on this new program, we hope to use the power and commitment of both these organizations to validate and reinforce the importance of higher education, regardless of age,” said Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez, EVP of Multicultural Markets & Engagement for AARP.  She added that, “Higher education not only impacts an individual’s life, but alters an entire family. Our goal is to provide students and their support systems—their parents, grandparents, and households—with the tools, information, and relationships they need to access quality education. Our work with the NFLPA and academics will focus on a holistic process within the community: closing achievement gaps in education, access to higher education and identifying a clear career path.”

“A large percentage of our players have foundations which focus specifically on serving under-privileged youth in their communities, so the Family Opportunities Through Education project is a natural fit,” said DeMaurice Smith, NFLPA Executive Director. “Through this relationship with AARP, our playerswill help coach the students and their families on a number of things, including the application process, potential sources for funding that they may not be aware of and more, so that they too can work towards achieving their dreams.”

A comprehensive co-branded advertising program with radio, print and social media will launch in the fall to encourage students to participate. Local information sessions with schools, churches and local developmental programs will be offered for communities in the targeted markets so students and families have the tools they need to help get their children into college. Through this new program, AARP and the NFLPA hope to demonstrate to communities that gaining access to higher education is a very real possibility.

In the coming months, education partners and organizations will be engaged on a local level to help support students and their families with education and life-skills development options. They will also help to shape the criteria for the program which begins with identification of the student’s aspirations and current competency level. Students will also have the opportunity to work with local organizations to access resources that focus on interviewing skills, essay writing, career path options, scholarship application process, college application; acceptance, and how to matriculate and graduate with a degree in their chosen field.

Family Opportunities Through Education is the second initiative launched by the two organizations who began working together in 2010 on a community involvement initiative tied to AARP’s Create the Good program. This next level of growth allows the organizations to build on community engagement, resulting in social change.

The NFLPA and AARP made the announcement today at the annual NFLPA Super Bowl press conference in Dallas, Texas. Host of CBS NFL Today, Showtime’s Inside The NFL and AARP’s Community Ambassador, James “JB” Brown, has been involved with community engagement initiatives with AARP for the past two years and will help recruit and mentor NFLPA players throughout this process.

“I have always felt that the life you live is the legacy you leave. Clearly the members of AARP and the NFL Players are building strong legacies by providing guidance and support for the next generation,” said Brown. “I’m proud to be part of AARP’s efforts at the community level and I look forward to continuing our work with the NFL Players Association to help families in this country get the resources they need to send their kids to college.”

DeMaurice Smith and Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez are available for interviews. For more information please contact Michelle Alvarez at 202-434-2555 or malvarez@aarp.org.

About AARP

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with nearly 35 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

About the NFLPA

The NFL Players Association is the exclusive collective bargaining agent for all players employed by clubs of the National Football League. Founded in 1956, the NFLPA works to ensure that the rights and interests of NFL players are protected. In addition, the NFLPA strives to be a valuable resource and to maximize player opportunities on and off the field through membership programs and community activities. For further information, visit www.NFLPLAYERS.com.

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