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Malcolm Mitchell reads his book to local students

University of Georgia wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell has two visions: to play in the NFL and to teach kids that in order to succeed, they have to read./ Jazmyne Hankerson

University of Georgia wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell has two visions: to play in the NFL and to teach kids that in order to succeed, they have to read.

But one of those visions almost never made it to the light of day. Mitchell wrote a children's book during his junior year at UGA. But after he wrote and read it, he trashed it on his computer and gave up on the story.

"This is how I knew it was a sign. A year later, it was still sitting in [the trash folder]. I showed it to a friend and he encouraged me to do what we're doing today," Mitchell explained.

Mitchell read his book, The Magician's Hat, to students at Jackson Heights Elementary on Friday morning. Mitchell, a Valdosta native, was joined by local lawyer Kenneth Nugent who took turns reading the book with Mitchell to the kids.

"I'm glad to be helping each one of these kids. Hopefully they'll go home, they'll sit there with their parents and read the book," said Nugent. "It'll lead to bigger books and bigger dreams."

Nugent purchased a copy of the book for every 1st grader in Dougherty and Lowndes County.

"For him (Nugent) to do that, definitely means a lot," said Mitchell. "To do something like that, you have to believe in the vision of that person. He had to believe in me and the vision I had for coming here today and interact with the kids and for him to do that that means a lot."

The book drives home the message that developing the habit of reading brings success. Mitchell said as a kid he wasn't always the best reader and didn't always know the value in reading. But once he discovered the power in reading, he made it his mission to spread the word.

"My vision is to make sure that every kid, every person understands that with a book, you open your mind to so many different opportunities and because of that you give yourself the ability to do whatever it is you want to do," said Mitchell.

Since turning his trash into treasure, Mitchell has gotten the story published and travels with his "Read Team" to different schools to not only spreading his "Read to Succeed" message, but also a lesson he said personally speaks to his life.

"Never give up," said Mitchell. "You go through life and your do your best and you wait for it to take place. Striving to be the best person you can possibly be is all you can do."

Malcolm and the Read Team stopped in Valdosta on Friday to read to students at Pinevale Elementary School.

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