The Ravens made the most of their off-day Monday after opening the season with a win over the Bills.
Joe Flacco, Steve Smith Sr., Brandon Williams, President Dick Cass and several other members of the organization visited Abbottston Elementary for the unveiling of the first-ever Ravens Bookmobile.
The players took time reading to the students and leading them through the bookmobile so they could bring home some books of their own. Each student was able to take home two books.
"It's a lot of fun for the kids, and that's what makes it fun for me and everyone who came out here today," Flacco said. "You think of reading stories to your own kids before bedtime, and seeing them grab books and wanting to do it. That's what's cool about this, is that these kids get to bring home the books, and hopefully they can do that too."
Quarterback Joe Flacco, receiver Steve Smith Sr. and defensive tackle Brandon Williams helped launch the Ravens' rolling library by reading to kids at Abbottston Elementary.
The bookmobile is fully funded by the Ravens Foundation, and it will be owned and operated by the Maryland Book Bank. The bookmobile will deliver new and gently used books to low-income children who may not have access to those resources.
"This partnership is huge for us," said Mark Feiring, executive director of the Maryland Book Bank. "These kids deserve to have the resources they need to be on an even playing field, and the bookmobile is going to deliver it. And having the Ravens behind it makes everybody so excited and makes the kids more apt to read. It's an incredible partnership."
Players spent an hour hanging out in the bookmobile, mingling with students and teachers, taking photos and reading to kids.
Flacco, who has three young children of his own, seemed in his element as he talked with the kids. At one point, he picked up a young girl who was crying because she was scared of the team mascot, Poe. He also gave out hugs and high-fives to several other students.
"When you see little kids, you want to make them feel comfortable, and you want to make them feel confident," Flacco said. "I think confidence is a really big thing with these kids."
The bookmobile continues the Ravens' efforts to help improve literacy and education in Baltimore. In addition to the $100,000 investment the Ravens made in the bookmobile, the team also committed $25,000 to the Maryland Book Bank for upkeep and maintenance of the vehicle.
As part of the project, the organization has also released a new children's book, "Poe's Road Trip to Ravens Gameday." The book is also for sale at the Ravens' team store at M&T Bank Stadium and will be available through online retailers such as Amazon beginning Oct. 4.
Proceeds from all book sales will benefit the Ravens Foundation.
* (Those interested in scheduling a visit from the Ravens bookmobile should contact the Maryland Book Bank at email@example.com.)*