Raiders Remind Students To Overcome Adversity


Despite the lack of wins this NFL season, the Raiders continue to make their presence felt off the field with their continuous community activism. At Sunday’s home game against the Denver Broncos, the Raiders invited students from Chabot Elementary, Cox Academy, and Lincoln Elementary’s after school program to participate in their “First and Goal” program.

The students were given lunch and then heard from Actress Naya Rivera, Paralympic athlete Blake Leeper, and Hall of Famer Willie Brown discuss how they had overcame various challenges in their lives to bring their dreams to life.

[caption id=”attachment_32200″ align=”alignright” width=”168″]Naya Rivera speaks to OUSD students that gathered at the Raiders home game against the Denver Broncos. Naya Rivera speaks to OUSD students that gathered at the Raiders home game against the Denver Broncos.[/caption]

Rivera is known for her role on the hit TV show “Glee”. Her brother, Mychal Rivera, is the Raiders tight end. She spoke of her own challenges as an actress but also told the students about Mychal’s struggles to make it into the NFL. She says he had to switch schools at one point to even get the chance to play but never gave up on his dream.


Willie Brown also spoke to the youth, reminding them to “think healthy and positive” because the mindset plays a major part in achieving success. He challenged the students to remove anything from that did not contribute to their overall success goals.


“Change the things to be a better person,” said Brown.


But the highlight of the day was hearing from Blake Leeper, a United States Paralympic athlete. He was born with legs missing below the knee and has worn prosthetics since nine months of age.


But he never gave up on his dream of becoming a star athlete unwilling to allow it hinder him. Through a grant from

Blake Leeper
Blake Leeper

Challenged Athletes Foundation, Leeper received a pair of running prosthetics and he hasn’t looked back since. He is currently training to become the first American double amputee competing in the 2016 Olympics.


“You have to dig deep, you have to look inside of yourself,” added Leeper.


Quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, Leeper said, “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”



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