On a day that showcased grim football news via Aaron Hernandez and is also Tax Day (aka, most stressful day of the year), Broncos' David Bruton, Jr. is providing some really, really good news.
The safety and special teams ace just launched The David Bruton Foundation and its charitable program Bruton's Books, which aims to help low-income kids in kindergarten to third grade become strong readers through tutoring and access to books in school libraries and classrooms.
"My background in substitute teaching gave me a better awareness of the need for better reading skills support in our schools," said Bruton, who taught everything from first-grade geography to senior-level calculous. "We need to take this seriously and ensure that our children are able to read at grade level."
Bruton, who has a nine-year-old son that he competes with every year on how many books they can read, said his passion for reading and for kids was the motivation for this kind of foundation.
"It is very advantageous for kids to be able to read proficiently," Bruton said, adding that literacy is directly tied to graduation rates. "I feel like every kid should have that advantage. It's a world full of TV and media and no one sits down to read anymore, but I feel like reading just opens up a whole new world."
The Foundation will focus on schools across the Denver Metro area in lower income communities where students are struggling to read proficiently.
Bruton's Books will partner with the Colorado Reading Corps and School Partners, both strategic programs of Mile High United Way's School Readiness Initiative.
Colorado Reading Corps helps provide trained AmeriCorps tutors in the classroom to help these kids one-on-one while School Partners pairs local businesses with a second- or third-grade class where teams meet with students once a week to help build their literacy skills.
In addition to regular visits to encourage the students, Bruton's Books will grant funds and organize book donations to designated grades, students and classrooms in selected Denver Public Schools.
My favorite cycling #Broncos safety @D_Brut30 launched @BrutonsBooks to help kids read. Cool! http://t.co/G1vQPXu6N2 pic.twitter.com/GtMJTS9yP4— L.Lattimore-Volkmann (@docllv) April 15, 2015
The initial program will provide funding for students to choose books to take home for the summer, preventing the summer "brain drain" that tends to hit lower-income kids harder because of less attention and influence toward reading.
"Getting books into the hands of children is an important part of helping them develop a love of reading and making sure that they are reading at grade level by the end of third grade," says Christine Benero, president and CEO of Mile High United Way, adding that they are thrilled to partner with Bruton.
"[He] is an amazing example of how Broncos players are committed to helping the community and serve as role models for young people."