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Argie’s R&R program: athletes helping the community

University of West Florida | news@uwf.edu

Some people appreciate athletes for the sport they play or the inspiration to strive toward goals. Some enjoy reviewing stats and learning all they can about their favorite player. For the students of 14 Pensacola area schools, the University of West Florida Argonauts are much more: they are mentors.

Since December 2010, the Argie’s R&R program has connected UWF student-athletes with the elementary school students who look up to them. The program allows for the Argonauts to participate in reading and recess activities at local elementary schools.

“It’s a great learning experience for both the student-athletes and the kids in the schools,” said John Corwin, marketing coordinator for athletics, who also coordinates the program. “What kid wouldn’t love to learn about reading from a college athlete? Elementary kids love it.”

“I had the opportunity to observe the students from another perspective as they participated in the activities led by the student-athletes in the program,” said Charles Crosby, PE coach at Oakcrest Elementary. “I think what’s special is that our kids really look up to the athletes and they had a blast with the fun activities last year. It’s great to be involved with such a positive program that really serves our students well.”

Participating student-athletes visit different area schools two to three times per month. The community has been quick to respond, and Corwin reported that schools are actually contacting him, vying for a chance to participate in the program.

“It gets UWF out in the community,” said Corwin. “We explain what we’re about, and we put a face to UWF Athletics.”

On Aug. 1, Corwin was told the program received a $2,000 Early Childhood Reading Grant from the Target Corporation. This is the first grant the program has received, and Corwin is excited to put it to great use.

“It is a great honor to receive an Early Childhood Reading Grant from Target,” said Corwin. “We’re going to buy pencils, workbooks and basic school supplies for the student-athletes to distribute when they visit schools.”

“As a result of the grant from Target, our student-athletes will have a greater impact on elementary students around the Pensacola community,” Corwin added.

For more information, contact John Corwin, jcorwin@uwf.edu.

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