In the lead-up to the Los Angeles Rams – Buffalo Bills Kickoff game in Los Angeles on Thursday, September 8, the NFL will host a series of community and service events to celebrate the start of the league’s long-awaited 2022 season.
By partnering with Special Olympics athletes, paying homage to our military veterans, and community greening projects, the NFL family will unite to strengthen the community by leaving a lasting, positive impact on Los Angeles and its surrounding areas. In addition to events throughout the community, the NFL Foundation is pleased to provide support to Rainbow Labs, an LA-based LGBTQ Youth Serving organization and Jenesse Center, a Domestic Violence Intervention/Prevention programs. In celebration of Kickoff week, both organizations will receive grants in the amount of $10,000 to aid in the work to help survivors and their families.
On Tuesday, the NFL will start Kickoff week by collaborating with Special Olympics and the Los Angeles Rams to host a Unified Flag Football Tournament and Championship game. The NFL in partnership with IFAF, and the Los Angeles Rams will also showcase World Games Flag Athletes at Morningside High School with an Unboxing of Flag Kits for the Inglewood Unified School District (IUSD) on September 6th.
Additionally, as a follow-up to Super Bowl LVI, NFL Green will celebrate the Passing of the Golden Shovel from Los Angeles to Phoenix, marking the culmination of numerous community greening projects in the Los Angeles region on Wednesday. The annual ceremony will be followed by a project to beautify Darby Park by planting trees, removing trash and painting park furniture. Later that day, in collaboration with Little Caesars, the NFL will host community members and local Rams Inspire Change non-profit partners in Ted Watkins Park to celebrate the start of the season and the continued work being done in the Los Angeles community.
Ahead of Kickoff on Thursday, the NFL will relaunch the Character Playbook Program and recommit to providing hundreds of thousands of students with the social emotional skills they need to be successful in life. The event will take place at a local Inglewood middle school and will include a Character Playbook introduction and demonstration, plus a hands-on service activity for students to take part in.
Following a successful launch at this year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame game, NFL Votes will continue its efforts to encourage civic engagement among NFL players and Legends, club and league personnel, and fans at Kickoff. Leading up to the Kickoff game at SoFi Stadium, and during Kickoff Experience at Alamitos Beach, partners Vet the Vote and RISE will be available to register fans to vote and sign up as poll workers onsite at both locations.
As part of the NFL’s year-long commitment to Salute to Service, at the NFL Kickoff Experience fans will have the opportunity to join the NFL and the USO in assembling 10,000 care packages that will be shipped, and hand-delivered to service members around the world during the holiday season. The week will round out with a community-focused NFL Salute to Service event supporting Veterans in Compton. Veterans and civilians along with current and former NFL players will join together for a community service project led by The Mission Continues in partnership with NFL Green and with support from the NFL and Bob Woodruff Foundation Salute to Service grant.
OVERVIEW OF KICKOFF WEEK EVENTS
An overview of each event is listed below, with full details and media contact for each event
Flag Football Ambassadors Unboxing: Tuesday, September 6th, 10:00am, Morningside High School
The NFL in partnership with IFAF, and the LA Rams will showcase World Games Flag Athletes at Morningside High School with an Unboxing of Flag Kits for the Inglewood Unified School District. The event will take place on September 6th at 10:00 am PST.
Special Olympics NFL PLAY 60 Unified Flag Football Tournament & Championship Game: Tuesday, September 6th, 5:00pm-7:00pm, Long Beach City College
The NFL, in partnership with Special Olympics and the Los Angeles Rams, will host a Unified Flag Football Tournament & Championship game with Special Olympics athletes during Kickoff Week. The NFL funds Special Olympics Unified Flag Football programming in Southern California and this event will showcase the national partnership and bring the excitement of the Los Angeles Rams to the local Special Olympics athletes participating in this event. Additionally, the NFL will surprise participating Special Olympics athletes with 100 NFL PLAY 60 Commit to be Fit Kits. Each kit includes equipment and resources that encourage a healthy lifestyle of fitness and nutrition.
