Jaguars' Malik Jackson helps sponsor reading challenge at Mayport Middle School

The after school program saw 300 books read by the 6th, 7th, and 8th grader

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – When he gets ready to play every Sunday, Jaguars defensive lineman Mailk Jackson does a lot of reading.  Whether it is his playbook, or the player he is trying to tackle, reading is a huge part of his job and his life.

That's why Jackson helped sponsor a reading challenge for the kids at Mayport Middle School this month. 

"It is awesome," said Jackson.  "I think the kids read over 300 books and one girl read 68 books in 3 weeks.  That's incredible."

6th, 7th, and 8th graders participating in the Communities in Schools after school program along with Florida Blue sponsored a reading challenge where the kids had a chance to win autographed footballs and jerseys from the Jaguars defensive lineman for reading this past month.  It is something that Jackson says inspired him to pick up a book more often.

"They read a lot of pages, it is very inspirational.  It makes me want to go pick up that book I've been meaning to read.  Seeing these kids doing what they are doing is going to accelerate the process of picking up that book I've been talking about."

Jackson has been a frequent contributor to community service since he came to Jacksonville two years ago from Denver.  Tuesdays are his only day off during his very busy week at work but he says that it is a blessing to be a blessing.

"To be able to come here and see how much these kids are reading and being able to talk to them about the importance of it is a blessing.  It's a blessing to be a blessing and to show that this is a necessary aspect of their life to cultivate.  I think we would be doing them a disservice if we didn't let them know how serious this is.  So, it's cool to hang out with them and show them that I'm real and let them know my story and let them know how it translates."