just read it!

by daniel goncalves, danielgoncalves.com
Just Read it!–That’s what Mike says. Jaguars LB Mike Peterson (#54) that is. Mike started the “Just Read it!” program which is in its second year. Publicist, Bonnie Upright says, “Just Read It is for all Duval County students in grades three through eight. PACE Center for Girls is also involved this year”. Six elementary, six middle school students, and one girl from PACE, are selected as monthly winners. The incentive program is designed to award outstanding students at the elementary and middle school level for reading improvement and attendance.
What is their prize? The “Just Read It Stars of the Month,” get a behind the scenes tour of the Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. The winners hop on an elevator and go straight to the top floor press box. Nyree Bowen, community relations person for the Jaguars leads the tour. They work their way down onto the field and visitor’s locker room. At the end of the tour Mike meets with the students.
“I have always liked to read, says Mike “and I really believe it’s important for kids to know that reading is a good thing. It might not have been a cool thing to do back in the day, but now, reading is so important. I think people would be surprised at how many of us football players read in our spare time. Reading is definitely the key to success.”
The rewards don’t stop there. At the conclusion of the school year, all 84 winners are invited to attend a year-end celebration hosted by Peterson. Mike explains, “Every time I get to hang out with the kids, it’s memorable. It’s all about the kids. They are so excited about visiting the stadium, and it’s a real honor for me to share that experience with them. I know that many of them don’t get a chance to come to the games, so it’s cool to give them this opportunity. I like showing the kids where I work, and show them my classroom. I also look forward to the end of the year celebration, when we have a big cookout for all of our winners, with all you can eat hot dogs, hamburgers, ice cream. We’ll bring out some games and activities and just let the kids have a good time.” If that doesn’t make reading cool, I don’t know what does!
Keep doing good things on the field and in the classroom Mike. You’re making a difference and creating memories that’ll last a lifetime! For more information: MikePeterson54.com