May 16, 2007
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Students at Clinton Avenue Elementary School in Fair Haven, Conn., have had some special help with their reading skills lately. Student-athletes from the Yale football team have been visiting the school regularly as part of the Bulldog Reading Buddies program, which recently concluded its second successful year.
The Bulldog Reading Buddies Program was founded and implemented by junior fullback David Silberstein with the support of the Yale Athletic Department and Yale's Thomas W. Ford '42 Student-Athlete Community Outreach Committee. The program consists of Yale student-athletes mentoring students at local elementary schools. The pilot program, comprised of several football players, was implemented at Clinton Avenue during the 2005-2006 academic year.
This year, volunteers from the football team included Silberstein (chairperson), junior defensive lineman Stephen Schmalhofer, freshman defensive back Grant Todd, senior defensive back Matt Coombs, junior offensive lineman Louis Gresham and sophomore linebacker Bobby Abare. Heather Ceaser, a teacher at Clinton Avenue, has been the main faculty contact at the school -- students from her class were selected for the program over the past two years.
The program is designed to aid in the improvement of elementary student reading skills. Reading sessions are typically held one to two times per week during the spring semester and students are mentored for approximately one hour per reading day.