DANBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — An injury may have derailed former University of Connecticut football player Glen Mourning’s career, but helped lead him to a dream of finding more.
Now, Mourning has gone from the locker room to the classroom.
Mourning, a three-year starting quarterback at Danbury High School and a three-sport athlete, was bullied as a child for not reading. Then, a teacher named Herman Izzard took him on as a mentor.
“He showed we things in life that all connected to language and literacy,” Mourning said. “And, without pursuing the academic piece, none of the other opportunities would have presented themselves.”
He volunteered at an East Hartford Middle School while playing for UConn. Mourning became hooked and has since moved on to become a teacher — first in Connecticut, and now in Washington, D.C.
His book series, The Crunchy Life, showcases diversity to motivate students to read.
“Crunchy Life was born from the imagination of, oh, OK, if kids don’t want to read about Jack and Annie and a magic tree house because they don’t have any trees in their neighborhood, then how can I then create my own stories where they see themselves?” Mourning said.
There are seven books in the series, and Mourning has written additional standalone books. He’s currently traveling around the country to motivate students to read. Last week, he was in New Haven to talk about the price of success.
“Where you have to be persistent, have responsibility, integrity, commitment and enthusiasm,” Mourning said. “So I kinda package that all together.”
The Crunchy Life refers to pushing through when life gets crunchy and hard to chew, keep going.
His wife, Nicole Mourning, created the nonprofit Generation 4Ward, which brings positive change to families in need. While the nonprofit hasn’t sent children to college yet because it is new, it is working toward that goal.