Nine Raiders players spent time with the kids at Children's Hospital and Research Center Oakland.Photo by Allan Yuan
The Raiders recently visited the Children's Hospital and Research Center Oakland – Sports Medicine Center for an ice cream social. On a beautiful day in the Bay Area, QB Terrelle Pryor, WR Rod Streater, TEs David Ausberry and Richard Gordon, offensive linemen Jared Veldheer and Khalif Barnes, FB Jamize Olawale, LB Miles Burris and LS Jon Condo served ice cream to the kids, played various sports outside and signed autographs.
"It's fantastic," said Michelle Cappello, Management Coordinator at the Sports Medicine Center for Youth Athletes. "The weather is great. There is a lot of Oakland Children's staff, and it's a really, happy great vibe. I like the activities that we have where the Raiders are practicing catch and balance activities."
LS Jon Condo, LB Miles Burris, WR Rod Streater and T Jared Veldheer serve ice cream. Photo by Allan Yuan
The players took different stations, some signing autographs, some serving ice cream and others playing various games on the blacktop. "It was a great experience," said Ausberry. "We came out here and made a lot of people's day and we had a chance to interact with some people that really love us and respect us for being people. To come out and get that respect from these people, it means a lot to us."
|TE Richard Gordon plays games with the kids. Photo by Allan Yuan|
Streater spent time at the Children's Hospital last year and was excited to come back. "It felt good to come back and see the kids with smiles on their faces," said Streater. "It felt good to serve ice cream and see a smile on someone's face today."
The Raiders visit has a deep impact for the kids and their families. "It's a really positive inspirational affect," said Cappello. "You see the kids, even knowing the Raiders were coming, their eyes light up. Maybe a little bit of hope, and appreciation that they're taking time out of their day to come down and visit with the kids."
Tariq Ahmad, MD, Endocrinology, came out to partake in the day's events. "It's phenomenal," said Ahmad. "You have the incredible weather. You have celebrities that are in the forefront of the NFL with the kids who are always looking for ways to brighten their day and to kind of make things a little smoother."
Pryor could see the immediate impact they had on the kids. "They were happy. Instantly they started smiling," said Pryor. "One girl had a broken arm; she started smiling right away when we signed her cast. She was excited. That's the thing, try to get a couple of the kids, try to get a couple of them to smile, you're doing your job."
Ausberry wanted an opportunity to get out into the community. "Any community service event is good," said Ausberry. "We're people too and we're part of this community. It's important to get out here and interact with the people that really support us. It's great to come out here and interact with some of the kids and some of the parents that just want to meet people. Very good experience."
Pryor, who has visited the Children's Hospital in the past, wanted to make a difference. "I feel like I do it out of the kindness of my heart, but also I feel like if you do good things, good things happen to you back," said Pryor. "I believe in making people smile and changing the world. And changing the world to me is making people smile."
QB Terrelle Pryor signs an autograph for a young fan. Photo by Allan Yuan
The Raiders players and organization as a whole want to get out in the community. "It means a lot," said Streater. "Outside of lifting weights and playing football, just to be able to impact someone's life, it's pretty cool to make someone smile. We have a lot of fans everywhere and just to take a couple hours out of you day to visit the hospital, it means a lot for the kids."
Ausberry knows that the Raiders time at the Children's Hospital will have a lasting impact. "A lot of the kids, they don't ever have the chance to meet professional athletes," said Ausberry. "For us to come out here and just make their day, it's going to be a lifetime event for them. An hour from us will last them 20-30 years down the line. So it's something that's very special for us to get out and do and it's going to be especially good for them."
Spending time in the local community, especially the kids at the Children's Hospital and Research Center Oakland, is important for the Raiders organization. "I think we're part of a community here and it's a tight community in terms of Oakland and the surrounding areas," said Cappello. "Giving back to the community is key and that's what this hospital is about and I know that's what the Raiders are about."