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Green Bay's Randall Cobb will be the keynote speaker at SHARP Literacy's 16th annual "A Novel Event" on Oct. 16. (PHOTO: Evan Siegle/Packers.com)

SHARP Literacy presents "A Novel Event" Oct. 16 featuring Randall Cobb

Green Bay Packers wide receiver and lifelong-learner Randall Cobb will take center stage at SHARP Literacy's 16th annual "A Novel Event" on Oct. 16 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Pfister Hotel. Omar Shaikh, co-owner/president of SURG Restaurant Group, and Linda Gorens-Levey, partner at General Capital Group, are serving as event co-chairs.

Now in his seventh season with the Packers, Cobb is tied for sixth in the National Football League with 18 touchdown catches since 2014, and he's tied for 2nd in the league for catching 75-plus passes in three of the past four seasons. In 2014 Cobb started all 16 games and posted career highs in catches, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, earning his first Pro Bowl selection.

Prior to joining the Green Bay Packers, Cobb spent three star-studded seasons playing football at the University of Kentucky. The school recently inducted Cobb into the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2017 during the weekend of Sept. 22-23.

Off the field, Cobb founded "Blessings in a Backpack," a program that provides children who receive free or reduced-cost lunches a backpack filled with food on weekends. The program serves children at Eisenhower Elementary School in Green Bay, as well as Alcoa Elementary in Cobb's hometown of Alcoa, Tennessee.

Cobb also partnered with Prevea Health on cookbook for children, Prevea Gets Cooking with Cobb: Randall's Favorite Kid-Friendly Recipes, which features a variety of easy-to follow meal and snack recipes for young chefs.

Randall Cobb supports the mission of SHARP and believes in the importance of education. Viewing himself as a "lifelong learner," Cobb became the first member of his family to earn a college degree when he returned to the University of Kentucky last summer to finish his degree in community leadership. The theme of Cobb's keynote address at A Novel Event will be the importance of literacy and being a life-long learner, and how his continued education has affected his life both on and off the field.

At the dinner, Omar Shaikh, president and co-owner of SURG Restaurant Group and SHARP Literacy Board of Directors member, will present Jim Mueller, president of Mueller QAAS, with a Literacy Champion Award for his ongoing support of SHARP Literacy's educational program. Cecelia Gore, executive director of Brewers Community Foundation, will receive SHARP Literacy's EDGE Award (energizing through dedication, giving and engagement), which will be presented by Linda Gorens-Levey, co-chair.

The message of this year's A Novel Event is the importance of being a lifelong learner, according to Lynda Kohler, president and CEO of SHARP Literacy, a Milwaukee nonprofit educational program whose mission is to enhance future life success by energizing urban children, motivating them to identify themselves as confident, capable scholars and lifelong learners by inspiring engagement in reading, writing and research through hands-on interaction and visual arts.

"A lifelong love of learning can be nurtured and encouraged at a young age," she said in a statement. "The SHARP Literacy program provides students as young as four years old with a variety of imaginative, hands-on learning experiences that extend far beyond the classroom.

"From a variety of educational tours to the creation of permanent works of arts and We Love to Learn books, the SHARP program encourages students to explore, discover, research, and find opportunities to learn something new each and every day."

Funds raised at A Novel Event will support the delivery of SHARP's foundational literacy program to over 8,000 K4 through fifth grade school students in 38 of Milwaukee and Waukesha County's most at-risk schools.

Individual tickets for the event are $150 and may be purchased online at sharpliteracy.org or by calling (414) 410-3203. Various levels of corporate and individual sponsorships are also available. SHARP Literacy, Inc. wishes to thank this year's largest event sponsors to date: Brewers Community Foundation, BMO Harris Bank, Payne and Dolan, Richard and Joan Abdoo, James Mueller Family, Kelben Foundation, MillerCoors, and media sponsor BizTimes Milwaukee.

The primary goal of SHARP Literacy is to provide elementary school students with an imaginative learning experience that builds confidence, self-esteem, and a greater awareness of the world. This year, SHARP Literacy, Inc. will impart foundational literacy skills to more than 8,000 elementary school students in 38 of Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties' most at-risk schools.


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