Top Ladies of Distinction invite former pro basketball players to encourage reading
BY JURRY TAALIB-DEEN
Journal Staff Writer
As soon as a group of six to 10 boys entered Blendz Barber Shop, 5835 Dorr, on Feb. 25, they noticed a table filled with all types of books.
But the one that seemingly put them into a temporary frenzy, with each staking claim to it, was the book that featured Steve, Austin 3:16, the former WWE superstar, on the cover.
According to Barbara Tucker, co-chairperson of the community partnership committee for Top Ladies of Distinction, the reaction of strongly desiring a book from those boys was what they wanted.
For eight years, the Top Ladies of Distinction, Blendz Barber Shop and Friends of Toledo-Lucas County Public Library held “Boys Booked on Barber Shops.”
The purpose of the event is to encourage boys to read, Tucker said. To further that encouragement, they added a sports theme to the event with former professional basketball players Dennis Hopson, Todd Mitchell and Dennis Springs, all Toledo natives, attended to help with that encouragement.
Denise Black-Poon, literary chair for Top Ladies, said they were giving away over 200 books to boy’s kindergarten through eighth-grade.
Kyle McGee, owner of Blendz, has volunteered his shop since the inception of the literary event.
“I’m willing to do anything to help the youth,” he said.
Hopson, who prepped at Bowsher High School, pointed out to the boys that he wouldn’t have been successful in his pro career if he didn’t know how to read.
“If you can’t read, you don’t understand the contract you’re signing,” he said.
Springs, who played professionally overseas and graduated from Scott High School, said “It’s so important to be able to start guiding boys at a young age.”
John Poon, 9, carefully looked at the books trying to figure out which ones he wanted.
“Reading is fun,” he said. “Pokémon books are my favorite.”
Jordan Brown, 8, said he also enjoyed Pokémon books. But the one book he said he really wanted was, “Steve Austin.”
In addition to the free books, the boys received medals and certificates to encourage them to read.