Men’s soccer connects with Easton community through ‘Earn Your Spots’ Book Club

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The men’s soccer team has been promoting children’s literacy through their book club at Cheston Elementary. (Photo courtesy of Benji Grossi ’23)

Caroline McParland, Sports Editor

The men’s soccer team decided to start a book club in 2020 as a way to give back to the Easton community. This “Earn Your Spots” Book Club aims to emphasize the importance of literacy among children and to be positive role models for the younger generations.

“It’s this whole goal of connecting Lafayette with the Easton communities,” junior midfielder Benji Grossi said. “I think there is a big gap between us on the Hill and everyone else, so it’s something we love to do.”

The team has established connections with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the Easton Area Public Library, the Easton Hunger Coalition and the Easton Community Center among many other partnerships in the community to maximize club outreach.

“These kids see older guys and older girls and they want to kind of model after them, so just seeing us promoting that literacy and genuinely having an interest in books is great for them,” Grossi said. “I think it kind of shapes them for a future of knowing that reading is fun and cool.”

Each season, the team plans to have an overarching theme that corresponds to the books they read with the elementary school students of Easton. During the first season of the club in the spring of 2021, the books focused on themes of equality and diversity.

In the fall of 2021, the team emphasized the theme of teamwork through their “read alouds.” This current season is the first time the team has been able to do the read-aloud in person, with season three of the club not having a specific theme.

“Getting feedback from the teachers is awesome,” Grossi said. “It really makes us happy that they’re enjoying it, and seeing smiles on their faces is awesome when we show up.”

Earn Your Spots is not the only form of community service the team has participated in this year. The team also recently participated in the Saint Baldrick’s shaving fundraiser to conquer children’s cancer. Six members of the team shaved their heads in support of the cause, and the team raised over $1000 this year. 

“We’re really passionate about giving back because we’re so fortunate going to Lafayette,” Grossi said.

Aside from their volunteer work, the team has also been competing in their spring season. The team will be playing against Lehigh at the historic Cottingham Stadium in Easton on April 22 at 7 p.m. to boost awareness for the book club.

The Earn Your Spots Book Club fundraiser game is open to the public free of charge. Attendees are welcome to bring a book to donate to the club.

“This should be a really big event, so hopefully there’s a great turnout,” Grossi said.