Joliet Junior College athletes read to local children and delivered more than 1,000 books from an Athletic Department Book Drive to three local organizations on Dec. 5, 10, and 13. Eliza Kelly Elementary School, as part of the Harvey Brooks Foundation, the Joliet Spanish Community Center’s daycare, and the Heartman Recreational Center in Joliet all received approximately 350 books from the drive.
Kerri O’Shea, JJC athletic retention specialist, said the children were excited to see the JJC student athletes in their uniforms and were happy they split into groups for one-on-one attention. JJC students also enjoyed reading and talking with the children – O’Shea said they didn’t want to leave.
“The important thing is that they learned how to set a positive example and they made a big impact with the children in our community. They sat down and had entertaining conversations with kids. Individual attention was given to each child,” she said. “They did a great job representing the Athletic Department and JJC.”
The Heartman Recreational Center was so thankful for the JJC’s visit that the children made thank you cards for the JJC athletes.
This is not the first time JJC athletes have encouraged local children to read. In April 2013, the Athletic Department initiated a “Reading with the Wolves,” campaign and JJC baseball and softball players read to children at other elementary schools.
“This year’s book drive has allowed for us to build off of this program and we are enthusiastic about future ‘Reading with the Wolves’ initiatives,” O’Shea said.
O’Shea added that the book drive and donation project wouldn’t have been possible without the encouragement of JJC Athletic Director Wayne King.
In the future, O’Shea said the Athletic Department wants to start a healthy lifestyle campaign for young children, encouraging them to eat healthy and be active.