Chelsea High athletes bond with younger kids

Published 5:16 pm Friday, October 23, 2009

In a classroom at Mt Laurel Elementary School, twins Alex and Austin Dean, sophomore football players at Chelsea High School, read “The Doorbell Rang” to a class of first-graders.

When they finished, all the kids wanted to ask questions — but not about the book. They wanted to know the brothers’ favorite movies and favorite colors, among other things.

“We love kids. Just look at them. They have so many weird questions,” Alex said. “They’re hilarious. I’d love to do this again.”

Chelsea High football coach Wade Waldrop said his football players who participate have found quickly how much they enjoy giving back.

“We had kids begging to come over here,” he said. “It’s been positive for our kids because they get to come back and give something back to where they came from.”

He said the kids love seeing their favorite sports stars up close and personal.

“There’s something about being a little boy or girl and seeing an (athlete) coming over,” Waldrop said. “That’s something they look up to.”

The Oct. 23 stop at Mt Laurel is the first time this school year the Chelsea High athletes have been able to read to the kids. They will alternate monthly between visiting Mt Laurel Elementary and Chelsea Park Elementary for the rest of the school year. Participants in all Chelsea High athletic programs, as well as the band, are invited to be part of the reading program.

Holli Mock and Becky Carlee are two of the parents helping with the program. Mock works with Mt Laurel Elementary, while Carlee works with Chelsea Park Elementary.

“I have children in every Chelsea school. I have five kids. So this program means a lot to me,” Carlee said. “It’s setting the example of helping others. The kids see how cool it can be to help others.”

Mock said the program can sometimes actually benefit the high school students more than the elementary students.

“They get more out of it than they give,” she said. “In Chelsea, our schools are more spread out. We don’t have a cute little town like Columbiana. In my opinion, it brings us together as a community.”