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Indiana native and Colts tight end Kylen Granson’s passion for literacy goes beyond the gridiron

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Through his foundation KG’s Kids, Indianapolis Colts tight end Kylen Granson is giving six first-year teachers a library of racially diverse books for their new classrooms at a school on the Far Eastside. The origins of Granson’s philanthropic endeavors reveal a tale of love, punishment, literacy, brotherhood and death.

Widely known for setting a record of 14 touchdowns in a single season at Southern Methodist University (SMU), Granson grew up in Austin, Texas; however, he was born in DeMotte, Indiana, and his charitable efforts are centered in Indiana.

KG’s Kids, founded in 2020, adheres to a mission of “emphasize education, starting with reading, to create opportunities for all students to be successful in school.”

 “It all started with a punishment when I was in first grade,” Granson said, sharing the inspiration for KG’s Kids. “My drive to play video games was strong and this drive inevitably would get me into trouble. Testing how far I would go to play video games, my mom decided to challenge me by implementing a new rule. The new rule was a simple one: for every minute that I read a book, I could earn an equal amount of time to play video games.”

Driven by his experiences with reading, in 2020 Grandson adopted a classroom for the entire school year, donating mentorship, books and supplies. This continued as the years went on, turning into KG’s Kids.

More on Kylen Granson and KG’s Kids

Kylen Granson; KG's Kids
Indianapolis Colts tight end Kylen Granson (83) attempts to catch a pass as Dallas Cowboys safety Malik Hooker (28) defends during an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Arlington, Texas. Dallas won 54-19. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

In an age where digital mediums attract more engagement from the youth, Granson spoke to the importance of literature as compared to films.

“The Lord of the Rings trilogy (the original trilogy) and the Harry Potter movies both equally capture the magic of the story they are telling,” Granson said. Despite this, Granson believes that “most books are better than their movie adaptations.”

Initially, KG’s Kids included Texas football standout and Columbia wide receiver Jackson “Joker” Coker. Both Coker and Granson attended Westlake High School in Austin, Texas. Coker served as a partner of the organization and planned to help increase the foundation’s reach to the New York area.

Sadly, Coker died in a car accident on March 11, 2021, while on his way to train with Granson for the 2021 NFL Draft.

Since Coker’s passing, KG’s Kids has vowed to “carry on his memory today,” ensuring the organization continues to fulfill its mission and carries on the legacy Coker and Garson began.

Kylen Granson shared why it is important for KG’s Kids to continue to fulfill its goal of increasing access to books.

“While there are the research-based benefits, such as increased knowledge and vocabulary, improved memory, better analytical skills, and improved writing, the best benefit to reading, in my opinion, is the FUN that it brings,” Granson said. “Each page is a new adventure that allows you to access different worlds and places that one may never travel but within the pages.”

KG’s Kids’ next effort will grant teachers a range of racially diverse books for their classrooms at Brookview Elementary School. The school is located on the Far Eastside of Indianapolis. The foundation will reward the first-year teachers at Brookview Elementary School on Sept. 5.

Contact multi-media staff writer Noral Parham III at 317-762-7846 or via email at noralp@indyrecorder.com. Follow him on Twitter @NoralParham. For more stories by Noral, click here.

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