1 in 4 children in America grow up without learning how to read
Source(s): National Institute for Literacy, National Center for Adult Literacy, The Literacy Company, U.S. Census Bureau

Blog Archive: July, 2017

A Student-Athlete's Perspective by Taylor Vargo

A Student-Athlete's Perspective by Taylor Vargo

August 01, 2017

The Second and Seven Foundation is a program that was created to help promote literacy in 2nd grade classrooms in economically disadvantaged communities. This foundation uses Student-Athletes as positive role models to kids in need while encouraging young athletes of the community to pay it forward. The Second and Seven foundation reminds second graders the importance of school, especially if the children want to become an athlete. The program was founded by three retired-Ohio State Football players in 1999 and has continued to grow over the last 18 years. Every year a new book is created with the characters, the Hog Mollies, to promote healthy life decisions by incorporating a moral to the story. I began volunteering with the program fall of my freshman year at Ohio State and immediately fell in love with the foundation. My first year, the Hog Mollies, were on a mission to remind others how kindness becomes contagious when you follow the Golden Rule. I will never forget reading to my first 2nd grade class. Their eyes followed in awe and their smiles were as big as they could be, only because I was a student-athlete from The Ohio State University. There was a moment during my first reading, where I knew this was a program I was going to connect with. Over four years, I have had second graders tell me that want to be just like me, just like Taylor the swimmer who wanted to become a doctor or have had students tell me they wish I was their older sister. I have seen that the best part of some second graders day is when us student-athletes take time out of our day to go read a book. I have learned that many kids around the Columbus area have never owned a book and have watched many students cry in happiness after we have given them their own Hog Molly book to take home after the reading. I feel so strongly about this foundation, I began a Second and Seven branch two years ago at my own hometown school district, Sandusky City Schools. I believe this foundation promotes more than just literacy, it promotes dreaming, love, and healthy lifestyle choices. Over the last four years of reading for the foundation, there will always be a special place in my heart for every second grade class I have read for. I have learned that I may have been a role model for these second graders but I have learned more about myself than I can ever teach one of the kids. I have learned that I long to work with children and want to have the chance to give every child the opportunity to experience an amazing program like this, whether they are the student athlete or the child. I am beyond grateful for this foundation and the people within the foundation for helping me find my passion of becoming a pediatrician.

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