Superbowl 51 champion Patriots’ Malcolm Mitchell was back to New England last week, but not to run drills or to catch passes from Tom Brady. He returned to deliver a powerful message to local students – in order to succeed, you must read.
As part of our Big Cheese Reads event series, we teamed up with Mitchell and his nonprofit youth literacy initiative called “Read with Malcolm,” inviting him to visit the Mildred Ave K-8 School in Mattapan and speak to students about the importance of reading and literacy.
“Reading is a right,” says Mitchell, who has taken his Read With Malcolm program nationally, but holds a special fondness for his “second home” schools in the greater Boston area. “Every student – no matter what the circumstances or challenges – has the right to be able to open a book and discover the world of reading. I was able to find the magic inside myself and become a champion reader, and I am coming to share the magic with our amazing New England kids, so they too can become the champions we all know they are.”
Malcolm first met with an auditorium full of young students, gifting each with a copy of “The Magician’s Hat,” Mitchell’s self-published children’s book, which uncovers the magic of reading. Students enjoyed reading along with Mitchell, witnessing magic tricks and hearing about his journey to literacy.
Later in the morning, middle school students filled the auditorium and witnessed a more personal side of the football champion. Mitchell spoke of the challenges he faced growing up in a poor single-parent household and the difficult lessons he learned about decision-making and the permanent effects poor choices can have in young people’s lives.
Mitchell admitted that when he was entering college he realized that his greatest challenge had not been proving himself on the football field, but rather in the classroom, where he struggled with reading. Recognizing this he began to tackle this literacy obstacle, and through perseverance books became an avenue for expanding his curiosity, creativity and learning, helping him to reach his full potential.
Mitchell believes that literacy is an avenue out of troubled circumstances and used his time with the middle school students to reaffirm that reading is necessary to succeed, no matter what your goal is in life. He emphasized that reading helped him make better decisions off the field that translated to more opportunities on the field.
We are so honored to partner with “Read With Malcolm” and host Mitchell for this particular school visit, allowing the rookie superstar an opportunity to personally share his broader message that reading is a critical component and necessary skill to compete effectively in life and fulfill an individual’s potential and pursuit of their dreams.