Recently, Oakland Raiders LB Sam Williams attended the inaugural Open House at The Michael Chavez Center for Economic Opportunity in his native city of Concord, Calif. The hometown hero spent the afternoon speaking with members of the community, taking a tour of the center, and signing autographs. His presence, not only as an Oakland Raider, but also as an accomplished and successful native son of Concord, brought inspiration to many individuals both young and old.
The eighth-year linebacker out of Fresno State began the afternoon sympathizing with and providing advice to individuals seeking job opportunities amidst the harsh conditions of the current economy. Williams advised his audience to "set your goals, believe in yourself, believe that you can achieve your goals, and always have a positive attitude."
Located in an area with high unemployment, The Michael Chavez Center serves as an institution to provide members of the Monument/Concord community with the assistance needed to find steady employment in order to become self-sufficient. Over the years, the Center has established several programs for their members such as career counseling and technology empowerment. The objective of the center is to give local residents the economic, social, and human capital needed in today's workforce.
Audrey McKee, the manager of the Career Development Program at the Center, was thrilled to have Williams at the event, and believed that he made a lasting impression on the community. "Watching the faces of our clients, you could see in their eyes, 'I can do this, I can get that job, I can do this,'" expressed McKee. "He sent the message that nothing worth having is really that easy. You have to work hard at it. And that is something that as a center we try and share with the community."
To hear Williams' road to success from his freshman year at a local Concord high school to his current position on the Oakland Raiders, illustrated to members of the Center that with self-belief and hard work, anything is possible. "I hope they realize that they can achieve their dreams and accomplish their goals," said Williams. After the Raiders linebacker's speech, McKee presented Williams with a poem written especially for him by one of her clients. The author, Antonio, wrote the Spanish prose earlier that morning once he discovered that Williams was visiting the Chavez Center. Williams was both impressed and humbled by Antonio's poem. "It [the poem] was one of the highlights of the afternoon," stated Williams.
Williams visited the Michael Chavez Center with the intentions of lifting spirits, providing motivation, and giving back to his hometown. At the end of the day, community members and Williams departed with smiles on their faces. Concord residents left with the linebacker's words of inspiration and encouragement, and Williams left with Antonio's touching poem. Unlike on the football field, where only one team claims the "win," both Williams and the members of the Concord community came out victorious.