Read and “take advantage of free marketing”

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Malcolm Mitchell has gone from capturing passes and Super Bowl victory with Tom Brady to being a full-time author and CEO of his own Youth Literacy Foundation.

Drafted by the New England Patriots in 2016, the former wideout was founded and now promotes “My Very Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World”. It is the story of a student who struggles to read, but learns to overcome this fear to help him achieve his goals in life.

“It’s kind of my personal story wrapped in there,” Mitchell told Yahoo Finance Live in a recent interview, which described literacy as a life changing factor.

As a child, the native of Valdosta, Georgia struggled to read himself, “but thanks to a little perseverance, motivation and encouragement from friends [and] family, I started to use books as a way of expressing myself, so much so that I became an author of picture books, ”he explained.

Mitchell developed an interest in books and reading during his career at the University of Georgia, where he played college football. In his final year, the literacy advocate decided to write his first children’s book, “The Magician’s Hat”.

However, at that time, there were strict NCAA rules that prohibited college athletes from entering into trade deals, so he had to do all the homework to get his book published. Currently, the NCAA has approved a new policy that allows college athletes to be paid for their name, image, and likeness.

Reacting to the new changes, Mitchell said he “probably would have done more than one” lucrative contract when he was a varsity athlete. He encouraged others to take similar steps.

“I just encourage guys to create, to come up with their own content. If it’s books, if it’s T-shirts, if it’s software, just put it out there and see what happens, ”he said.

“Take advantage of this free marketing because every Saturday you play they say your name,” Mitchell added.

“Reading made me a better athlete”

February 5, 2017; Houston, Texas, United States; New England Patriots wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell (19) kicks the ball against Atlanta Falcons cornerback Robert Alford (23) during the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

During his rookie year, Mitchell won Super Bowl LI in a historic and thrilling overtime victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Yet he considers the discovery of a love of reading one of his greatest achievements.

“For me growing up there was this mismatch between what I thought reading was for and what it actually does to a person or human being,” Mitchell told Yahoo Finance. And as a young student, he never really saw the point of reading well.

“I thought you should read [just] pass the class, ”he explained. But that attitude changed when he began to associate reading with personal growth.

“The truth is, reading improves all aspects of life, including being an athlete. Reading made me a better athlete, ”he said.

The Super Bowl champion believes that “reading is the key to growing as a person, being open-minded, learning new things, being exposed to new concepts, all of those things that are necessary to keep things going. ‘moving forward”.

One of Mitchell’s other initiatives is to reduce the digital divide between low-income students and their counterparts.

The problem took on greater significance last year, as lockdowns from COVID-19 disrupted more than a year of schooling, slowing the math and reading progress of millions of American students. Black and Latino children have been hit the hardest.

Fortunately, the students are back in class this school year. New resources from the federal government and Cox Communications are making it easier for children to access the Internet speed they need when they get home from school.

Mitchell has partnered with Cox to close the gap in various low-income neighborhoods through their Connect2Complete program, which provides internet access to eligible K-12 students and families at low cost.

“Technology is no longer an add-on, it’s almost a necessity for kids to be productive in school,” Mitchell explained, adding that his family would have needed similar support when he was growing up.

According to one.

While families, students and teachers are happy to be back in the classroom, Mitchell explained that the pandemic has also changed the way students learn.

“It’s neither good nor bad. It’s just different, ”he said.

“How can we, the caregivers, find the most effective way to teach, communicate and help them acquire the knowledge they need to be successful in this society,” he added.

Dani Romero is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @daniromerotv

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