ATHENS, Ohio - During this season of giving a number of Ohio student-athletes took time out of their schedules last week to visit West Elementary School here in Athens. Members of the men’s basketball and swimming & diving teams reached out to the community as part of the Rufus Reads Program.
The CHAMPS/Life Skills program within the Ohio athletic department, in an effort to build a strong relationship between Ohio Athletics and local elementary schools, implemented the Rufus Reads Program back in 2008. The Rufus Reads Program allows Ohio University student-athletes to visit local schools and spend time reading books to young students from kindergarten through sixth grade.
“There is nothing more gratifying than getting to see the joy that our student-athletes and mascot bring to the faces of the young children in Athens county as part of the Rufus Reads program,” Ohio Academic Services & CHAMPS/Skills Coordinator Rachel Ramey said. “The children really do enjoy getting the opportunity to meet some of their favorite Bobcats, and they especially love seeing Rufus up close and personal. Overall, the Rufus Reads program is special because the student-athletes get to show the children that reading skills impact one’s education from kindergarten through college.”
After reading to the classrooms, the student-athletes give the youngsters an opportunity to ask questions and talk one-on-one with their favorite Bobcats. The student-athletes discuss specific topics with the students, such as maintaining strong study skills throughout elementary, middle and high school. The activities conclude with a special guest appearance from Rufus himself which tends to be the most exciting part for the students.
“It’s great because you get to spend time with the kids,” sophomore David McKinley said. “They really seem to appreciate us being there.”
“It feels good to give back to the community,” senior Adetunji Adedipe added. “After all the support they give to us, it’s important to help and volunteer your time.”
Student-athletes from baseball, football, men’s and women’s golf, women’s soccer, softball, track & field, men’s and women’s cross country and wrestling took part in two previous Rufus Reads events at Chauncey Elementary School and Morrison Elementary School during the fall quarter.
There will be additional Rufus Reads events at elementary schools during the winter and spring quarters. To request a visit, learn more information about Rufus Reads or to take a look at other community-service projects Ohio student-athletes are involved with, please visit www.ohiobobcats.com and under the "Athletic Department" drop-down bar, click on Cats in the Community.
If you would like to get in touch with someone personally about the Rufus Reads Program, please contact Ms. Ramey at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 740-593-0536.