On March 26, Dallas Cowboys defensive end Edgar Jones took a break from reading his playbook to spend some time with local school children at Tisinger Elementary School in Mesquite, Texas. Jones read to a number of children participating in Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star's school-based program.
Jones selected Big Brothers Big Sisters to partner with out of a desire to help children understand the importance of literacy. Working with the local Big Brothers Big Sisters agency, Jones met with the students in their school library, sharing his story, reading with them and answering questions about his life and experience.
“There are so many distractions these days and it’s important to take these little ones under your wings and mentor them,” said Dallas Cowboy, Edgar Jones. “I want these kids to know that they are not alone and they should never be scared to talk to an adult about their problems.”
Jones told the children he had been bullied in school and shared disappointments in his life, like the painful loss of a scholarship that would have sent him to University of Southern Mississippi. Jones said he initially started pointing fingers at others, but a wise uncle told him to not blame others, but first look at yourself. Jones carries that with him every day.
The Littles at the school asked a lot of questions, from what kind of car Jones drives to whether he ever had someone die in his life. His answers inspired the children.
“Always to follow your dream,” was what fifth grader Monica took for Jones talk. “I thought he would be tough, but he’s sweet too.”
Antuan, also a student at Tisinger, said he heard, “Stay out of trouble!”
This particular school-based program with Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star, Teen Based Initiative (TBI), meets weekly. Juniors and seniors from Mesquite High School volunteer as Bigs and bring along books to read with their Littles at Tisinger Elementary.
“This was really motivational,” said Hailey, a senior at Mesquite High School and a member of the P.A.L. Team that mentors at Tisinger. “I want to inspire as well and that’s why I’m a Big Sister.”
Jones and the students spoke at length about education, reading and Jones’ life as a football player. He told the children his favorite subject in school was initially science, but because of a great teacher in high school, he now loves history.
The morning wrapped up with a challenge from Jones, “I want every one of you to read at least three books a month.”
Jones plans to read more books in the future, holding similar events at different site-based programs around the area.
"Spreading his message" - article from Mesquite News.
Mesquite Independent School District - website and Facebook.
Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star - website and Facebook.