Fifteen University of Mississippi students decided to change the way they were volunteering. What started off as an idea during their weekly dinners at the Residential College is now becoming a reality among these dedicated few. The students involved in the new chapter of Coaching for Literacy are not only helping raise the funds for important literacy organizations, but also giving up their time by directly volunteering.
Coaching for Literacy, a Memphis based non-profit organization, recently started an Ole Miss chapter and partnered with Ole Miss Athletics to raise funds and awareness about illiteracy in Mississippi.
Students of the university have a chance to purchase a $10 raffle ticket for a chance to be an honorary guest of the Ole Miss men’s basketball team Feb. 25. Together, the team and the winner of the raffle will help fight illiteracy and the UGA Bulldogs. The winner of the raffle can bring one friend and sit on the sidelines of the game, partake in the pregame and halftime activities, meet the team and stand alongside Ole Miss men’s basketball head coach Andy Kennedy.
The members of the Coaching for Literacy Ole Miss chapter will be selling raffle tickets online and in front of the student union on Tuesdays and Thursdays until Feb. 20.
The Ole Miss Chapter of Coaching for Literacy also invites those who purchase a raffle to come to Rooster’s Blues House on Feb. 19. Those who have purchased a raffle ticket will have free admission, and tickets will be sold at the door. Local bands Delta Springs and Dartboard Girls will be performing, and admission is 18 years old and up.
The funds raised from the raffle will directly benefit three local literacy programs. The Coaching for Literacy Ole Miss chapter has committed to supporting the Barksdale Reading Institute, Mississippi Children’s Museum and Leap Frog. The goal of this new campus organization is to raise awareness among the student population of the illiteracy problems in our state and in our nation.
Currently, the Ole Miss Chapter of Coaching for Literacy is composed of 15 men from three different fraternities. Phi Delta Theta fraternity is represented by founder and president of Coaching for Literacy Ole Miss, Matt Bolton. Bolton is a current sophomore from Memphis who is majoring in Business Finance. Conner Adkins, a member of Sigma Nu from Jackson, Tennessee, and a current sophomore English major is the vice president alongside Wade Meena. Meena is a member of Kappa Alpha from Jackson and a current sophomore management information systems business major.
“We wanted this organization to be an inter-fraternity philanthropy event,” Bolton said. “We want the awareness of this program to be maximized among different organizations.”
Coaching for Literacy Ole Miss wants to unite all students, regardless of Greek affiliation, for a meaningful purpose such as fighting illiteracy.
“We are all from different fraternities, but we want to use our connections and come together for a common goal,” Meena said.
“We are prepared to help each other out and make a difference by putting our differences aside,” Adkins said.
Members of the Coaching for Literacy Ole Miss are also involved with the local Leap Frog program, which is a volunteer-based after-school tutoring center.
Coaching for Literacy at Ole Miss is the first chapter of its kind in the state of Mississippi. With current chapters at Vanderbilt University and SMU, Coaching for Literacy hopes to expand and raise awareness of child illiteracy among college students all over the nation.
Bolton hopes that one day the lime green colors associated with Coaching for Literacy will be as recognizable as the pink for breast cancer.
“Next year, I expect the chapter to grow and the sports programs to continually support it,” Bolton said. “The athletic department has been so great and supportive of the student body.”
“Bjork is such a great leader who could get in touch with all the different departments to help out with our idea,” Meena said. “He was a big deal in making this chapter happen.”
The future for Coaching for Literacy at Ole Miss looks bright and promising. The chapter plans to partner with other athletic teams on campus and give Ole Miss students the experience of becoming an assistant coach for a day, all while raising money and awareness for a cause that matters.
For more information about how to purchase your raffle ticket, be sure to check out www.facebook.com/CFLOleMiss. The raffle ends on Feb. 20, and only students of the university are able to purchase a raffle ticket. Students interested in volunteering can also text “REBS4LITERACY” to 22828 or contact any active Coaching for Literacy chapter member.