Recently, Raider cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Chris Johnson teamed up with the East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC), the United Way, and UPS volunteers as part of the 2009 Hometown Huddle to inspire students to continue their educations and to live healthy lifestyles. The EBAYC after school program has found a home at Garfield Elementary and works hard to improve student learning. At Garfield, over 150 students participate in this program.
The Raider players were greeted with enthusiastic cheers as they took the stage. Johnson spoke about the difficulties of staying motivated in school, but how important it is to stick it out and finish. Asomugha followed by speaking about the importance of eating healthy, staying in shape, and the endless possibilities that await these kids.
The Raiders then joined the students and EBAYC leaders outside on the field for different games. Asomugha participated in blob-tag, while Johnson joined in on three-flies-up and foot races all over the field. The kids were energetic and motivated to exercise with the athletes.
While the players exercised with the kids, UPS and United Way volunteers frantically put together backpacks filled with supplies for the children. These backpacks were handed out to every child in the after school program. In addition to encouraging healthy living, all of these programs are working to encourage these students to find the importance in education. As the representative of the United Way program, Aditi Aggarwal, said, "We are always happy having someone who is a role model to come out and tell them to continue education. The students take away a lot because Nnamdi and Chris have inspired them to continue education, to work hard, and to be themselves."
As the students received materials to help them through school, Asomugha and Johnson said their goodbyes and left with smiles on their faces. Both players knew the impact a celebrity can have on the community.
"Anytime you can go out in the community and you can do the same things as the young kids I think is important. It shows them that they can reach the same level that you're at," Asomugha said.
Johnson echoed Asomugha's sentiments, "I really like to see the kids' reaction and their facial expressions because it means a lot to them to have any athlete or superstar come out and give back to the community."
The United Way, EBAYC, and cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Chris Johnson hope that the new backpacks, school supplies, and encouragement from The Oakland Raiders, will renew the students' desire to succeed in school and live healthy and fulfilling lives.