To continue a week of Salute To Service celebrations, the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation hosted a Redskins Read program for military children and their families at Joint Base Andrews. *
Reading is fundamental, but as the first part of the word suggests, it can also be fun.
That was the main takeaway last Thursday afternoon at the Joint Base Andrews Youth Center, where the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation hosted a Salute to Redskins Read Bootcamp. More than 100 military children and families participated in reading stations and activities and took home a book for their personal library.
The event continued the week of Salute to Service celebrations the Redskins Charitable Foundation and Redskins Salute hosted, each held on a different military base for active duty military and their families.
Thursday’s function was specifically tailored to elementary students living on the base, testing their reading knowledge through a series of stations designed to get their bodies and minds active.
One station involved a three-legged race that included some reading trivia that had to be solved before teammates could sprint back to the beginning of the line. Another exercise station had four groups racing to collect words spread over the floor to be puzzled together to create all the necessary parts of a story.
To calm their excited spirits down, students then got the opportunity to create ‘gold star’ necklaces stating their reading, academic and life goals before heading over for story time, and more importantly, a listening station, where two Redskins Cheerleaders Nikki and Ashleysat and read from a collection of picture books.
Once that concluded, each student had a chance to examine a table of chapter and picture books and select one to take home with them.
For Jason Guadalupe, Commander, 11th Force Support Squadron, who oversees a lot of the activities around the base, these events are inspiring for so many kids that don’t get to have interactions with a football organization such as the Redskins.
“[The kids] realize how important it is to continue doing well in school and then also realize what they can achieve by meeting people that they only see on T.V., Redskins Cheerleaders and staff, and they’re coming to visit them, so it makes them feel valued, it makes them feel like I can achieve the same thing,” he said. “And the importance of reading.”
For Shawn Gibbs, who works at Walter Reed Hospital and fathers seven-year old Khloe, events at the Youth Center like this show students the value and excitement that reading can provide, especially when it’s promoted with a variety of ages in mind.
“I think the whole community interaction, it gives them a sense of goals – ‘I can do this’ -- it broadens their scope of things that they can do,” Gibbs said. “Social growth is what it means to my daughter. [It] lets her know that she can do what she wants to.”