It was an intimate setting, and a time for Brandon Carr to chat with a handful of Dallas ISD students from Frank Guzick Elementary and Skyline High schools about reading.
Little hands immediately went in the air in hopes that Carr would see. He obliges one.
“Did y’all lose last night?” said a second-grader.
It appeared the hardest question Carr would face in front of a dozen students was out of the way. But much like his poise on the field during adverse situations, Carr took it in stride. He weighed in, before getting to the real task at hand.
“Yeah, we did. It was a tough one, and it happens, but we’re still 11-2,” Carr said with a grin.
That was how the Dallas Cowboys cornerback opened his discussion on literacy, as he launched a reading initiative from his foundation, Carr Cares, to a group of students. The Volunteer Book Buddies program will pair Skyline High School students with first- or second-graders from Guzick. While spending time with the group, Carr introduced each reading buddy with their younger peer mentees.
As his conversations moved away from the recent Cowboys loss, he shared stories on why his passion for reading remains close to his heart. Carr is the son of an educator who taught second-graders. He said his mom made sure a premium was placed on reading in order to receive an education.
“Reading is the key to unlocking your success, and is a tool for you to have beyond school,” Carr said.
Another hand emerged from the small group. He still obliged.
“What’s your favorite book?” the student asked.
This time Carr was not as swift in his response. He was more calculating and lifted his hand toward his head to think about his choice. But one came to mind, and he quickly sat up.
“I Love You More,” he gently replied.
What many students didn’t hear was that, a few years ago, Carr’s mom, who taught for 33 years, passed away following a battle with breast cancer. “I Love You More” is centered on the relationship between a mother and son.
The book shares the story of love given and received by a mother. Eventually, the child who grows into adulthood becomes the giver of the love as the mother ages and takes care of her. It’s a notion Carr was able to provide to his own mother before her passing.
The Carr Cares Foundation works closely with a number of Dallas ISD schools to show students that reading is a fun activity everyone can enjoy. Carr also visited with students from Mark Twain Elementary School, as his foundation began work with the campus for the second year in a row.
Tutoring sessions will last through May, and Carr will periodically check-in with campuses to personally tutor, motivate and mentor students.