Chiefs Encourage Young Readers

The Chiefs, Hy-Vee and Proctor & Gamble’s RED Zone Reading Challenge


This week has been focused on announcements, news, and the excitement of the future at One Arrowhead Drive. However, on Wednesday the Chiefs Community Caring Team ventured from the stadium to visit the winning school of the RED Zone Reading Challenge.

Kindergarten through sixth grade students in the Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) were given points for each hour they spent reading as well as regular classroom attendance. Twenty-five KCPS elementary schools participated in the program collectively logging almost 3,000 hours of reading during the six weeks of the challenge.

"The RED Zone Reading Challenge was an exciting way for the Kansas City Chiefs, Hy-Vee and Procter & Gamble to reinforce the importance of reading to our youth," Chuck Castellano, Chiefs Community Relations Manager explained. "It speaks volumes that participating Kansas City Public School students collectively read almost 3,000 hours during this six-week initiative."

The school that achieved the most points through the RED Zone Reading Challenge was Longfellow Elementary, specifically Yvette Robinson's fourth grade class.

"The RED Zone Reading Challenge was a great encouragement for the students," Robinson noted. "It really reinforced that they should continue to read, and to read even if they don't typically like to read. In fact, this program really motivated them to develop a passion for reading."

Thanks to their efforts, Longfellow Elementary is receiving a new SMARTboard and projector as well as $500 in school supplies. To celebrate their success, the Chiefs Community Caring Team visited Longfellow Elementary on Wednesday along with Chiefs Ambassador Kevin Lockett. From 1997-2000, Lockett wore the Red and Gold as a wide receiver for the Chiefs. Proud of his former team, he values giving back to the community that supported him for four years.

"Any time I have the opportunity to come out and talk to young people about how important reading is, I try and take advantage of that," Lockett commented. "Reading has always been very important to me. Even though someone may be an athlete, reading is very critical. No matter what they want to do when they grow up, reading is very important to everyone."

Lockett spoke to the student body about the importance of reading and left them with another challenge.

"My challenge to them, even though the RED Zone Reading Challenge is over, was to continue to read the way they were during the program," Lockett noted.

The Chiefs Community Caring Team congratulated the winning classroom with a special Chiefs gift presentation.

"The special reward incentives we gave the students from the winning class were team autographed footballs," Castellano explained. "Kevin Lockett recognized the students from the winning class on stage one at a time, where he presented them each with their autographed footballs."

The students at Longfellow Elementary were thrilled when they received their special reward and Robinson noted that it will motivate the students to continue reading and attending class.

"For the Kansas City Chiefs to come here and recognize our children is just fantastic," Robinson said. "Receiving the team autographed footballs will certainly make an immense impact and encourage them to continue reading regularly."

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