Making a PITCH for reading
NORTH LIBERTY– Local softball players teamed up for a recent community service project at the North Liberty Community Library, and it was a real hit for everyone.
The 12 girls on the North Liberty/Coralville-based Jaguar 12U softball team were excited when their coaches, Ken Bozer, Kristen Stoll and Mike Drennon, presented them with an opportunity to serve the community by reading to young children during the library’s evening story times.
“This is an incredible team of 12 very mature young ladies,” said Coach Bozer. “I thought if even half of them wanted to do it, it would be remarkable. And when we presented them with the idea, they got more and more excited as the weeks went by.”
The girls split into two groups and visited Pajama Story Time at the library on March 22 and March 29.
“I think it’s a good way to show people that you can do sports and be good in school,” said team member Katie Bozer. “Girls can enjoy school and still be jocks.”
The girls were able to choose their favorite children’s books to read to the tots who attended, snuggled together in the library’s reading corners to have some one-on-one reading time.
“We chose books we like, maybe books our parents read to us or books we loved when we were kids,” said team member Kesten Anderson. “Like, I am obsessed with Dr. Seuss.”
Player Kyra Stoll said Dr. Suess is still one of her favorite authors, too.
The team is comprised of girls from two different junior high schools and five different grade schools, but their bond becomes strong as they commit eight months of the year to their softball team, traveling the region to play various venues and spending a great deal of time together at games and practices, sharing car pools and hotel rooms.
“They become like a family,” Coach Bozer said. “We talk a lot about being a family of sisters, and how as coaches, we get 12 daughters. So just like we teach our own families, it’s good to have the opportunity for them to do things for other people.”
Anderson said doing community service is a good way for people to get out of their comfort zones; in this case, for both her teammates and the children being read to.
“This is a good way for us to have fun and for the kids to have fun,” said team member Kylie Heisdorffer.
Teammate Cailyn Morgan agreed. “We wanted to do this so they can experience how fun reading is,” Morgan said.
Also, said Kyra Stoll, it was an opportunity to set a good example for the younger children.
“I think they will look up to us,” said player Lauren Schuchard. “It’s important to be good role models for the little kids.”
“I think it’s great we are doing this,” said Anderson. “It’s just fun for both us and the kids.”