SPARTANBURG, S.C. — In the face of the challenges presented by COVID-19, Wofford College student-athletes such as Alexis Tomlin and other members of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee knew they would have to change how they connected with the community.
“Before, we’ve gone and done a lot of in-person things, just something to stay involved with the community, and with COVID-19 that’s been really difficult, says Tomlin, a senior biology and mathematics major from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. “We thought ‘what’s a way that we can show these young kids that we’re thinking about them and that we care without doing something that’s going to jeopardize our health or their health?’”
A solution came when Spartanburg elementary schools reached out and requested Wofford student-athletes record themselves reading some of their favorite children’s books.
The initiative is called Terrier Story Time, and according to Tomlin, a member of the women’s basketball team, it’s a hit with students.
“Teachers have told us that kids will have the rest of their siblings come and watch it, too,” says Tomlin. “It’s been great.”
So far, one or two student-athletes will submit a video per week, and those videos are sent to schools across Spartanburg County.
Marcus Stallings, a senior biology and Spanish major from Fort Mill, South Carolina, is a member of Wofford’s rifle team. He was one of the first students to participate. Stallings says the difficulties brought by COVID-19 fueled a desire to give back.
“I figured I have the time. Quarantine has been affecting everybody, and if I can take 15 minutes to help kids, then absolutely I’ll do it,” says Stallings. “This was something that I’d never tried before. Very seldom do I get to interact with young kids, and knowing that I helped somebody out, helped somebody learn, got them interested in reading, that’s very gratifying.”