UCLA designated Sunday’s men’s basketball game against Oregon State at Pauley Pavilion as its Coaching for Literacy Awareness Game, part of a nationwide effort to use sports to raise money for local literacy programs.

The Bruins coaching staff wore green wristbands and green lapel pins in the 78-60 victory in an effort to increase awareness about the number of people in the U.S. who are not functionally or totally literate.

Coaching for Literacy gears its efforts toward helping educate elementary and middle school students, according to executive director Ryan Vinter.

Support from UCLA and other men’s basketball programs has helped Reading is Fundamental of Southern California distribute as many as 200 books for its students to take home, its executive director Carol Henault said.

Reading is Fundamental of Southern California aims to promote literacy and motivate children to read by building at-home libraries for underserved children in the greater Los Angeles area.

Coaching for Literacy has funded more than 50 literacy projects in 20 communities in 11 states, benefiting 7,610 children, Vinter said.

Other men’s basketball programs that had or will have Coaching for Literacy Awareness Games this season include Arizona, Colorado, Stanford, Alabama and Florida State.

“We know this program really helps make a difference in communities across the nation by providing valuable resources to local schools and youth programs,” Bruins coach Steve Alford said. “We’ve seen the problems associated with illiteracy first hand and it’s important for us to help provide a solution in any possible.”

–City News Service

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