NFL Green Passing of the Golden Shovel and Community Greening Project: Wednesday, September 7th, 9:00am-12:00pm, Darby Park, 3400 W. Arbor Vitae Inglewood, CA
Each year, a symbolic Super Bowl “Golden Shovel” is passed from the last Super Bowl host community to the next. The NFL, Los Angeles Super Bowl LVI Host Committee, Los Angeles Rams, City of Inglewood and NFL partner Verizon will join forces for this moment, which is the culmination of numerous Super Bowl LVI community greening projects in the Los Angeles region. Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts will kick off the event and the ceremonial Golden Shovel pass will be followed by a project to beautify Darby Park, a neighborhood park adjacent to SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park. Community volunteers will help plant trees, remove trash and debris, and paint park furniture. A small area of drought tolerant plants will also be planted. Reclaimed water will be used to help establish the new trees and plants.
NFL Community Kickoff Celebration with the Los Angeles Rams and Little Caesars: Wednesday, September 7th 5:00pm-7:00pm, Ted Watkins Park in Watts
The NFL and the Los Angeles Rams will work with local Rams Inspire Change non-profit partner, the Thinkwatts Foundation, to host an event for community members in Watts, CA, creating a celebratory and engaging experience for attendees through visits from special guests, PLAY 60 activities, and more. NFL partner, Little Caesars, will distribute food to attendees with The Little Caesars Love Kitchen, a restaurant on wheels that travels across the US to help feed those in need. As a part of the evening, the NFL and Little Caesars will honor and recognize the great work being done by local community leaders by providing the Thinkwatts Foundation with a $125,000 grant to support a number of the programs and initiatives led by the community leaders in Watts and surrounding areas.
Character Playbook 2.0 Kickoff Launch: Thursday, September 8th 9:00am-11:00am, Centinela K8 School
The relaunch of the Character Playbook program is a recommitment of the NFL to provide hundreds of thousands of students annually in middle schools across the country with the skills they need to be successful in life. The program has reached more than 1.5 million students since 2016 and looks to lean in and reach millions more. The event will bring NFL staff, Legends, volunteers and students together to experience the program and to promote the new course to middle school students across the county.
The event will consist of a welcome and announcement, a Character Playbook Demo, and a Service Activity as service to others is a critical component of character building.
The event will introduce the Character Playbook program to middle school students in the Inglewood area and teach them about cultivating and maintaining healthy relationships in the game, in the classroom, and in our everyday lives.
USO-NFL Care Packages: Thursday, September 8th, Kickoff Experience, Alamitos Beach — Long Beach, CA
At the NFL Kickoff Experience, fans will have the opportunity to join the NFL and the USO in assembling 10,000 care packages on Thursday, September 8. These care packages will be shipped, and hand delivered to service members around the world – including those troops deployed in Eastern Europe – during the holiday season. Event participants will help prepare snack packs, which include popular food and drink items to bring a taste of home to our troops and ensure they have essential items for their care and comfort. The USO will then include the snack packs in larger USO Holidays care packages, which are delivered as festive drawstring bags of holiday goodies to service members around the world. These care packages will help express America’s gratitude to our Armed Forces while strengthening their connections to family, home, and country during the upcoming holiday season.
NFL Salute to Service Event Supports Veterans in Compton: Saturday, September 10th 9:00 am- 3:00 pm, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)
With support from an NFL and Bob Woodruff Foundation Salute to Service grant, The Mission Continues connected more than 8,000 veteran volunteers with service opportunities in under-resourced communities. The Mission Continues impact is two-fold: veterans have increased opportunities for social connectedness and improved mental health outcomes, and communities benefit from efforts to improve educational resources, tackle food insecurity, foster neighborhood identity, and more. During Kickoff Week in Los Angeles, veterans and civilians, including current and former NFL players, will join together for a community service project led by The Mission Continues in partnership with NFL Salute to Service, NFL Green and CultivaLA to improve community garden and meeting spaces at VFW Post 5394 in Compton on Saturday, Sept. 10 from 9:00am-3:00pm. VFW Post 5394 opened during the Vietnam War by a group of predominantly Black veterans who returned home to find rampant segregation and discrimination. The VFW continues to have a reputation as a safe space for the Black community in Compton.