This week, Magic players put the pre-season on pause to promote the importance of reading to local children at the Pick, Read & Roll event.
Several Magic players dedicated their day to encourage over 8,000 Orange County Public School students to read. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, only 150 students were able to attend the event in person. However, those lucky kids were the best readers at their respective Title 1 schools. While the remainder of the students were able to watch the event via zoom. Regardless, the message the Magic players gave these children was incredibly empowering.
Alex Martins, Magic CEO, expressed the value of this event in the team’s PR statement. “It’s a great opportunity for us to utilize our platform and the power of our players [voices]… to help students understand the importance of reading and where it can lead them and how it can help them in their futures.”
Since the 2018 launch of the Pick, Read & Roll event, local schools have experienced tremendous growth in reading development. Specifically, after the 2019 series, participating schools saw a 30% increase in their reading scores compared to the uninvolved Title 1 schools. However, the children are not the only ones who derive purpose and enjoyment from the event.
Magic Players Love to Read
One of their newest players, Robin Lopez, was front-and-center explaining his deep love for reading. The Stanford alum recalls a childhood surrounded by books and magazines. Notably, his grandparents fostered his passion for reading and the significance of doing so. To this day, other Magic players see Lopez reading throughout the facility. Hearing pro-athletes and or role models express their deep admiration for literature can resonate and bolster the youth’s attitude for reading too.
Fellow big-man Wendell Carter Jr. describes this vital usage of their NBA statuses. “You are kind of put on this platform and everybody looks up to you. To be able to give off a great message, I feel like it’s always important.” Ensuring the proper education and literacy of future generations cannot be overstated.
Furthermore, Jonathan Isaac advances this statement, event, and message by acting as an ambassador for Coaching for Literacy. This program uses the power of sports for good through raising awareness. The issue of illiteracy is often overlooked nowadays, but Isaac and Coaching for Literacy fight for representation and financial support nationwide. Isaac’s motivation overlaps that of the Orange County Public Schools too.
The county’s deputy superintendent, Maria Vazquez, could not further emphasize the power of this event. “The more touchpoints we have with our children in learning how to read, the more fluent they become in reading.” Vazquez also stressed what reassuring the students does for them. Getting the kids to read is only half the job. Finding value and purpose behind the work allows them to realize reading’s full power. And the Pick, Read & Roll event exactly emphasizes this concept.
The Orlando Magic Give Back to the Community
This event marks yet another occurrence in which the Magic support the Central Florida area. In addition to Q&As with Magic players, all students receive a generous assortment of gifts. All students, virtual or not, will be offered tickets to a home game. Those lucky 150 students also received a Magic t-shirt, a visit from Stuff the mascot, and even participated in fun activities such as Simon Sez.
The Pick, Read & Roll event is one of many in which the Magic reaches out to the local community. On an annual basis, more than $2 million dollars are provided through sponsorship events, donated tickets, autographed merchandise, and even grants. Children, in particular, receive a tremendous amount of outreach efforts. Orlando’s community relations program impacts an estimated 100,000 kids yearly. Therefore, the franchise and Magic players themselves constantly raise the bar for community efforts.
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