Former NFL wide receiver teaches Brunswick County students importance of reading

Posted at 7:50 PM, Sep 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-28 19:50:30-04

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, Va. -- Super Bowl champion Malcolm Mitchell stopped by several Brunswick County schools recently to talk with students, not about sports but about the importance of reading.

The former New England Patriots wide receiver and children's book author shared with students his struggles with reading growing up. He spoke about how his decision to take reading seriously transformed his life and his journey to becoming an author.

"Read with Malcolm" is a youth literacy initiative the Georgia native said he started in hopes of showing students that through reading, they can truly accomplish anything they dream of.

His trips to the various elementary and high schools were part of an effort put forth by the entire community. Saint Paul's College Museum and Archives spearheaded the event, partnering with the school system and several county departments.

“Literacy has been a weak area for Brunswick County because of our poverty and parents are not able to provide the support that the students need at home with homework assistance and additional reading time, so that’s a goal of our county school system is to build up our literacy,” said Cheryl Bowen, Principal at Meherrin-Powellton Elementary School.

The Brunswick County Sheriff's Department also partnered to bring Mitchell to town.

"What I'm most proud of participating in is really the bridge between the criminal justice system and literacy and how important it is to start at such a young age and get the kids involved in reading," said Sheriff Brian Roberts. "I just think we need to continue to come together, It's going to take programs like this to create awareness."

Mitchell said he loves what he does and hopes to inspire every student he comes in contact with. He said no matter what it's about or where they feel they are in their reading journey, picking up a book and reading is a great start.

"I did not have this understanding of the power of reading. Once I got to college, I realized if I fueled my brain, as much as I was feeling my body as an athlete, could take me to similar places," Mitchell said.

Students throughout the county plan to start Mitchell's 26-day read marathon in October. You can learn more about the program on his website.

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