Its safe to say that Sparks guard Shannon Bobbitt is used to taking time-outs on the basketball floor. After winning two National Championships at the University of Tennessee and helping take the Sparks back to the WNBA Western Conference Finals in 2008, shes been part of her fair share of basketball time-outs.
On Thursday, September 3rd, she took another kind of Time-Out. In a partnership with Pitney Bowes and in conjunction with the WNBA, Bobbitt visited the Girls Club of Los Angeles to read the book Hey Lil D! Stuck in the Middle to 50 underprivileged children in a Reading Time-Out as part of the Pitney Bowes Fastbreak to Reading program.
The initiative, which launched in June, strives to raise awareness of the importance of literacy and encourages youth to read and track their minutes online throughout the season. The goal is for youth nationwide to collectively reach one million minutes of reading time.
Its nice to be able to give back to the community, said Belen Ramirez from Pitney Bowes. Partnering with the Sparks and the WNBA has really enabled us to accomplish that goal and get kids involved in reading at the same time.
The participants in the event were thrilled when Bobbitt walked into the room. She was met with a thunderous applause and smiles filled the room. Many of the children participating in the event were from low-income, single-parent households and have never been outside of their own community.
Its really important to me to be a role model, said Bobbitt. Just being here for this short time shows me what an impact we can have on kids, not just here in Los Angeles but across the country. Its great that Pitney Bowes is showing such an awesome commitment to the community.
The participants ranged in age from 4-16 years old and Shannon called several kids up to the front to sit with her on the couch and also take turns reading from the book. When she finished reading the book, she gave the kids a quiz on the book and tested their Sparks knowledge. If they answered a question correctly, they received a Sparks prize.
This is a great opportunity for our kids to see a female role model, said Gloria Davis, Executive Director of GCLA. This type of event lays the foundation for them to start thinking about their futures. Im so happy to have Pitney Bowes and the Sparks here with us because our children dont usually have opportunities like this. I look forward to many more in the future.
In addition to hearing Shannon read the book, each participant received a Pitney Bowes Fastbreak to Reading t-shirt, an autograph, a gift bag and tickets to the Sparks upcoming game on Tuesday, September 8th at STAPLES Center against the San Antonio Silver Stars.
This was a great event. If Im able to make a difference in one kids life, then Ive done what Im supposed to do, said Bobbitt.