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Jim Tressel raises money to help end illiteracy in Ohio

The former Ohio State football coach and current Youngstown State president received the 2021 Legacy of Literacy Award from the 2nd & 7 Foundation on Monday.

HARTVILLE, Ohio — In Northeast Ohio, the fight against illiteracy continues.

According to The Literacy Cooperative, during the 2018-2019 school year, 61% of kindergarten students at Cleveland Metropolitan School district were not on track with their reading skills. That is compared to 39% of kindergarteners who attended inner-ring suburb schools.

In 2020, 21% of adults in Cuyahoga County were considered at-risk literacy level, higher than the state's 18%.

On Monday, Congress Lake Club, located in Hartville, Ohio, hosted “Pay it Foreward,” a golf outing put on by the 2nd & 7 foundation – which helps promote reading by providing free books and positive role models to kids in need while encouraging young athletes of the community to pay it forward.

WKYC Studios’ Jay Crawford met up with organizers of the event, including Youngstown State University President and former Ohio State University football coach Jim Tressel, who received the 2021 Legacy of Literacy Award.

A golf clinic was also on site, hosted by Ben Curtis, former PGA Tour golfer and 2003 Open Champion.

Regional program director of Northeast Ohio for 2nd & 7’s, Jamie Bezbatchenko, says she’s grateful to have support from the area for the first outing she coordinated.

“Thank you to everyone who came together to make this event possible,” said Bezbatchenko. “We are looking forward to getting to know these businesses so we can serve the community together in the future.”

Bezbatchenko added the foundation is looking forward to growing and making connections across the region to help accomplish their mission of fighting illiteracy and distributing books to second graders.

For more information about the outing and to support 2nd & 7, visit: www.secondandseven.com/golf-spring/

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