The Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation and Everybody Wins! DC came together to help students at Savoy Elementary to improve their book collection and reading habits.
On Monday, Dec. 5, the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation teamed up with Everybody Wins! DC to host a Redskins Read event at Savoy Elementary School in Southeast, Washington, D.C.
The reading event was centered around the children's book, 'Have You Filled A Bucket Today?', which teaches children the principles of being thankful and kind to others. It also coincided with the Everybody Wins! DC Power Lunch Program, which pairs students at Savoy Elementary with community mentors who help low-income students in reading comprehension.
The energy level inside the gymnasium was high, as the students were greeted by two of the First Ladies of Football, Masako and Kara, four current players - linebacker Houston Bates, guard Arie Kouandjio, defensive end Anthony Lanier II, tackle Isaiah Williams – and Redskins alumnus Ravin Caldwell.
After reading to students, the First Ladies and Caldwell, visited the fourth and fifth grade classrooms participating in the Redskins Read Program, and delivered books for their classroom libraries.
While the First Ladies and Caldwell were doing their classroom visits, the players helped power lunch students choose a new book to take home for their personal libraries, and assisted as students 'filled their own buckets', by writing or drawing different ways they helped their families, classmates and community.
"I hope it made an impact; we wouldn't want to be doing anything else," Bates said. "Any time we can make an impact on their lives, what better way to do it in then in the classroom and making them have good grades, stay in school, and be a great citizen. This is what we do, this is what we love."
Everybody Wins! DC shares the same passion for preparing future readers which is why they jumped at the opportunity to come together with the team to put on such a special event at the school, says the organization's executive director, Molly Teas.
"We're so grateful to our partners at the Redskins Charitable Foundation for joining with us to really light the spark in these kids eyes, and really instill a love of reading that we hope will become a habit of reading and not only improve their academic performance across the board, but success in life and whatever they decide to do," Teas said.
Leading the reading charge at Savoy Elementary is Donyale Butler, the school's principal. Obviously, Butler and her teachers have a full curriculum that they implement during the school year, but one thing the school is very serious about is each and every student being proficient in reading.
"Here at Savoy, readers are leaders," Butler said. "In order for anyone to be a leader on and off the field, you've got to be a reader. You've got to be able to read the playbook, read the driving direction book in order for you to get a driver's license, read for every single thing we do in life. We're constantly promoting reading here, and we're excited to partner with the Redskins [Charitable Foundation] as well as Everybody Wins! DC for this event."