January 10, 2019
By: Cassie Schmidt
The Muhlenberg Men and Women’s basketball programs have had a long-standing tradition of going to Jefferson Elementary School to read to their students. They do it every year to honor the upcoming holiday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, by reading the students a book about MLK, his dream and the impact he had in America.
The two programs would split up between 8 different classrooms, about 3 to 4 student-athletes per room. They visited four 1st grade rooms and four 5th grade rooms. The books they chose taught the students more about Martin Luther King, Jr. and everything that went on in efforts to help enact change. The idea behind it was to inform students that even today, kids can still makes efforts to do the right things and continue to help make a difference. They also learned about equality and that no matter the color of ones skin, everyone should be treated the same. After reading the book, the kids got to ask the basketball players any questions they had. Most of them were about the books and some were about their heights, or if they could dunk. An activity would follow the Q & A, where the students were to write or draw something about how they could make a change in their school or their community. The Mules student-athletes went around the desks helping and asking kids what they can do to make the community and their school a better place.
I love my job for many reasons, the heartwarming stories is definitely atop the list, and this was one of them. I talked to some of the Jefferson teachers and they talked about how the kids look forward to this visit for weeks! They also talked about the positive impact the student-athletes can bring to the younger kids and show them what a TRUE positive role model is like.
As for the Muhlenberg basketball players, I think they may have gotten even more out of it than the 1st and 5th graders did. They all said how much they look forward to this event each and every year and how something as simple as reading a book and taking an hour out of their time to listen and teach these kids something meaningful, makes being a student-athlete even more special.
I think it’s great that Muhlenberg has created such a relationship with Jefferson Elementary. It’s so important to give back to the community that you reside and spend so much time in. I think it’s also important for the student-athletes to use their platform for good and be such amazing role models in these kids’ lives. A special event I had the pleasure of covering and hope to see continue for as long as I’m around!
You can catch the story on our Lehigh Valley Sports Scene show on Friday (Jan. 11th). The show will be on at 6:00 PM.