Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010
By John Mullin
Im not sure what everybody does with a free Saturday in an NFL season but I really like what Rashied Davis was doing with his and where thats leading for some future Saturdays.
The Bears wideout was down in the city overseeing the real startup, the first day of programming, at Saturday Place, a special undertaking by Rashied and wife Dianna through their Rashied Davis Charities. Rashied was on hand for volunteer training and also the testing of 3rd-grade students drawn from several schools primarily on the near West Side.
Saturday Place is just that, a place where children see beyond their existing circumstances, acquire the knowledge and academic skills necessary, and understand obligations. Saturday Place will provide tutoring, to 3rd-graders now and hopefully expanding to include 4th-graders next year.
The goal, Rashied said, is helping with students who are working below grade, have them move to a level at or above grade, and give them the tools they need to be successful, including the discipline to study and do the things you have to.
The British School of Chicago has given a huge gift in the form of opening its building and equipment to Saturday Place and kids were buzzing around doing their tests, reading, trying out computers and, well, being kids on a Saturday. In their Place.
The British School has been unbelievable, Rashied said. Head Master Mike Horton was gracious enough to donate the use of the facility and thats been a tremendous help.
The next step is to review the tests and make assessments of the students levels and then to get to work. Were really excited to about it, Rashied said, and the kids are, too.
Rashieds own story defines inspirational, overcoming the horrors of losing his father at age 8 to a teenager with a gun, surviving the race riots that wracked Los Angeles in 1992 and avoiding the gang culture that ruled so much of his neighborhood. How he was shaped by family, education and athletics, as well as Dianna (vice president and executive director of their Charities) is worth a read in itself.
Theres a lot more going on. Check out the website at RashiedDavisCharities.org, which also has a venue for donations as well.