Friday, January 29, 2016
Vipers Promote Reading:
Vipers promote reading
by Lisa VanderVelde - Vernon Morning Star
Jan 29, 2016
Not intimidated at all, five year-old Kimani Harry picks up a book, walks over to the team of teenaged boys in their Vernon Vipers jerseys and asks them to read to her.
The Vipers were at the Vernon branch of Okanagan Regional Library to launch Score With Reading, a BCHL Communities First initiative presented by First West and affiliated credit unions.
The Snakes spent time reading and talking to the children as well as playing some ball hockey that had Satori Tam, five, grinning ear to ear.
“It is good for the fans to see the players without their helmets,” said Kevin Kraus, Vipers assistant coach.
Kraus believes that reading to younger kids is beneficial for the players as well.
“When I was a player, it was one of my favourite things to do because it took you out of your element. You weren’t at the hockey rink, you were in a classroom full of kids that you didn’t know,” said Kraus.
“It teaches our kids a good lesson, that you have to give back, especially in the community. They pay to watch our games and we have to do little things to give back to them.”
The Vipers spend time during the hockey season at each school in the district, getting to know the students as they read with them.
“Score With Reading extends that to the public library setting and demonstrates the commitment each BCHL team has to its community,” said BCHL communications director Brent Mutis.
Kim Prince, mother to Kimani, sits back with a smile on her face as she watches her daughter interact with the players.
“I think it is fantastic. She sees them on the ice and now she sees them in person. She will talk about it for awhile,” said Prince.
Score With Reading was created by Jason Kuffler, who is the divisional manager in charge of community engagement at Vancouver Island Regional Library.
“With my background in public libraries and my passion for getting kids excited about reading, partnering with the BCHL was a perfect fit because of the league’s slogan of Smart Hockey and its emphasis on developing student-athletes,” said Kuffler, “I believe there is a huge amount of value for young readers to see reading is a part of these players’ lives and how literacy skills have helped them get opportunities in post-secondary education.”
The BCHL has averaged 122 college commitments per year over the last five seasons.