Malcolm Mitchell has made a name for himself in his first year in the NFL as a talented receiver who is poised even on football's biggest stage. Off the field, he has shone as a role model for students across the country, serving as an advocate for reading, and last week, he was celebrated for this work by a coalition of nonprofits.
Malcolm and singer Andra Day were honored by America's Promise Alliance, a partnership of nonprofits across the country that is designed to provide all children a chance to excel. Malcolm and Andra were both named Promise Heroes, which honors those "who have made sustained and unheralded contributions to young people," according to the organization's website.
In 2015, Malcolm started "Read with Malcolm," an initiative to promote youth literacy and to share the magic of reading. Using his children's book, "The Magician's Hat," Malcolm spent part of his offseason traveling to schools in New England and in Georgia to talk about the importance of reading.
Malcom and his mother attended Promise Night in New York City on April 18, and while accepting his award, he touched on how reading has impacted his life for the better.
"Tonight I promise … to never stop encouraging kids to open up a book and read and give yourself the opportunity to become whoever you want to be," Malcolm said. "Without books, I wouldn't be standing here in front of you today. I'm not here because of football. I'm here because of the commitment I made to open up a book and strive for more than what was presented to me at first."
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell and his wife Alma, who serves as chair of America's Promise Alliance, presented Malcolm with the award. With his mother in the crowd, Malcolm thanked her "for giving me the mentality that it doesn't matter where you come from, it doesn't matter where you start. The only thing that matters is that every day you're going to give it your best, and that's something that I strive to do."