LB Shelton Quarles visited the learning center in order to promote reading
The new St. John Presbyterian Learning Center is almost always bustling with visitors. On Thursday, one special guest had the place even more active than usual.
To celebrate its opening, Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Shelton Quarles visited the learning center and delighted the children on hand with a reading from a popular children's book.
The St. John Presbyterian Learning Center, a non-denominational daycare facility, just moved into a new building back in December. With about 50 kids there every day, the center is constantly alive with the energy of its young patrons.
On Thursday, the children's excitement reached an all-time high as Quarles swung by to spend some time reading and playing with the kids. Quarles quickly nestled into a big, comfy armchair as the children anxiously crowded around his feet, waiting to hear a story.
"Do any of you have pets?" Quarles asked as he opened up a copy of Because of Winn-Dixie.
After the children finished shouting out the names of their pets, Quarles dived into first chapter of the book. Because of Winn-Dixie is the story of a young girl who befriends a dog she meets in her local Winn-Dixie supermarket. She and the dog are both new to the town, and together they make new friends and have formative adventures. The story has been adapted into a major motion picture that was set to open on Friday in theaters nationwide.
Quarles' visit was part of a program to promote literacy to the children who visit the center, and Winn-Dixie Supermarkets will donate copies of the book to the center and to several other libraries in the Tampa community.
Quarles also spent time throwing football with the kids on the center's playground, and he even signed autographs for his young fans.
"I'm just glad I was able to come out here and be a part of this event today," said Quarles. "I am always happy to get the chance to show kids how important reading is to their education and their future."