Nearly 75 elementary school students at two Lynwood Unified schools had the experience of a lifetime when they met Los Angeles Dodgers greats, World Series champion Clayton Kershaw and Al “The Bull” Ferrara, as part of the L.A. Reads literacy program.
Over two dozen Rosa Parks Elementary School students met Ferrara – a world champion outfielder who made his MLB debut with the Dodgers in 1963 – on Sept. 12, while over 50 Abbott Elementary School students met Kershaw – a left-handed starting pitcher who made his Dodgers debut in 2008 – and his family on Sept. 22.
The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, in partnership with the Dodgers, Think Together and Lynwood Unified School District, hosted the two L.A. Reads literacy events to promote a lifelong love of reading among the community’s youth.
“We are so incredibly thankful to the Dodgers Foundation and our partners at Think Together for providing this enriching learning opportunity to our students and empowering them to build a love of reading,” Superintendent Gudiel R. Crosthwaite, Ph.D. said. “Literacy is the key to unlocking doors to personal growth and lifelong learning, and we are proud to ensure our students have every tool to continue to be successful.”
Clad in their Dodger blue baseball caps and “Read More Play More” baseball shirts, Rosa Parks Elementary students in the Think Together afterschool program lined up to sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and pose for pictures with Ferrara, who read “Muncha, muncha, muncha!” Ferrara also autographed pictures, books, hats and shirts for students, who received a copy of “A Kids Book About Equality.”
During the Sept. 22 event, Abbott students sat excitedly in the school library, pounding the floor while waiting for Kershaw and his family to make their debut. After being welcomed by thundering applause from the young students, Kershaw and his family read “Bigger Than Me” and took questions from the audience.
“Whatever you want to do, whether it’s coloring, running, playing baseball, playing with your friends, you can always impact everyone around for the better and that’s what this story’s about,” said Kershaw, who then distributed copies of the book to students as they returned to class while chanting “Dodgers, Dodgers!”
Every student left with a copy of a book and a memorable Dodgers experience as they explore a love of reading and baseball. Think Together supports Lynwood Unified students across all elementary schools and middle schools with enriched afterschool experiences and expanded learning programs thanks to partnerships like the one with the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation.