RBs Taiwan Jones and Mike Goodson pose for a photo with the students at Boys and Girls Club of Oakland. **Photo by Tony Gonzales
Recently, Raiders running backs Taiwan Jones and Mike Goodson visited kids at the Boys and Girls Club of Oakland on High Street. The two ball carriers spoke to the students about the importance of education before spending time with them in the gym, playing touch football and signing autographs.
Goodson and Jones were on hand to aid the Oakland Boys and Girls Club in its mission, which, according to the Boys and Girls Club website, is to "develop our community's youth into positive contributors to society."
The Club's branch manager, Chris Logwood, believed the Raiders visit would help motivate his students. "I was overly excited, mainly because, although I deal with boys and girls, we are in a recent struggle to try to get our boys more intuitive and being part of our program," said Logwood. "So to have some young men that they can identify with, it brings my message home a little more, so I was overjoyed."
Logwood also appreciated having Jones, who is a Bay Area -native, there to connect with the students. "It brings it more to life because these kids they can see someone they can identify with and that's seen and been on the same streets and paths they've walked in," said Logwood. "I think that's great."
While Jones is familiar with the Bay Area, Goodson, who joined the Raiders at the end of March, was attending his first community event in Silver and Black. "It was just funny for me because I kind of knew what to expect, but I wasn't sure if he knew what to expect," said Jones. "Coming back to a community like this, it's good for them and it's also good for us. I'm sure I can speak for him when I say it's humbling coming back here."
The running backs enjoyed playing in the gym with the kids. "I didn't have anybody to come back and play with me like that, so I really had fun being in there with the kids," said Goodson.
"I agree with him," said Jones. "Really that was just fun for me. I'm a big kid myself so really, I was just out there having fun."
As much fun as the guys had running around, speaking to the students about education prior to the games was the most important aspect of the visit. "The biggest message that we hit on today was definitely education and how important school is," said Jones. "I was one of those kids that fell into that category [not taking school seriously]. I didn't like school and school was always hard for me and to see that I was able to go through that and make something good of it, it's good to come back and be able to encourage them."
Goodson agreed with Jones of stressing the importance of doing well in school. "A lot of kids don't take school as serious because it's not as fun as doing other things, but it's kind of like the platform in life," explained Goodson. "If you do good in school and you can go off and do greater things in life."
Jones and Goodson hope that their time with the kids at the Boys and Girls Club has a lasting impact. "I think it was definitely a good experience that they should remember for awhile," said Jones. "I had the opportunity to see players come back and I always cherished that and so to be able to be in their shoes and come back and give to them, I was happy and I'm sure that they're thankful too."