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The Boston Bruins & ReadBoston Team up

by Hannah Goldman / Boston Bruins

Boston, MA --
The Black & Gold and the Boston Bruins Foundation continue to team with ReadBoston in an effort to promote reading throughout metro Boston.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino founded the ReadBoston program in 1995 and the program is designed to ensure that every child in Boston can read at grade level by the end of the third grade. Over 700,000 books have been donated to children, families, educators, preschools and elementary schools throughout Boston reaching 40,000 children each year. The Storymobile program will serve kids at over 80 sites each week this summer and distribute more than 35,000 books in just two months.

Bob Sweeney
Sweeney starts it off
At the June kickoff of the Summer Storymobile at TADPole Playground in Boston Common, Bob Sweeney the Director of the Boston Bruins Foundation joined Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino during the reading of the children’s book, Baghead.

Despite overcast skies, a large group of children, ranging in age from toddlers to eight-years-old, sat down with their parents to enjoy the event. CBS4 News Anchor Lisa Hughes led off the proceedings and after David McGrath of the Highland Street Foundation said a few words, Boston's beloved Mayor took his turn.

Mayor Menino thanked all the sponsors of the ReadBoston program, including Sweeney and the Boston Bruins Foundation and then explained the aim of the ReadBoston program.

“It is a year round effort to make sure that every kid has the joy to learn, to read, and to dream,” Menino said. “If you can’t read, then you can’t dream.

“I want to make sure that each kid in Boston has the ability to dream as they go through their lives.”

The keynote speaker of the day, Dave McGillivray, held the same beliefs.

McGillivray, the race director of the Boston Marathon, has run in 122 marathons and even ran cross-country from Oregon all the way to Fenway Park in support of the Jimmy Fund.

The marathoner started off his speech by showing support to the Boston sports teams. And after donning a Celtics cap and Red Sox cap in succession, he said that next year he would be wearing a Bruins Stanley Cup Championship hat. That elicited a loud cheer for the Bruins and for Sweeney who is, of course, a Bruins alum.
McGillivray also told the crowd, “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body” and after his inspirational speech, presented the Mayor with a Boston Marathon Medal for his work for the city, declaring Menino, “the best Mayor in the country.”

Later, Sweeney was re-introduced to the crowd, and took his spot next to the Mayor to help him read Baghead to the kids.

Phil Kessel
Kessel brings it (back) to the library
More recently, Phil Kessel took time out of his busy schedule to fly in to Boston for some work with Strength and Conditioning Coach John Whiteside. Following that morning session, Kessel traveled to Alston and the Honan/Alston Branch of the Boston Public Library.

At the library Phil read the books Click, Clack, Moo and Baby Brains (the Smartest Baby in the World).

The 50-or-so toddlers sat in rapt attention as Kessel, wearing his familiar #81 Boston Bruins jersey read aloud.

Kessel, never one to crave attention, didn’t mind the little faces smiling back at him while he read stories about cows typing letters and baby astronauts.

“I enjoy doing that kind of stuff,” said the young skater following the event. “I had fun.

“You know, I am not a big public speaker…but even when you mess up, the kids don’t care.

“They just like the pictures,” said Phil, self-deprecatingly, with a chuckle.

The truth of the matter was that kids appreciated the budding NHL star coming to visit their neighborhood to read to them -- the huge line of miniature autograph seekers was a testament to that fact.

“It was good,” laughed Kessel, who managed to give each of the kids a few seconds personal attention. “I am happy to do that anytime.”

For more information on ReadBoston, click here. Information on the Boston Bruins Foundation and its programs is here.
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