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Bengals’ DJ Reader Opens First-of-its-Kind Resource Room at Shroder High School

Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle DJ Reader and his A Son Never Forgets Foundation unveiled the first ever “Reader Resource Room” at Shroder High School during a back-to-school celebration August 15. 

Shroder Jags Cheering it on!The Reader Resource Room will provide all students with vital resources to support their success in school. From school supplies to personal hygiene products, the resource room will be stocked throughout the year. 

“It’s tough not having those things – whether it be hygiene products, school supplies or other needs – and an extra worry being a kid,” Reader said. “It’s always a blessing to take that off their plate. It’s huge for me.”

Students who attended the event were offered free dental and health screenings, school supplies, food and onsite job interviews for Chick-fil-A at Oakley Station. 

“It’s amazing just to know that we’re getting recognized,” Shroder senior Ambrose Brunner said. “For somebody to help us is just amazing, and we’re very grateful for it.”

After being drafted into the NFL, Reader launched his foundation to promote health and wellness. Reader grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina, but considers Cincinnati as his adopted hometown.

This inaugural resource room was made in honor of former educator David Vernon Reader Sr., DJ’s late father.

“He’s an emotional guy. I love my dad, and he’d probably just be proud,” Reader said of his late father. “I know he’d be pushing me just to keep doing more.”

Shroder’s space, complete with a mural commemorating Reader’s relationship with his father, is just the foundation of a powerful project with more impact to come.

2023 Shroder alumnus Caleb Jackson assisted local artist Brent Billingsley with painting the mural before heading off to his first year at the Cleveland Institute of Art. He said he’s jealous of the underclassmen that get to reap the benefits of this resource room and Reader’s ongoing investment in the school.

Reader thanked Shroder’s staff and students for being such great partners and reiterated his commitment to the school community. 

“They really needed the help and not only that, but I really needed to help them,” Reader said. “It’s worked really well, and I’m just blessed to have them in my corner.”