Throughout this time of uncertainty and confusion, it is hard to feel connected with people even with all of this technology. Being quarantined isn’t easy for anyone, but the Washburn University Athletics Department is trying to help keep the connection alive.
Bods with Books is a website created for all athletes and coaches to read books on video so they can be watched and enjoyed by kids of all ages; books like “Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?” by Dr. Seuss and “If You Give A Pig A Pancake” by Laura Numeroff.
Gene Cassell, the Assistant Athletic Director for Communications, with the help of Joy Smith, the Assistant Athletic Communications Director and Brittany Lauritsen, the Assistant Athletic Director/SWA/Compliance, thought of a way to bring viewers to the website and allow the fans to interact with the athletes even if they can’t watch them compete.
“Brittany said ‘how about we have students read it,’” said Cassell. This idea expanded to more than just athletes. “Then we'll get coaches to read it, or other staff to read it if they want to and you know go from there,” said Cassell.
Cassell explained that the coaches and athletes were happy to do whatever they can to help the kids. Everyone just wants to make it a good time for the children.
“A second grader is not going to know if they're a professional, they just see a big six foot nine kid walking in there trying to read them a book,” said Cassell.
Hunter Bentley, a junior majoring in political science, got involved with this through the women’s basketball team. Bentley said she wanted to find a way to still be involved with the kids.
“I thought Bods with Books was a unique way to stay involved in the community while we are all stuck at home,” said Bentley.
Despite the athletes' inability to spend time with the kids in person, this still provides an opportunity to stay connected.
“I hope the kids got to forget they were stuck at home for at least a few minutes while they listened to the books,” said Bentley.
Cassell explained that this is also a great opportunity for the whole family.
“It might give parents a break. Even if it's a 10 minute break or so for kids to share books from somebody else for a change,” said Cassell.
Bentley understands how much it means to kids to interact with college students.
Coaches and athletes have been sending many videos in throughout the week. Cassell predicts that he will be able to have 20 videos up on the website the first week. Bentley doesn’t want to stop Bods with Books any time in the future as well.
“I hope that Bods with Books can continue even once the pandemic is over,” said Bentley. “It is a great way to be involved in the community even without being able to be at the school or in the classroom.”
This is a direct link to the website for anyone who wants to take ten minutes out of their day to enjoy a fun book.
Edited by Hannah Alleyne, Abbie Barth