April 10, 2008
KINGSTON, R.I. - Several University of Rhode Island student-athletes took time out of their busy schedules to visit local and area elementary schools as part of National Reading Week during the last two weeks.
"Our student-athletes were thrilled about this opportunity," said marketing and promotions coordinator Jaclyn Muns. "We have always received great support from the community, and we felt this was a fantastic way for us to give back. Many of our student-athletes jumped at the chance to spent time with these kids."
On Thursday, April 10, members of the URI football, volleyball, and women's basketball team traveled to Peace Dale Elementary in Wakefield and spent time reading to and answering questions from the children. The students seemed in awe of many of the student-athletes, all of which stayed to sign autographs and take pictures with the youngsters before returning to campus.
"It was a good time," said URI senior football player Tom Estrella. "The school librarian said they would pay attention to us more than the teachers because we're athletes and people they look up to. When I was in elementary school during reading week, some of the high school students would come to read to us. It will definitely be something the kids and the teachers will remember. The teachers know many of us are really busy, and they appreciate us taking the time to come down and show the kids that reading is important."
Last week, members of the URI swimming & diving, cheerleading, women's track & field, and women's basketball team spent time reading to elementary students at Warwick Neck Elementary, Matunuck School, Hamilton Elementary, Wakefield Elementary, and the URI Child Development Center.
"I took a few groups down today, and each one of them came back with smiles on their faces," said URI volleyball coach Bob Schneck. "The kids were attentive to every word the girls said because they were so tall and they were so small. The girls even played a game called `sharks and lifeguards' with the kids during gym class. I came in looking for my team and saw them on the floor with parachutes! We then went to the library and read a few books to them, and they must have been the best books in the library because the kids were mesmerized by the girls who read to them."