Students from Liberty University’s School of Education and Liberty student-athletes participated in a community outreach at Linkhorne Elementary School on Monday.
The event, “Books and Balls,” emphasized exercise and literacy and was organized by Liberty’s Kappa Delta Pi (KDP) chapter, an international honors society for education students, as part of Literacy Alive Day held by chapters worldwide. Dr. Kristina DeWitt, chapter counselor and assistant professorâ¨ in the School of Education, coordinated the efforts.
Liberty’s chapter donated more than 700 books to the school for the event, which involved 10 “celebrity readers” (members of Liberty Flames athletics teams) and 35 education students.
The event kicked off with LU student-athletes handing out Liberty T-shirts and inspiring third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students.
Senior Patrick Kelly, a standout wide receiver for the Flames’ football team and recipient of the KP Sports FCS ADA Scholar-Athlete of the Year, encouraged the students to work hard in school and do their best in and outside of the classroom.
“You can do anything in the world so long as you are willing to do your best and put your mind to it,” he said.
After the kickoff, Liberty students and student-athletes read books in the classrooms and helped students with special crafts.
“It’s awesome to show how athletes have used education to further their career and dreams and see them giving back to their community,” said Ashley Bullock, KDP’s social chair.
Additionally, KDP teamed with Genesis Academy, a private school in Lynchburg for gifted high school-age basketball players coached by LU alumnus Harry Williams, and played games and basketball with the children.
Linkhorne Elementary principal Kathleen Sawyer said she was thankful for all the hard work everyone put in to make the day happen.
“It means so much to have Liberty University take an interest in our students, who don’t always have someone to help them, mentor them, and encourage them,” Sawyer said. “We know how much this day will mean for the children. The excitement and positive attitude that they bring in our building will be remembered for years to come.”