Rochester, N.Y.-At a press conference at the Buffalo Bills Verizon Wireless Training Camp at St. John Fisher College, Mayor Robert J. Duffy will proclaim Monday, August 18, as "Literacy Day" in Rochester. The press conference is scheduled to immediately follow Coach Dick Jauron's daily media event on the field after the team practice.
Literacy Day will support, celebrate, and promote the Mayor's Literacy Initiative, which acknowledges the city's illiteracy issues and aims to make Rochester the most literate mid-sized city in the country. In addition, Literacy Day is an opportunity to showcase the positive impact of community partnerships, in this case the partnership among the City of Rochester, the Buffalo Bills, and St. John Fisher College.
To celebrate this event, the Buffalo Bills and Fisher will host 50 children from Mayor Duffy's summer literacy program at the Bills' practice from 2:15 p.m. to 4:20 p.m. on August 18. These children will have a chance to play in the interactive games of the Bills Experience, watch the practice, and have a personal autograph session with a select group of players.
The 50 children who will take part in the celebration of Literacy Day are all participants in the Family Literacy Programs of the Rochester Public Library System. These children—from either the
Arnett, Central, Lincoln, Maplewood, or Sully branch libraries—are working with AmeriCorps/VISTA interns assigned to the Mayor's Literacy Initiative.
"I want to thank the Buffalo Bills and St. John Fisher College for supporting our efforts to raise literacy levels for families throughout the community," said Mayor Duffy. "I'm excited that these kids will have the opportunity to meet their role models, have some fun and that they will come away from the experience connecting the idea of literacy and hitting the books with a bright future."
As part of the Literacy Day celebration, there will be a book collection at the August 18 training camp practice. Fans are encouraged to donate books at the collection area just outside the Bills' merchandise tent on the Fisher campus. Free library card registration will be available as well. In addition, several of the Bills players are participating in the celebration by recommending their favorite books. Flyers that list the players' book recommendations will be handed out at training camp, along with their photos and statistics.
"St. John Fisher College is pleased to support the Mayor's Literacy Initiative by hosting children from the Rochester Public Library's Family Literacy Program," said Dr. Donald Bain, President of St. John Fisher College. "Interacting with NFL players who promote literacy and being exposed to a college campus for the first time will serve to reinforce the notion that literacy can open doors for a more successful future."
Over the course of the last year, more than 100 volunteers worked to formulate a community-wide, community-supported strategic plan to address the literacy crisis in the city of Rochester. This plan, which consists of 26 age-specific initiatives, forms the basis of the Mayor's Literacy Initiative.