Give A Child A Book


Lincoln High football players read to kids at Malcolm X Library

Day II Day Foundation and Reading Legacies teamed up for the youth reading sessions.
Lincoln High football players reading to kids
Posted at 2:29 PM, Sep 07, 2023

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Two nonprofit organizations teamed up to give high school athletes the opportunity to highlight their skills from the classroom while contributing to the community.

As ABC 10News continues to highlight the importance of literacy, our team introduces you to the new role models for kids at the Malcolm X Library.

"I took my python to the library, but she shed her skin all over the pictures books... Do you like snakes? I don't like snakes!" a high school athlete said to the children.

The books Lincoln High School football payers read aloud to kids at the library are fictional, but the excitement and joy of reading hour is real.

"Being able to build a relationship with kids away from football, being part of these kids' life, it's something they'll remember forever," Lincoln High student Jerome Roberts said.

Roberts and his fellow teammates have been reading to kids at the Malcolm X Library since January.

"There's this one kid — he's not here today — but he always enlightens my day, no matter how my day's going, he always enlightens my day and I love that," he said.

It's a chance for the students to disengage from day-to-day distractions, all while creating a bond between kids in two different age groups.

"Some of these kids don't have people to look up to, so it's cool just being there for them and just have someone who cares about them," one of the players said..

"We get a chance to give back and I explain to our players that in our community, our numbers are low in reading and comprehension, and we want to help kids understand it's fun and cool to read and be involved," David Dunn, the head football coach at Lincoln High, said.

Coach Dunn created the Day II Day Foundation to inspire confidence and boost self-esteem of the youth in the area. Specifically, the foundation has a goal of reducing high school drop out rates and increasing college attendance.

Day II Day teamed up with nonprofit Reading Legacies to bring Youth Reading story sessions, led by Lincoln High football players, to the Malcolm X Library and Valencia Park. Betty Mohlenbrock is Reading Legacies' founder and president.

"It's about providing a foundation for kids to be successful in reading and relationships, self-esteem and ultimately in life," Mohlenbrock said.

Mohlenbrock used to be a teacher, but she left education to create a program to give adults the opportunity to read to kids in the community. She studied the impact of reading early to kids as she did research for her Master's degree.

"The single best predictor in their success in reading is if they've been read aloud to," she said.

She started Reading Legacies over 20 years ago as a way to connect kids with parents on deployment. The nonprofit has since expanded to libraries. schools and even correctional facilities.

"It's rewarding, honestly, because they're excited and it makes you excited as well," a Youth Reading participant told ABC 10News.

"Kids love repetition. If they find a book they like, they'll want to hear it over and over again. We make choices everyday and that has to be a choice, and we as adults are the role model and have to initiate it," Mohlenbrock said.

If you're interested in becoming a volunteer reader, or if you'd like to welcome the program to your area, follow this link.