The game day experience through Coaching for Literacy’s Assistant Coach Program was fantastic for Shelby and me and greatly exceeded our expectations. We were within a few feet of the action and could feel the emotion as the momentum swung from the Rebels to the Tigers, and back to the Rebels. The speed of the game was so much faster than what I am accustomed to seeing from our regular seats. The sound of the players running down the sidelines was like the sound at a horse track. We were thoroughly entertained from the warm-ups to the final play. We felt like we were members of the band when they marched off the field and we had to back up all the way to the wall to get out of their way. My ears are still ringing from the trumpet that was a foot away!
Shelby and I are very grateful to Diane for giving us this gift, not only for the game day experience that we will never forget, but also because the money she donated directly supports programs dedicated to ending illiteracy in Memphis and Oxford through Memphis Teacher Residency’s MTR Reads, Streets Ministries’ Ready Readers and Leap Frog. Illiteracy is an issue of great importance in our family. Diane has been active as a volunteer and substitute teacher at St. Mary’s Episcopal School for 17 years and has been on the Board of Directors for Shelby County Books for Birth for five years. Shelby has volunteered at Leap Frog in Oxford for three years while pursuing a degree in Elementary Education and has worked at St. Mary’s Episcopal School’s summer Pursuit Program the past three years. I was on the Administrative Board of Christ United Methodist Church and joined others in urging the church to start Cornerstone Preparatory School in Binghampton. Our family has also supported the teachers and children at Lester Elementary and East High School in various ways.
As a pharmaceutical scientist with three degrees from Ole Miss, I know the power of knowledge, and rely on my ability to read almost every minute of the working day. Prior to joining the faculty at Ole Miss in 1999 I was in a management position with a company in Memphis. It broke my heart when I learned that there was a major delay in implementing a new computerized logistic system because a high percentage of the forklift operators could not read. Illiteracy in our local community was unacceptable then and is unacceptable now. Coaching for Literacy is making a difference and deserves to be supported. The Assistant Coach Program allowed our family to not only have a blast on the field, but also to support an outstanding program that is helping to eradicate illiteracy – what a “Win the Day” combination.
Walt Chambliss is a supporter of Coaching for Literacy, a graduate of The University of Mississippi, and a current resident of Memphis, Tennessee; the article is on behalf of his family: Diane and Shelby Chambliss
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