By Karen Stokes
The excitement could be felt throughout the room. A large group of energetic elementary school students were anxiously waiting for former Green Bay Packer Donald Driver.
When the Super Bowl Champion walked through the door the cheers from the children at Victory K8 and Milwaukee Italian Immersion School rivaled the volume of fans cheering at a major sporting event.
The kids quickly settled in to listen to Driver read his childrens book “Quickie Stands Up to a Bully.”
His presentation was fun, animated and informative. Driver used different voices for each of the characters. At times you could have heard a pin drop, other times laughter filled the room. The children were fully entertained.
After the reading, there was an opportunity for the students to ask questions. A student asked him if he’s ever been bullied, “Yes I have,” Driver said. “And I made sure I told someone.”
“Quickie Stands up to a Bully,” in our world that’s what we will face from physical bullying to social bullying to regular bullying and how we can face that,” Driver said. “We have to let our kids know they have to stand up when they see bullying, they have to stand up to help, that’s exactly the same thing for adults when they see someone being bullied in the business world.”
Earlier that day Driver was at St. Augustine Preparatory Academy reading his book “Quickie Handles a loss” to the students.
“Stories of childhood, you create something that’s unique and different,” Driver said. “For me it’s all about telling kids a story that you can be anything you want in life.”
The book reading was held in partnership with Network Health and as a part of SHARP Literacy’s year long 25th Anniversary celebration.
“Today is the kickoff for Networth Health. For about two years Donald and I have been trying to come up with a way to put his children’s books in the hands of as many children as possible,” said Chief Administrator Officer, Networth Health, Penny Ransome.
“Our partnership and meeting Lynda at SHARP Literacy, we thought it would be great to partner with their schools and to get some books for summer reading.”
SHARP Literacy’s mission is to partner with educators to foster a love of learning and brighten children’s futures.
In 1994, Marlene Doerr Kreilkamp, working as a docent at the Milwaukee Art Museum, had a moment of inspiration that led to SHARP Literacy.
During the museum tours with the children she noticed how students, specifically urban students, connected to art. They learned by seeing things.
“It’s easier to learn when you see a picture of for example an aquatic system, it’s easier to understand when you see it, then you go back to the classroom and learn about it,” said Lynda Kohler, President/CEO of SHARP Literacy.
Following Driver’s retirement from the Packers he agreed to be a keynote speaker for a SHARP Literacy event.
“He was really engaged and believes in SHARP Literacy’s mission,” Kohler said.
The former Packer has written a health book, a memoir and four children’s books that deal with loss, healthy living and overcoming adversity.
“I will continue to write them as they continue to make an impact,” Driver said.
Each student will receive a copy of Drivers book read at their school, courtesy of Network Health and the Donald Driver Foundation which will provide 5000 books to students for summer reading.
Giving to SHARP Literacy by volunteering or donation will make a difference in their ability to transform childrens lives. Your gift will directly fund books, classroom presentations, educational tours, murals and more. Additional information can be found at sharpliteracy.org