Jeffs Reach Out at Athletes Love to Read

Contact: Matthew Hart


Photos by Adam Banks

EASTHAMPTON, Mass. – With the spring semester kicking into full gear, 14 Amherst College student-athletes took time out of their busy schedules last week to read and visit with children at Maple Street Elementary School in Easthampton.

As part of the Athletes Love to Read initiative, representatives from Amherst’s baseball, field hockey, football and volleyball teams joined with student-athletes from Smith and Mount Holyoke Colleges as well as the University of Massachusetts, The Williston School of Northampton and Easthampton High School to provide an evening of excitement for the young students.

“It’s a great way to make an impression, to be role models,” said Assistant Athletics Director Billy McBride, who organized the event along with assistant football coach Adam Banks. “When you have impressionable young minds at the elementary level, you become bigger than life with them. Once you sit down and read to them they feel like you’re a big brother or sister, and some of them don’t have a big brother or sister. “

The Amherst contingent included baseball’s Bob Cook ’13 and Cameron Windham ’14 as well as field hockey’s Katie McMahon ’13, Katie Paolano ’16 and Camille Youngblood ’15. Jimmy Fairfield-Sonn ’16 and Jaymie Spears ’16 represented Amherst football while the volleyball team sent a strong contingent consisting of Lizzie Ahern ’16, Lauren Antion ’15, Nicole Carter ’16, Kristin Keeno ’13, Kellyn LaCour-Conant ’15, Katie Warshaw ’16 and Emily Waterhouse ’13.

The 14 Lord Jeffs not only read children’s books to the Maple Street students, but signed autographs as well, and in the process forged new friendships among their own ranks.

“What the kids don’t know is that it also brought our student-athletes together,” said McBride. “Sometimes when you’re so focused on your team, you get in a silo, but because they got out of the silo to help someone else, they helped themselves too.”