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Canes in the Community: Read and Feed

by Colleen Hamilton / Carolina Hurricanes
Defensemen Brett Pesce and Jaccob Slavin have been a key pieces of the Hurricanes' Red, White and Blue Line this season. On Tuesday, the young defensemen brought a new skill set to the Redvolution - reading. Pesce and Slavin teamed up with Read and Feed for the Read-volution and helped reinforce the importance of reading.

Read and Feed was one of 15 Kids ‘N Community Foundation game changer grant recipients last spring. Their goal is simple – to provide an atmosphere with books, food and tutors that will help motivate children to develop their academic skills.

“We are an after school literacy program,” said Kati Mullan, executive director of Read and Feed. “We use mobile classrooms. We go into the neighborhood where the children live, we feed them a hot meal and then we work with them on their reading and reading comprehension.”

Pesce and Slavin visited Read and Feed’s mobile classroom in North Raleigh on Tuesday evening. Slavin read “A Sick Day for Amos McGee” with the older group of kids, while Pesce read stories from “A Treasury of Curious George” to the younger kids.

“The kids don’t understand what a grant is, but the kids understand what it means to have athletes come and visit them,” said Gabby Pinto, Kids 'N Community Foundation grant and event specialist and community relations coordinator.

This community day was more of a representation of the KNCF grant that was awarded to Read and Feed.

“The children are so grateful and they’re appreciative of having people come out. It’s a really positive experience for the children,” Mullan said.

The experience was positive for everyone involved - including Slavin and Pesce.

“They (Read and Feed) travel around the city and help underprivileged children. We were there to help out – give the kids some food and read books. It was a really good time,” Slavin said.

“It was awesome seeing all those little kids smiling last night and you could tell they were just having a great time. And that’s obviously the purpose – for them to be amongst a role model," Pesce said. "It’s nice to just get away from the game and give back to the community."

As a KNCF grant recipient, Read and Feed was awarded $15,000 which went towards the expansion of the Feed for the Reader summer program, allowing two additional program sites.

“We were able to expand the footprint of our program into more areas in Wake County,” Mullan said. We have 18 program sites and we’re only in Wake County right now. Our footprint has really expanded a lot.”

The Feed for the Reader summer program is a nine-week program that runs June through August and focuses on children that attend traditional schools.

“We know that they don’t have access to summer enrichment resources and so that’s why we’re trying to target that population,” Mullan said.

Read and Feed’s other program runs during the school year from September to April. While the KNCF grant went towards Read and Feed’s summer program, the foundation finds other ways to stay involved throughout the year - including the foundation's annual book drive.

“Through our foundation, we don’t just want to drop a check and leave,” Pinto said. “We do want it to be a true partnership, so those are the people we look to first when it comes to drive recipients.”

This year’s book drive collected over 800 books, half of which were donated to Read and Feed. Those books will go towards Read and Feed’s effort to help build home libraries for the children involved in its program.

To learn more about Read and Feed, click here.

Colleen Hamilton
COLLEEN HAMILTON is the Marketing Coordinator for the Carolina Hurricanes.

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