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Maya Smart makes debut as Christmas Mother at Chimborazo Elementary

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RICHMOND, Va. -- Maya Smart, the wife of VCU Men's Basketball Coach Shaka Smart, made her debut as the Richmond Times Dispatch's first African American Christmas Mother.

As an advocate for early childhood education and reading, she dedicated 500 books to the students at Richmond's Chimborazo Elementary School on Thursday.

“The better reading skills you have, the better chance you have at an extraordinary life,” Smart told the students.

The books, which are by children's author Jacqueline Woodson, included one work that teaches a lesson about civil rights.

Chimborazo Pricipal Kara Lancaster-Gay said that Smart’s visit supplies students with a foundation for literacy.

“We endeavor to ensure the students are encouraged to read, that they read everything around them,” Lancaster-Gay said.

Smart also reminded the students that when you give, someone receives. So they may have also learned a lesson about the importance of giving back to your community.

"I'm just really excited to be back in the building and have the opportunity to share some different books with all of the children,” Smart said. “And hopefully I’ll be able to come back after the break and see how they liked it."