“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead.” – Robert K. Greenleaf, from The Servant as Leader.
The 2010 Bookin’ with the Bulldogs reading program was designed to give Butler Athletic Department staff members and student-athletes a chance to develop their leadership skills while giving back to their community. During the 2010 spring semester several reading teams visited local elementary schools to read to students and answer questions about a variety of topics. Each reading team featured a Butler Athletic Department staff member and a student-athlete who had not met before. This exercise in teamwork helped to build community within the athletic department while allowing participants to experience a new type of servant leadership.
The project was a big success. The students loved having visitors from Butler read in their classrooms and the staff members and student athletes always returned with wonderful stories to share about their visits. Below are some quotes from teachers, elementary school students, Butler Athletic Department staff members, and Butler student-athletes about their experiences with this program.
Thanks to everyone who participated in this program and made it a success. It is our hope that as an athletic department we can do our part to inspire the next generation through reading.
Matt Harris – ‘02
Butler University Athletics
Manager of Fan Development
TESTIMONIALS FROM BUTLER ATHLETICS
"I had the opportunity to read to a kindergarten class and they also had the opportunity to read to me. It truly was the highlight of my week. It seemed like reading to and being read to by the class instantly created a bond with the children and myself. In fact, I found myself a bit sad when it was time to leave. I had a wonderful experience."
Tari St. John - Butler Head Women's Soccer Coach
“For this project, I went with a reading partner to Mrs. Sutton’s first grade class at Brentwood Elementary School in Plainfield, Ind. Once all of the kids were present and accounted for, Mrs. Sutton introduced us to her class. Before we started reading though, one little girl began to tell us about how many teeth she had lost and how much money the Tooth Fairy brought her. The girl claimed the Tooth Fairy brought her “20’s” for each of the missing teeth in her bottom row. This inevitably turned into a class discussion. After our chat about the Tooth Fairy, we took our turn to read to the kids. Once we were finished, the kids asked us questions about going to college. The questions they came up with were quite entertaining. We answered them to the best of our abilities. It was my first experience reading to a class, and I would do it again. It left me feeling like I had given back to the community.”
Erica Bell – Butler Sports Marketing
“Student-athlete Billy Bork and I attended Mrs. Archey’s second grade class at St. Simon School on the Northeast side of Indianapolis on February 19. The class was co-ed with about 15 students. Billy and I read several books to the class and answered some questions from the children afterwards. We both had a good time and the kids also seemed to enjoy the experience.”
Steve Farley – Butler Baseball Head Coach
“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read to the children today. I like to do work with children as much as I can because the younger generation is the future and they need positive role models to look up to. I really enjoyed myself today while reading to the children. I think they enjoyed it, too. It makes me happy to see the children smile and laugh when I answer their questions. I remember when I was younger I used to love guest speakers, so I can imagine how they feel. They were very excited and I had a lot of fun. Please let me know when I can help again.”
Avery Jukes – Class of 2010, Butler Men’s Basketball
“I really enjoyed participating in the Bookin' with the Bulldogs program. The kids were very happy to have us there and asked a lot of questions about what we do. I think they would look forward to more Bulldogs coming to read to them and this program should continue. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to help with your project.”
Marcella Moreman – Class of 2011, Butler Women’s Golf
“I really enjoyed the chance to meet a Butler student-athlete who I most likely would not have met without your program. It was also great to see the excitement of the second grade students when we walked in to the classroom. They were so attentive while we were reading and then full of questions when we finished. It was a great experience, and I hope our staff is able to continue this program in the future.”
Julie Porep – Administrative Assistant to the Athletic Director
“I went to read with sophomore women’s basketball player Kaley May at Reagan Elementary in Brownsburg on Feb. 22. We read two books pertaining to civil rights, one about Rosa Parks and one about Harriet Tubman. The kids were very intelligent and had knowledgeable things to say about Parks, Tubman and the Underground Railroad. Also, it was nice to see May, an education major at Butler, encourage the kids and give them a small idea of what lies ahead. I feel like May and the kids both benefitted from the experience.”
Josh Rattray – Assistant Sports Information Director
“I enjoyed this experience. I had the opportunity to meet Coach Farley for the first time. I've known his wife as a professor here at Butler but have never spoken with him prior. The school itself some somewhat of an interesting building combining separate school and church facilities, not unlike most parochial schools of its kind. Upon entering the building we were escorted by the students to the classroom. They seemed fairly eager to listen to us read to them. We were probably there for about an hour reading a few books each. This was the fourth youth book reading I have done this year so I enjoyed it very much. I love that I can take some liberties with the stories and put voices to the characters and the kids seem to enjoy it as well. They were really into the stories but often interjected as well when something that I read was relevant to their own lives. “
Billy Bork – Class of 2012, Butler Football
“Thanks for organizing this reading program. I think it is very important for kids to see all types of adults reading. This sends the message that reading is fun and important. I especially like it when my boys can see other guys reading. I have many athletic-type boys, so seeing a college tennis player enjoying a Dr. Seuss book was a positive message. Even JOCKS like books!!”
Beth Dettmer – Second grade teacher, Pleasant View Elementary School
“Thank you for coming to our reading class. We loved the stories you read to us. One of our favorite pictures was the baseball with eyes. When they were flying on chairs it was really, really funny! We liked learning about your jobs, too. We think it’s neat how you sell tickets to everyone who wants to go to a Butler game. The races seem fun, too! We can’t wait for college because we can pick our own classes, and we get to sleep there! Thank you Ms. Bell and Mr. Harris.”
Sherrie Sutton’s First grade Reading Club, Brentwood Elementary School