The student-athletes have already visited Indian Orchard Elementary School, and are scheduled to visit Milton Bradley Elementary on Jan. 17, and Bowles Elementary on Jan. 22.
Under the program, members of the men's basketball team visit several classrooms in the schools, and after introductions, spend time talking about the importance of reading in their lives. The students are then read Rudy's Secret Cap, and discuss the life skills’ lessons addressed in the book.
Rudy's Secret CAP was developed by the Springfield College Center for Youth Development and Research to introduce elementary school aged children to life skills such as how to build support teams and maintain a positive outlook.
From there, the elementary schools students are encouraged to continue reading on their own. Those who read five books receive a Springfield College pencil, and those who read 10 books, are presented with a literacy team tee shirt provided by the basketball team.
Pride Literacy is based on a national award winning model co-originated by head coach Charlie Brock for the National Association of Basketball Coaches. The enhanced life skills component is based on the framework of creating a context for learning by surrounding students with mentors to help them acquire life skills.
The program also provides other types of services for the schools and students participating. Alongside the City of Springfield Office of Community Development, the schools are reimbursed up to $500 for improvements to their library collections, and students are provided the opportunity to be bused to the Springfield College men's basketball game against WPI on Feb. 9 and receive a campus tour.