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Raiders Lead Jr. Training Camp in Hayward

The Oakland Raiders hosted a Gatorade Junior Training Camp at Fairview Elementary School in Hayward, Calif., Tuesday morning. TE Mychal Rivera, safety Brandian Ross and RB George Atkinson III, along with Raiderettes Chanel and Erica, took nearly 200 4th-6th graders through football drills and encouraged the students to be active and have fun.

The Raiders chose Fairview Elementary in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, where 42 percent of the students are Hispanic. "Hispanic Heritage Month means everything to me," said Rivera. "Being half Puerto Rican and my family having the last name Rivera, I always have to represent for the Hispanic culture."

"We came to Fairview Elementary School and had a 'Play 60' with these amazing kids," said Ross. "They were so energetic. They had so much energy and gave so much life to this event."

The students were excited to participate in different drills with the players while Chanel and Erica cheered them on. "Just like we like to come out and cheer for our players, we like to come out and cheer for the kids as well and hopefully get them active and enjoy it as much as we do," said Chanel.

Fairview Principal John Melvin enjoyed watching his students' energy and passion during the event.  "They were so excited to have a visit by a sports team," said Melvin. "It's really exciting for them to actually see players come out and the organization come out and it's going to inspire them in their class work. We're having a hard time calming them down just because they're so excited. It also promotes the values of physical education and even students that don't normally participate were out there doing the drills. I think it sends a great message about physical activity."

Besides giving the kids a reason to smile, the camp was intended to inspire the students to be active every day and lead a healthy lifestyle. "It's absolutely important. With the age we live in with technology being king, it's of the utmost importance that kids understand that being outside, being active, is imperative to their health," explained Ross.

Melvin believes the Raiders' visit will have a great long-term impact on the students. "I think right now the teachers are feeling like they can go back in the classroom and talk about why were the Raiders here; why'd they make such an effort to come out and they can recognize that it's about physical activity, and just realizing that we're at this little elementary school, but that we have a world around us," said Melvin. "The Oakland Raiders that are on TV, the players that are on TV, actually care about them, so it reinforces their goals about going to college, getting good grades, about being motivated about being successful in school."

Atkinson III was happy to motivate the kids. "I always love giving back to the community," said Atkinson III. "I found this as a great opportunity to get kids active and make sure we instill how important it is to play every day and stay in school, just a foundation for them to keep growing based on living a healthy life."

Many of the students sported their Raiders gear for the camp. "It was great to see the support out here with the kids and just seeing them around and seeing how excited they were for us to come out here and just spend just 60 minutes out here with them," said Atkinson III. "It was a great opportunity."

Rivera enjoyed his time with the students of Fairview. "It was awesome. It takes you back to when you were a little kid," said Rivera. "They're not worried about anything but having fun out here and I just loved it."

The Raiders accomplished their goal of getting kids active, having fun and inspiring students for the future. "I always like giving back and seeing these smiles on these kids' faces; they're just priceless," said Ross. "Anytime I can see hundreds of kids smile and feel joy from our presence and our interaction with them is just amazing."

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