Sports can teach teamwork, discipline and responsibility. And for high school athletes, a coach can be one of the most influential people in their lives.
Now, Nottingham High School is implementing a new program called â??Coaching Boys to Men.â??
Each week, the football, soccer and freshman boysâ?? basketball coaches will talk with their teams about accountability -- and respect for women in their lives.
"It's a unique opportunity to have students learn from someone else, not just a teacher but in the field of athletics where a lot of the kids who are there want to be there,â?? says Nottingham basketball Coach Mark LaClair.
Many high school athletes are well known at their schools, and Vera House hopes if athletes are talking about building healthy relationships -- the whole school will benefit.
Nottingham football players Justin Bell and Javon Jones say they want to be role models on and off the field, and look forward to talking about real world issues as a team.
"It helps bring us closer together so we can talk about what we need to talk about,â?? Justin Bell says.
"I'll be able to talk to them about that. I can talk to them about anything. Itâ??s like family,â?? says Javon Jones.
Many teens have seen high profile domestic violence cases involving pro athletes like NFL star Ray Rice.
Vera House says their program gives coaches easy to present, fifteen minutes, once a week conversations about respect.
"If we get coaches on board to take the time to spend with these young athletes, we know that we can begin to end violence against women and girls,â?? says Vera House spokesman George Kilpatrick.
Right now, the program is just at Nottingham High School in Syracuse, but Vera House says any school district or athletic team that wants to participate can contact their office.