Pacific’s presence makes an impact at Family Day literacy event

From softball players to local first-generation college students to Conservatory musicians, University of the Pacific continues to have a dynamic community presence at Family Day at the Park, Stockton’s largest annual children’s literacy-based event.

For more than 20 years Pacific has been a major sponsor for Family Day, which was held Saturday (Sept. 16) at Weber Point Events Center in downtown Stockton.

Pacific sponsors an area known as Library Lane. The university and other non-profits, schools, churches and health care providers were among 50-plus agencies with booths for children to interact and have fun–with literacy as the backdrop.

Coach Brian Kolze, who has led the Tigers’ softball program for the past 32 years, joined in the fun along with five members of his team.

“I think it’s awesome for student-athletes to give back to the community,” said Delaney Scully ’25, a first baseman. “It is an opportunity to meet and get to know people from different cultures. It also is an opportunity to share information about our softball program and other sports opportunities.”

Added Nina Davis ’25, a catcher: “Looking around you see a lot of kids and families. This is a time when we can all get to learn, know and respect one another in a very fun atmosphere.”

The outreach efforts continue a commitment from new Athletic Director Adam Tschuor to have Pacific Athletics visible in the community.

Students from the university’s Community Involvement Program continued their longstanding commitment to literacy, wearing super-hero costumes while reading to children. Dressed as Black Panther, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man and more, they shared their love of reading with children, who then were able to take a book home with them.

The CIP program has given away thousands of children’s books over the years during Family Day.

“The city of Stockton is my home. I grew up here and I believe giving back to your community must start with the younger generation. It is important for us,” said Felix Pitts ’25, an engineering major who transferred from San Joaquin Delta College. He dressed as Black Panther. “Reading to these kids, many of whom may face literacy problems, is a joy and a responsibility.”

The Conservatory of Music teamed with the Stockton Symphony Orchestra to hold an instrument petting zoo. From violins to drums and other percussion instruments to kazoos, children made music.

“This is a great collaboration between Pacific music students and the symphony,” said Peter Jaffe, conductor of the Stockton Symphony Orchestra. “We both are doing all we can to help shine a positive spotlight on music in the community.”

The School of Health Sciences was represented by the Social Work program, which hosted a booth and gave children bookmarks, stickers, key chains and fruit snacks. A dozen members of the College Corps student experiential learning program also volunteered their time to help the event run smoothly.

“For more than two decades we have been fortunate to have University of the Pacific be part of Family Day at the Park, a day that is filled with fun and festivities with a focus on literacy,” said Carrie Sass, owner of Sass Public Relations, which organizes the event. “Pacific brings so many students who are wonderful in the way they engage with the kids and families. We are very thankful to have the university involved.”