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  • Writer's pictureMark

#AlwaysThere: Dexter & Lydia Manley

Football fans and longtime Washingtonians know him as the “Secretary of Defense” – the flashy and charismatic defensive end who helped the Washington Football Team win Super Bowl titles in 1983 and 1988.

These days, though, Dexter Manley wants you to know he's tackling something else: illiteracy.

It’s a cause that’s close to his heart. Because even as he was winning trophies and setting NFL records, Dexter – who was diagnosed with a learning disorder in elementary school – was still reading at a second-grade level.

For Dexter, his reading ability was a source of constant stress and worry. He struggled to read his playbook, feared public exposure, and worried about how his shaky reading skills might hurt his future. Dexter knew his career in the NFL couldn’t last forever. And he knew that if he wanted to find success after leaving football, he would need to strengthen his reading skills.

So, he hit the books. Through hard work and persistence, and with encouragement from his wife Lydia, Dexter has since achieved reading fluency. But relearning fundamental reading skills as an adult was not an easy journey – and it’s one that Dexter hopes few others will need to experience.

And that’s why he and Lydia launched the Dexter and Lydia Manley Foundation earlier this year. Their goal is to help young people in DC access the literacy resources and opportunities they need to become strong, confident readers. And, we’re proud that they selected Reach to be their inaugural partner in this important work. Together, we’re on a mission to “sack” illiteracy in DC.

Because the Dexter and Lydia Manley Foundation is #AlwaysThere for Reach, we can be #AlwaysThere for our young people. We’re so glad they’re part of our community.

During the next 24 hours, the Dexter and Lydia Manley Foundation will match donations to Reach up to $3,000. Please help Dexter, Lydia, and Reach “sack” illiteracy in DC by making your gift today.

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