Courtesy of Amherst Sports Information
AMHERST, Mass. - In honor of Black History Month, assistant athletics director/diversity & inclusion, Billy McBride, and Amherst College assistant football coach, Adam Banks, as well as nine student-athletes, participated in several community service events in recent weeks.
Earlier in the month, McBride, Banks and seven student-athletes participated in the annual ‘Athletes Love to Read’ program. As part of the initiative, representatives from Amherst’s men’s cross country and football teams joined with student-athletes from neighboring schools Mount Holyoke, Smith, the University of Massachusetts and the Williston Northampton School, to provide an evening of excitement for young students at the Maple Elementary School in Easthampton, Mass.
The Jeffs’ contingent included men’s cross country All-American harrier Mohamed Hussein, as well as football’s Jaymie Spears, Myles Gaines and Derek Ward.
In addition to the ‘Athletes Love to Read’ initiative, two more student-athletes, including McBride and Banks, participated in the ‘2nd Annual African American Read-In in Honor of Black History Month’ at the Wildwood Elementary School in Amherst. Representing the Jeffs were Camille Youngblood from the field hockey team, and Jayde Dawson of the men’s basketball program. The four African American Amherst representatives read books and poems by black authors to a classroom full of students, before opening up a question and answer session.
Most recently, McBride and Banks served as guest speakers at the Fairview Veteran Memorial Middle School in Chicopee, Mass. In honor of celebrating Black History Month, McBride and Banks spoke to sixth, seventh and eighth graders. Among the non-students in attendance during the event were the Mayor of Chicopee and Amherst College alum Richard J. Kos ’75, as well as Superintendent of Chicopee Public Schools Richard W. Rege, Jr., and Chicopee Chief of Police William Jeb.
McBride, an active member within the community, preaches the importance of accepting others and saw an opportunity for members of Amherst College to make a difference in shaping young minds. “Shared voices and commitment often times can change the perception you may have of someone you don’t know,” he said.