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Reading is ministry for Lady Bears

Lady Bears minister in local school

by Vicky Kaniaru

(On the Cover: Morgan Gould -- an athlete on Truett-McConnell's women's basketball team -- is one of several teammates involved in a reading ministry to local kindergarten children. [Photography and graphical design by Carrie Ann Sienkiewicz.])

CLEVELAND, Ga. (TMCNews)— A hive of bees with auburn, brown, black, and blonde hair swarmed on the carpet waiting for the reader. A blend of pink cheeks and brown eyes smiled as Morgan Gould read, Happy Valentine's Day.

Known as the Bumblebees, members of Linda Stovall's kindergarten class at Jack P. Nix primary school were excited when Gould and other athletes of Truett-McConnell College's women's basketball team read to them.

The team visited several classrooms, reading books that ranged from The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and If You Gave a Moose a Muffin. Joining Gould were Rachel Benhart; Morgan Gould; Natalie Johnson; Tiffany Johnson; Rachael Jones; Nikki McDonald; Ashley Williams; Sieda Rivers; and Meagan Price, assistant women's basketball coach.

"We want to get out into the community; we want the community to know that we care, and we want to be involved," Gould said.

Price presented the idea of reading to children and the team began visiting different schools, including Fair Street Elementary in Gainesville. Though team members are not required to fill community service hours, they simply want to reach out and inspire younger kids in academics and athletics.

"This generation needs to know the importance of reading and education because they are the future leaders," Coach Price said. "And it's great for the girls because young children look up to college athletes in general as role models."

"As college students, it's important to show the importance of reading, that reading is fun," Ashley Williams said. "So, at a young age, the kids say, 'These older kids read and that's cool.' They look up to us. It's not all about sports, it's about academics too."

The Lady Bears have additional community service projects planned throughout the season.

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Vicky Kaniaru is senior staff writer at Truett-McConnell College.

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