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BCA Month: Rod Streater Finds Inspiration Through His Mother's Memory

Posted Oct 5, 2015

Wide receiver Rod Streater finds inspiration both on and off the football field through his mother's memory.

Raiders Wide Receiver Rod Streater

By Katie Agostin

It didn’t take long for Rod Streater to find inspiration in the Bay Area.

During his rookie season with the Oakland Raiders in 2012, Streater dove head first into community service projects. However, it was one particular volunteer effort that lead him to fulfilling a goal he’s always had – starting a foundation.

“My rookie year I did a couple of community service events,” Streater said. “I did one at a school in Oakland, and the kids couldn’t go on field trips because they were less fortunate. I wanted to start a foundation that would impact local youth in Oakland and the Bay Area. I wanted to give back to the community; I’ve always wanted to do that.”

The Rod Streater Foundation was created in 2014 with the mission to inspire local youth and provide them with a channel to experience activities that promote healthy lifestyles, technology, culture and the arts.

The fourth-year Raider remains hands-on with his foundation through his “Where’s Streater” journey, which takes kids to places they wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to go to such as Disney Interactive, the San Francisco Zoo and Oakland’s Chabot Space and Science Center.

He also uses the “Where’s Streater” journey as an educational opportunity for children. During Thanksgiving last year, Streater hosted children and family members from UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland Diabetes Clinic and shared healthy recipes, specifically for children with Type 1 diabetes.

Streater’s time in the community doesn’t end with his foundation. As one of the Raiders most active volunteers, he can be found throughout the community making hospital visits, helping at food banks and participating in events such as Play 60 and Toys for Tots.

“That’s the way I was raised,” Streater said. “My family always told me that giving back, no matter what, is very important whether you’re a professional or not. That’s what drives me. Just wanting to be there for the local kids and be an inspiration for all the kids back home in New Jersey.”

Even through adversity, Streater still found time for the community.

In the third week of the 2014 season, Streater suffered a broken foot against the New England Patriots. The injury sidelined him for the remainder of the year. A couple of weeks later his mother, Darlene Streater, passed away after battling with breast cancer.

At the end of October, soon after his mother’s passing, Streater invited local sixth grade students to the Monterey Bay Aquarium where they got to learn about and interact with live animals.

“It’s been a growing process for me, Streater said. “Getting through a lot of adversities really made me stronger, and appreciate being here in the NFL. Just going through all that really helped me out with becoming a tougher person.”

While he’s already made a huge impact in the Bay Area, Streater also reaches out to the community in his hometown of Burlington, N.J. He and his former teammate Kashif Moore hold their annual “Catch Your Dream” football camp during the summer at Burlington Township High School, where they both started their careers. The camp is free and teaches more than 200 kids football techniques, drills and fundamentals.

When asked where his relentless drive to volunteer comes from, Streater was quick to credit his mother.

“She was just awesome,” Streater said. “She was always so positive. She always had a positive vibe around her. Everybody was attracted to her. Whenever she was around people, they just loved her. That’s what makes me want to keep giving back, so I can be that positive vibe in Oakland and be an abundance of light for whoever wants to follow me.

“My mom has been pushing me. She’s still lives through me. I just want to be great for my family and Raider Nation.”

Streater’s already accomplished so much during his four years in the league both on and off the field.

Earlier this year he was honored with the 2015 CoachArt Courage and Hope Award, which recognizes an individual in the community who sets a standard of excellence in their professional accomplishments and their personal humanitarianism.

Still, Streater continues to give back.

The Raiders have partnered with the American Cancer Society again in 2015 to put on the second annual Evening with the Raiders at the Oakland Raiders facility in conjunction with the NFL’s Breast Cancer Awareness Initiative, a cause that is close to Streater’s heart.

Seventeen breast cancer survivors, each with a guest, will be welcomed to the Raiders headquarters on October 5th where Streater and several other Raiders will be in attendance. The guests will have dinner and a tour of the Raiders Facility and will receive gifts from the team. 

While Streater has continuously gone above and beyond to donate his time and efforts to the local community, to him it’s all in a day’s work.

“Being able to give back whether you’re a superstar or not has been very humbling,” Streater said. “I feel like every NFL player has that platform to give back. I’m just blessed to be able to inspire people and be able to make an impact.”