Everyday We Lit! NFL Star Brandon Carr Pushes the Button on Literacy with "Lit Buddies"
Literacy is one of the most important aspects of education. Knowing how to read is something that we learn as early as Pre-Kindergarten. Many times in low-income communities, it's something that children and even parents struggle with. NFL star Brandon Carr has made it his mission to make his mark in the community by initiating "Lit Buddies". Lit Buddies opens the door of opportunity for children of all ages to excel and learn more about literacy in ways they never imagined. With the determination and drive of Brandon Carr and the help of the community, Lit Buddies will be a force of learning like no other. Take a look as Brandon discusses what Lit Buddies means to him.
As a public figure, its important for you to set the standard high with giving back to the community. What inspired you to create Lit Buddies?
What inspired me was my upbringing. My background and where I come from. My mother was an educator and my father was my basketball coach when I was young. Everything I’ve seen growing up, I try to portray that to build a platform today. My parents always inspired me to give back to the community in any way I could. We would donate anything we had around the house, and for that, I appreciate my parents for all the things they’ve done for me as well as the community around us. My mom always told me when I first started playing professional football that it's more than just a game. She told me people needed my voice and my platform outside the lines. Lit buddies came from a foundation that started in 2012. My mom died in 2014 from breast cancer, and her biggest thing was for me to no to football camps and sports stuff. She wanted me to do something that meant something. I started to be around kids more and I had my kids as they were becoming emerging readers. I looked across the board to see where the need was. As I go to schools and talk to various kids and teachers, I encourage and push reading and literacy because its important. This is also an opportunity for the community to get involved for and with one another.
How does it make you feel knowing that 1 in 4 children grow up not learning how to read?
It's discouraging. I grew up in a time where schools were big on the no child left behind. I would hear teachers talk around those days and I would think that education should not be a reason that a child is left behind. We can also look at adults and see that the numbers are the same across the board in literacy as well. It’s a ripple down effect. I used to get sad and angry for my community because a lot of the kids look like me. I would go to other areas and they would have everything they needed. Why are we struggling? Why is this happening only in my community? This provoked me and enforced me to try to use my platform to help the community and help the next child. I’m enthused and very passionate about what we do with Lit Buddies.
What techniques do you use to ensure that elementary students get the literacy they need to succeed?
Lit Buddies is still fairly new so we're still working out kinks. We have children of all different ages, so we provide books at every level. We work on blending, problem-solving, we have a lot of story problems in the books and workbooks to work through colors and motor skills. We also have toys and gifts for them. We have teachers on call that give us feedback daily. When they’re able to get to the Lit Boxes, it’s a subscription to books at their grade level for them to read. As we progress, we can provide more resources and maybe partner with different businesses and like-minded organizations to help us out so we can continue this process and give more.
How can teachers, parents, and educators find out more information about Lit Buddies?
They can contact us on all our social media platforms. My son and I just finished our monthly reading series where we would read for 30 minutes every Wednesday on our IG live audience. We are promoting literacy for kids all across the board. They can find us on our website www.litbuddies.com. We’ve been getting a lot of feedback as well as requests from parents, teachers, and more.
You can find Brandon and Lit Buddies on IG @litbuddiesbox