Students from the Holland Elementary School in Dorchester had quite the experience Wednesday when they embarked on a Duck Boat tour starting from the North End. But this wasn’t any ordinary cruise on the Charles River. They had special guests aboard.
As part of the Celtics' Read to Achieve Program, the kids were joined by eight players who are either new to the team's roster or have been invited to training camp. The players read to them during the tour and discussed the importance reading has had in their lives.
Kris Humphries, Kelly Olynyk, Jordan Crawford, DeShawn Sims, Chris Babb, Phil Pressey, Damen Bell-Holter, and Kammron Taylor were welcomed by the kids and, appropriately, read the book “Make Way for Ducklings” while taking a Duck Boat tour of the city.
“I think [Read to Achieve] is a great initiative by the NBA,” Humphries said. “It’s funny, I’ve seen these Duck Boats driving around, so I’ve always thought it’d be cool to go and do that. So when I heard this was one of the things we were doing, count me in.
"As a kid, I always looked up to NBA players, so for these kids to be able to go and do this, it’s definitely exciting.”
Read to Achieve is an NBA program developed to emphasize the importance of reading to younger people by providing better access to books. Across the league, teams have developed numerous reading and learning centers in partnerships with schools in an effort to create a secure and fun environment for young students.
And for Wednesday’s event, the emphasis was definitely on fun.
“It’s good for us to interact with the kids,” Crawford said. “They look up to us and view us as role models. So just to interact with them and put a smile on their face, I hope to do it as long as I’m here.”
This event was presented by Kia Motors and ReadBoston. ReadBoston is a nonprofit literacy program founded in 1995 by Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, with a mission to ensure that all children can read at a grade level by the end of the third grade.
The Celtics are doing their part in promoting the importance of education. They also offer a monthly prize to any student within their partnership of schools that hits his or her reading goal. According to Celtics director of community relations Matt Meyersohn, events like these leave a lasting impression.
“We host monthly reading events,” Meyersohn said. “We’re celebrating reading and trying to use our power as the Celtics brand and players to encourage kids to take education seriously.”
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- Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
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