Catch The Stars Reading Corner

October 16, 2006


The Catch The Stars Foundation provided books, carpeting and furniture for a permanent reading corner, established at Christel House Academy. After a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony, Catchings shared the first reading with 10 first-grade students and Samantha Skjodt, who designed a 20-foot stairwell mural. photo by Randy Baughn
“If it is to be … it’s up to me.”

That was Tamika Catchings’ message on the morning of October 10 when she opened the Catch The Stars Reading Corner at Christel House Academy, in Indianapolis.

Catchings, the Olympic gold medalist and four-time WNBA All-Star forward for the Indiana Fever, officially opened her Reading Corner as a part of efforts by her Catch The Stars Foundation.

The Foundation was founded in December 2004 to assist disadvantaged youth in achieving their dreams. The Reading Corner is the latest activity added by the Foundation, which already includes fitness clinics, basketball camps, a mentoring program for girls, and a scholarship and high school scholar-athlete awards program through Indianapolis Public Schools.

Before a full-school assembly of nearly 400 students, boys and girls from kindergarten through the 8th grade, Catchings told of her own youth. She harkened back to her childhood where reading – and sports, of course – became her refuge from adolescent teasing due to the glasses and hearing aids she wore as a child.

“Reading is so important to me, and it is definitely a key to success,” said Catchings in an interview about her event. “We want to help provide youth with a way to grasp the excitement for reading while they are young. That way, as they grow up, reading will become an outlet for them to explore the world. This is a stepping stone for me and my Foundation. We want to continue to grow. I have always dreamed of having a center where I could help kids ‘catch their dreams one star at a time.’ Now, here is an opportunity.”

“If it is to be … it’s up to me.”


A young first-grader walks with Catchings through the Christel House Academy hallway, en route to the new reading corner. photo by Randy Baughn
Catchings delivered that saying at the beginning of the assembly, and encouraged the students to recite it with her.

“If it is to be … it’s up to me.”

After sharing her own love for reading, and introducing her motivation for the Reading Corner, Catchings announced that every student in the school would receive a free book, courtesy of her Foundation. Following the assembly, a select group of first-grade children would join her to engage in ribbon-cutting ceremonies at the Reading Corner’s second-floor location.

The Reading Corner itself occupies an area overlooking a second-floor stairwell – a stairwell that is adorned with a large banner over adjoining walls which proclaims the motto of the Catch The Stars Foundation – “Catching Dreams One Star at a Time.” The mural, approximately 20 feet tall and wide, was designed and painted by Samantha Skjodt, an 11th grade student at Park Tudor High School.

Catchings closed the day by reading with the first-graders. Together, they read a book that was fitting for the occasion – “J is for Jump Shot,” a 26-page children’s book about basketball, allowing for each letter of the alphabet. Catchings and Skjodt alternated reading pages before each of the children was invited to read pages aloud, too.

“It is the first of hopefully many reading corners in Indianapolis, and eventually throughout the U.S.,” said Catchings. “My fascination with reading and trying to provide opportunities for our youth is displayed by these efforts.”

Further information about Catchings and her Foundation can be obtained by visiting Catchin24.com.