Wear Green at Game For Literacy

October 22, 2014

Campus News

During the Owls’ football game against the Craigmont Chiefs on October 24, the focus will be not only on victory on the playing field but also victory over illiteracy. Fans are invited to wear green at the game along with the players – who will sport green socks – in support of Coaching for Literacy, an organization started by 2013 alumni Jonathan Wilfong and Andrew Renshaw. Two years ago a challenge from English instructor Mr. Spencer Reese ’94 to make a difference in their community sparked Wilfong and Renshaw to launch the nonprofit organization.

Ryan Viner, executive director of Coaching for Literacy, said in the last four months the organization has raised $170,000 for literacy programs. Wearing green at games is an effort designed to increase awareness of illiteracy.

“Our hope is that in the next five years people see the green color of CFL all over the sporting world and that they immediately associate it with the prolific illiteracy problem in our society,” Viner said. “We believe that once people are aware of the issue, they can be a part of the solution.”

According to the CFL website, Coaching for Literacy leverages the power of sports to raise money to support effective local literacy programs and schools focused on educating elementary and middle school students. One way CFL raises funds is through its Assistant Coach Program, conducted in association with professional and collegiate sports teams. In exchange for a donation, participants typically gain access to the home team locker room before the game, seats directly behind the home team bench, and post-game press conference passes.

At the MUS game this Friday night, a number of father-and-son teams from Presbyterian Day School will experience the excitement and passion of Owl football from the sidelines and the locker room. Students from the MUS chapter of Coaching for Literacy will have a table near the spirit-wear booth where they will have green items –such as shirts, hats, and bracelets – available in exchange for donations. The proceeds from the event will be directed to literacy programs of CFL’s Memphis partners: Memphis Teacher Residency and Streets Ministries.

In the past two years CFL has sponsored 17 NCAA basketball games as well as the Memphis-Ole Miss football game on September 27, Viner said. Literacy programs local to the partnering school as well as in Memphis are the beneficiaries of game-day proceeds. Friday night’s MUS event – the first at a high school – is focused on raising awareness.

A number of current and former MUS students are involved in Coaching for Literacy efforts through local chapters. The following students are members of the CFL chapter at MUS: seniors Bennett Wilfong, Alex Carruthers, and Griffin Wilson, and juniors Mac McArtor and Patrick Murphy.

Along with Wilfong and Renshaw, the following alumni are involved at their universities: Garrott Graham ’12, and from the Class of 2013, Derrick Baber, Matt Bolton, James Burnett, and Hurston Reed.

Read more about the founders and the MUS connection HERE. Watch a video about CFL HERE.





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