COLUMBUS, OHIO (WCMH) – The last time Ohio State hosted Notre Dame in Ohio Stadium was 1995. Three Buckeye football players — Ryan Miller, Mike Vrebal, and Luke Fickell — have that victory game and many other OSU football moments tying them together, but their bond goes beyond the field and into the classroom even post-graduation.
2nd and 7 started as a small idea, according to Miller; an idea born out of the need to participate in community outreach instilled in OSU athletes.
“When I graduated I kind of felt like, ‘Boy, I miss reading to those kids,’ cause it felt like a major impact,” said Miller. “My two teammates Mike Vrabel and Luke Fickell, they shared my passion for reading and so we thought why don’t we have a little football camp to raise some money and continue to read to those kids in the city, don’t just go there and read, go there, read and give them a book.”
Which is how the 23-year-old nonprofit was started in 1999, with 2nd graders in seven schools. Hence, the name.
However, the organization has grown far beyond what any of them could have ever imagined.
“Over 190 different Universities and high schools have their student-athletes on a weekly basis read to children in the second grade and give out a book, 2nd &7 writes their own children’s books now and we’ve given out nearly a million books throughout the course of 23 years,” said Miller.
A program that, despite its growth, is continuing to help communities right here in Columbus.
Principal for Parkmoor Elementary, Charmaine Campbell explained the program goes beyond a read-aloud experience.
“They do pre-reading, they read and then they ask them questions,” said Campbell. and “They’re not even teachers, educators, but yet they get it. It’s not just me coming to do a read-aloud, they’re adding that educational aspect to it.”
She said beyond the education and book they get to take home and show their parents the program shows students leadership and excitement.
“To have them read it helps them to develop the love for reading and it exudes leadership,” said Campbell.
Miller says the impact on athletes is equally as great.
“Sometimes you lose sight of your influence and when you go and you read to a child, I think it gives you this bigger perspective,” said Miller.
The program continues to grow even just this year, Miller said.
“2nd and 7 huddle has grown so much that we can now accept new and gently used books as part of our new book bank,” said Miller.
For ways to donate you can head to their website at secondandseven.com.