In the Spring of 2000, the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County began discussions with the Buffalo Bills to create a book club for inner-city third graders of Buffalo, NY. It was soon realized that former Buffalo Bill and current NFL nose tackle, Ted Washington, was looking to implement his own book club.
Conversations continued, and in September 2000, four schools of third graders were invited to Ralph Wilson Stadium, home of the Bills, to kick-off the first ever Ted's Troops Book Club. Each student was provided one book a month, visits with Washington and other sports professionals, a mentor, and other opportunities. Shown below is Washington befriending the participating children.