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Innovative Solutions For Social and Emotional Learning


The NFL Alumni is pleased to announce that it will be helping children with social emotional learning through the Social Black Belt program across the country.

The Social Black Belt program was founded in Sarasota, FL by psychologist and author, Dr. Christopher Cortman, and his wife Stephanie in 2009. Dr. Cortman is best known in Florida for facilitating over 65,000 hours of therapy, with a reputation of saving lives and changing families for good. He was awarded “The Most Contributions in the Public Interest” by the Florida Psychological Association in 2015 for his efforts to create a universal social emotional learning program using his “top ten psychological truths.”

The Social Black Belt has reached over 7,000 local students in Sarasota, a district with 43,000 students on the Suncoast, boasting as the only county of 67 in the State of Florida with the #1 high school in Florida, Pine View School, and receiving an “A” grade for 14 consecutive years since grading began. The Social Black Belt program has also reached students on 13 school campuses throughout Florida in Center Academy’s twelve campuses and Osceola Christian Prep in Orlando.

“In my humble option, if children could master the knowledge and skill set of the Social Black Belt we would experience a significant reduction in drug abuse, school drop outs, bullying, depression and suicidality,” said Dr. Christopher Cortman, Psychologist and Author of Social Black Belt. “And who best to help teach these fundamentals than NFL Alumni and teachers? It’s a perfect match. A happier, healthier generation of young people await us.”

The program is evidence-based, as scored at the bio/stats department at USF. The program revealed a 50% improvement in the Social Black Belt students over their control counterparts. The program helps children to understand where their emotions come from, what they mean, and how to change them to be happier and healthier.

Students are taught to understand their behavior and what pay off they get from certain unhealthy behaviors, how to deal with difficult people, insights into how and when to trust others. The missing piece for many social emotional learning programs that Social Black Belt embodies is active emotional healing and the process of letting go, essential tools to live a healthy life span that will include thousands of losses.

“The NFL Alumni are empowering children across the USA on the field of sport and off the field in helping them deal with social and emotional development through the Social Black Belt curriculum,” said Jane Goodwin, Sarasota County Florida, School Board Member. “Healthy spirit—mind—body enables kids to succeed in life as they mature through hard work and confidence. I have experienced students in our schools who have been involved with Social Black Belt.  They become engaged and think more critically about their actions and emotions. Identifying the rationale for feeling good or bad is an underlying factor in their happiness and success.”

The NFL Alumni Association is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year and continues to assist and inform retired players and coaches in their post-NFL lives. The Association offers medical, financial and social programs to keep members and their families healthy, productive and connected.

“This type of program embodies our mission of ‘Caring for Kids & Caring for Our Own,’” said Elvis Gooden, Interim President and CEO of the NFL Alumni Association. “The NFL alumni will assist in program expansion, implementing and teaching Social Black Belt in schools all over the country, as a service to both the players and to the children. It’s a seamless extension of what NFL Alumni does providing mentorship, transition and opportunities for former NFL players.”




About Social Black Belt

Social Black Belt is the new generation of Social Emotional Learning. Social Black Belt uses innovative strategies to guide teachers and their students through a journey of self discovery; peeling back complex layers of behavior, uncovering the core issues inhibiting one’s achievement. Our mission is to provide youth with the skills, knowledge and resources to choose pro-social behaviors to establish healthy lifelong goals.


About the NFL Alumni Association

The NFL Alumni Association is a nationwide group of former NFL players, coaches, staffers, cheerleaders, spouses, and associate members whose mission is to serve, assist, and inform former players and their families. The Association offers a variety of medical, financial, and social programs to help members lead healthy, productive, and connected lives, as well as community initiatives under its “Caring for Kids” programs. Pro Football Legends is the commercial marketing name and logo of the NFL Alumni.

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Contact: Stephanie Cortman, Social Black Belt



Contact: Julie Nelson, Manager of Communications


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