A year ago around this time, our students and teachers received a superstar-level experience: a visit from Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes. Here’s a reflection on his time with our students!

Heartland Coca-Cola and the Kansas City Chiefs worked together to bring the Chiefs starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes to United Inner City Services (UICS)/St. Mark Center. Patrick read books with our students, as a part of our effort to ensure all of our students graduate from Pre-K ready for kindergarten.  The 2019 NFL MVP started his tour of St. Mark Center by visiting many of our Pre-K, infant, and toddler classrooms to positively interact with the children.

It soon became time for the main event:  reading Chocolate Milk Por Favor with the Green Room’s pre-K students. This book is about children of different cultures and backgrounds becoming friends and bonding over the things they have in common.  The kids were overjoyed to have a famous athlete read to them, and Patrick was very happy to help combat the 30-million-word gap. This is common to underserved populations and a major detriment to many students’ ability to succeed, if they are not exposed to as many words as possible before the age of five.  Not only was he able to help improve literacy through his reading, but because of the book’s subject matter, he advocated a message of cultural acceptance and cooperation to children who are part of a very diverse population of students in Kansas City.

Patrick and the Heartland Coca Cola team continued their visit by working on an art project with the Green Room’s students as well! “The Arts @ St. Mark” program is based around self-expression and child-led creation of artistic work.  Patrick was able to not only observe, but participate in the Green Room’s art project, in which they took pictures of themselves and decorated drawings of their favorite things, activities, and future dreams. The day was topped off by sharing chocolate milk, just as the children did in the aforementioned book.

After such an interactive morning of reading, learning, fun, and sharing, the Green Room students wanted to personally thank Patrick Mahomes. Using their handprints, they painted him a “thank you” on canvas, with a picture of their class and Patrick together in the center.  It was a fun day for St. Mark Center and our students, and we think Patrick had just as much fun as we did!