Eric Rivera and Raiders CB Stanford Routt serve food to the students of ILSP.
On Thanksgiving eve, Raiders RB Michael Bennett, S Tyvon Branch, and CB Stanford Routt, with the help of Eric Rivera and Barry House of No Excuse Entertainment Group, donated and served a Thanksgiving meal to the Alameda County Independent Living Skills Program (ILSP). "I was impressed by how willing the guys were to help out with this event," said Rivera. "They jumped at the opportunity."
ILSP is a program supporting youth transitioning from foster care or juvenile justice to independent living. According to the ILSP web site, their mission is to "provide every eligible youth in foster care with independent skills training to assist in the transition to a successful, independent lifestyle."
Bennett, Branch and Routt, were excited to give back to an organization like ILSP during the holidays. "It was a great event," said Bennett. "It was a good time to go out and be a part of something that's meaningful."
After delivering and serving the food, Bennett and Routt spoke to the kids about believing in themselves. "I think our message to them was just to continue believing in themselves, to love one another and shoot for the stars," said Bennett. "I mean, their potential is definitely unlimited."
The three players had the opportunity to hear the kids' stories after sharing some of their own. "We heard some great testimonies in there about some young kids having kids, but that went to school and got degrees and now they have great jobs," said Bennett. "I can really see that they're surrounded by a great staff over there with a lot of great individuals that work hard for those kids."
After speaking with the ILSP students and staff, Bennett, Branch, and Routt signed autographs and posed for pictures. "It was good to see the kids smile, definitely good to get some hugs and sign some autographs and make people feel good for that little time that we were there," said Bennett.
The three Raiders appreciated the opportunity to give back during Thanksgiving. They hope they were able to make a positive impact on the ILSP students through their visit, messages, and warm plate of food.