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By Sam Perley, hornets.com | Thursday, June 29, 10:56 a.m.
School might be out for the summer, but that didn’t stop roughly 300 volunteers from coming together on Thursday, June 29 for the Charlotte Hornets organization’s annual all-staff Day of Service, which this year focused on education. In conjunction with Bank of America, 5,000 backpacks were stuffed in the main lobby at Spectrum Center with learning materials and transported to various community sites for students in kindergarten to fifth grade.
Additionally, volunteers also distributed backpacks at six CMS Summer Literacy Sites and participated in interactive read-alouds and other activities to help encourage children to read while school is out of session. Research shows that students end up taking a step back when classes reconvene if they don’t continue to read and engage themselves academically during the summer months.
The event kicked off with a press conference at Spectrum Center which featured Hornets President & COO Fred Whitfield, Bank of America Charlotte and North Carolina Market President Charles Bowman and Charlotte Hornets forward Marvin Williams.
“In recent years, we’ve donated more than one million dollars to support students, teachers, CMS schools and education-related non-profits,” said Whitfield. “We know there is a lot more work to be done. Reading is a fundamental skill that is a challenge to many children, especially those who don’t have access to books outside of school. This year, we will continue to combat the decline in literacy over the summer.”
Bowman added before the start of the event, “To help our community thrive, we have to ensure our children are reading on grade level. Reading is one of the greatest predictors of future success, so this effort is critical as we work together to drive economic mobility for all in Charlotte.”
“Education is big, obviously. It’s important to everybody in the Charlotte Hornets organization. It’s another opportunity for us to give back to the community, which is very important to us as well,” stated Williams. “I, myself, am big on education. So, to have this opportunity, I’m very thankful for it. I hope this thing goes well and [I’m] looking forward to helping these kids out in the community.”
Both Hornets center Cody Zeller and forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist also joined in to help stuff backpacks earlier in the morning.
Education is one of the four major community service pillars of the Charlotte Hornets organization along with wellness, commitment to military and the fight against hunger. Amongst the many other recent education-related initiatives include renovating a teacher’s lounge at Steele Creek Elementary School, a “Math Hoops Live Event” at Waddell Language Academy and multiple library refurbishments during last year’s Day of Service event.