Men's Soccer to take part in local reading program
Sept. 20, 2007
ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. - As the St. Bonaventure men's soccer team begins preparation for its next opponent, the Bonnies are also in the final organizational stages on a program of its own.
At the end of October, the Brown and White will help launch the new and improved "Get a Kick out of Reading" program to Boardmanville, Washington West, Ivers J. Norton and East View elementary schools that will reach approximately 1,300 students.
"We want to send a message of how important reading is and how much fun it can be," said head coach Mel Mahler. "Our student-athletes are natural role models and the relationships they develop with the children often reinforce the messages their teachers are trying to communicate with them everyday. Community service is an important component to St. Bonaventure's mission and we encourage our student-athletes to demonstrate the Franciscan values through service to others."
Under the direction of Mahler and Boardmanville Elementary reading specialist Tracy Spears, the school's 20-year old "Parents As Reading Partners" series was reinvented into an energetic and fun-filled event for the children. The third-year program is intended to encourage the area's children to implement reading into their everyday lives.
The two-week program begins with a school assembly, in which members of the Bonnies soccer team will help determine how much the students must read during the 14-day period. The length of the student's reading time depends on the number of consecutive juggles a player can convert without the ball touching the floor.
During the school's designated two weeks, players from the men's soccer team will visit the particular school up to six times throughout that time span to check on the student's progress. At the conclusion of the program, students who reach or surpass their reading goal receive special prizes, such as pizza parties, Bonnies memorabilia, and lunch/recess with the Brown and White.
"The students really look up to the St. Bonaventure soccer players," said Spears. "The best part of the program is they come into the classroom and read to the students. The players and Coach Mahler are very enthusiastic and it has benefited our students immensely."
The Bonnies hope to expand the program into the Allegany-Limestone, Portville and Hinsdale school systems this year. The Brown and White will also host a "Get a Kick out of Reading" Day at one of the club's home matches this season.