What is your viewpoint on literacy in general and how does it change lives?
Very simply, in order to succeed you must read. To be the best person that you can possibly be, you need to be able to read. Reading expands a person’s mind and creativity. Through reading, the world is at your fingertips, and you will be able to reach your goals.
What is an inspirational story about one of the students or parents that you have helped that really sticks in your heart?
When teachers, parents or students share stories about their reluctant readers picking up books after hearing or seeing how reading has changed my life warms my heart every time.
How do you compare the feelings of winning the Super Bowl and helping children learn to read?
Both are amazing experiences. However, I truly believe that I would not have had an opportunity to play for the Patriots and ultimately be a Super Bowl Champion if I had not decided to become a better reader. Being able to share my experiences as a football player and a reader with young students is a tremendous feeling.
Why do you think your foundation has been so successful?
Educators continuously tell us that they need connectivity to their students. Because I am willing to share my own reading difficulties as a child and my personal literacy journey to successful reading, I provide a platform that inspires students to be not just better readers but better students. I think this is particularly true with striving readers.
Did you ever think this foundation would become such a key and critical part of your life?
Once I learned about the magic of reading and its transformative effects on my life, I felt like I needed to share my message with young students. At that point, I knew my Foundation would always be an important part of my life.
What are your goals for the foundation by the end of 2017, five years from now, 10 years from now?
The beautiful thing about reading is that it will always be a necessity. Giving the foundation something to stand for, for eternity. In saying that, nothing is perfect so there will always be room to grow. Share the Magic Foundation will always believe a child has the ability to accomplish their goals, and with reading they equip themselves with the tools necessary to do so. First step is to introduce books to communities that might not fully embrace reading. After, relentlessly share the message that reading can reshape your life in positive ways. 10 years from now I envision the foundation being in the forefront of the message that “Reading Can Change the World.”
How would you like the NFL to become more involved with your organization?
Partnerships are the key to maximizing the potential reach and growth of any foundation. As my foundation continues to grow, I hope to have the opportunity to work with the NFL as an organization on ways to improve youth literacy.
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