What do literacy and football have in common? The Sack Attack Literacy Initiative

Alexandra Wladich  //  Oct 16, 2013

What do literacy and football have in common? The Sack Attack Literacy Initiative

At Scholastic we are so fortunate to work with incredible partners who value our mission of getting books into the hands of children. Last week we caught up with LaMarr Woodley, linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers, during his second annual Sack Attack Literacy Initiative kickoff event. During the event, we asked LaMarr some questions that were on our mind:

Why did you start the LaMarr Woodley Sack Attack Literacy Initiative?

I started my Sack Attack program in 2009 to benefit three deserving organizations that mean a lot to me. The great thing about Sack Attack is my on field performance helps give back off the field. With every sack I make, I donate money to these organizations. One of those organizations is the Boys & Girls Club. I felt like one way I could give back even further, is to develop a literacy initiative for these kids that are part of my Sack Attack program so that they can read and write, and get more involved with learning outside of the classroom.

Can you tell more about the initiative?

We give 200 kids two new books through our partners Scholastic and Reading is Fundamental Pittsburgh, along with activity sheets for each book. They read each book and complete the reading response form for prizes. Also, we hold an essay contest each year, and this year the theme is anti-bullying. The winner from each age group gets to come to one of my games at the end of the season. It’s so much fun to kick off this program and literacy initiative each year with the kids. They are always so excited.

How has education played an important part in your life?

Education has played a big role in my life. It’s one of the most important things in life. Education is the foundation for every person, not only in the classroom, but in athletics too. For me, it’s been all about learning everything there is to know in the game that I play, and without a doubt helping me to get my degree.

Who was your role model growing up?

Otis Washington was one of them, an older teammate of mine in high school. Family, community members, coaches - there were a lot who helped guide me to where I am today.

What are you reading?

Right now I am currently enjoying Uncommon by Tony Dungy.

If you could give one piece of advice to children today, what would it be?

Never give up, and never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. If you put your mind to it, and put in the hard work, it will pay off.