Georgia Tech Fans Help Give the Power of Literacy to Local Students

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and International Paper have teamed up with Coaching for Literacy (CFL) to create brighter futures for children in Georgia through the power of literacy. This week they did just that when CFL and International Paper presented the Get Georgia Reading Campaign with a $9,000 check for funds raised through CFL’s Fight for Literacy Games, which bring coaches, players, and fans together in a common cause: ensuring that America’s children can read.

Get Georgia Reading Campaign Director Arianne Weldon and Project Manager Akia Lewis accepted the check during the Georgia Tech men’s basketball team’s contest against the Boston College Eagles at the McCamish Pavilion on March 3.

One hundred percent of all funds raised will remain in Atlanta and enable positive impact for local children through the Get Georgia Reading Campaign, which will support the expansion of the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® program at Emmaus House.

“The Freedom School model is unique—from its focus on intergenerational development, to its roots in the Civil Rights movement, to its focus on providing a transformative experience that has a lasting impact on students, communities, and the country,” said Lewis. “We’re proud of the work at Emmaus House and grateful to International Paper and CFL for providing the opportunity to support and highlight this important work.”

K – 5 students participate in this six-week program, which promotes physical and mental wellness, civic engagement, parent involvement, and intergenerational mentorship. Around 85 percent of evaluated students maintained or gained in their instructional reading level.

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), only 35 percent of fourth graders in Georgia are reading proficiently. Beyond that:

  • 65 percent of American fourth graders are not reading at grade level (NAEP);
  • 85 percent of juveniles in the court system cannot read (National Assessment of Adult Literacy, U.S. Department of Education); and
  • illiteracy costs the United States at least $225 billion annually in non-productivity among the workforce, crime, and loss of tax revenue (National Council for Adult Learning, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor).

International Paper and Georgia Tech invited Yellow Jacket fans to help improve this statistic by getting involved in the local Fight for Literacy. Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball fans pledged donations for each assist the Yellow Jackets recorded over a four-game stretch from Feb. 20 – March 3. To promote the importance of reading at grade-level by the end of third grade, International Paper also donated $3 for each use of the hashtag #IP4Literacy.

To raise awareness about the issues connected to illiteracy, the Georgia Tech coaching staff wore Coaching for Literacy’s Green for Literacy green tie provided by Peter Millar, a green lapel pin, and wristband.

“International Paper’s sponsorship of the Fight for Literacy Games initiative provides hope that we can change the statistic and create brighter futures for children through the power of literacy,” said Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball Head Coach Josh Pastner.

Want to help kids struggling to read? Sign up to volunteer today.

About Coaching for Literacy
Thanks to the support of its partners, Coaching for Literacy has conducted 103 Fight for Literacy Games funding over 75 literacy projects across more than 20 communities in 16 states and directly impacting over 10,000 children. The mission of Coaching for Literacy is to use the power of sports to raise awareness about the problem of illiteracy and generate financial support for literacy programs nationwide. To learn more about how you can make a difference for literacy efforts in your community, visit

About International Paper
International Paper (NYSE: IP) is a leading global producer of renewable fiber-based packaging, pulp and paper products with manufacturing operations in North America, Latin America, Europe, North Africa, Russia and India. International Paper produces corrugated packaging products that protect and promote goods, and enable worldwide commerce; pulp for diapers, tissue and other personal hygiene products that promote health and wellness; and papers that facilitate education and communication. International Paper is headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., and employs approximately 52,000 colleagues located in more than 24 countries. For more information about International Paper, their products, and global citizenship efforts, please visit

Chandler Ferguson
Coaching for Literacy

Krystin Dean
Georgia Family Connection Partnership Communications Consultant