Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 10/24/13
As with any big business, philanthropy is highly important, not only for drawing fans but also for showing interest in a specific community. The Oakland Raiders have always been known for giving back to the community, but this year they’ve developed a new innovative program called “First and Goal Kids.” First and Goal Kids kicked off with Oakland’s first game of the season against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The program gives youth and their chaperones an opportunity to attend a game at no cost during the regular season. For this weekend’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Raiders are providing 800 students with transportation, game tickets, and meals. The students’ day begins with a bus ride to the O.co Coliseum, followed by speeches from selected people such as Pro Football Hall of Famer Willie Brown and Raider Legend and sideline reporter Lincoln Kennedy, who address the group about safety and health on and off the field. Then the students are provided lunch and escorted to their seats for the game. Willie Brown, former Oakland Raiders player and Pro Football Hall of Famer Will First and Goal Kids continue as a successful and ongoing program? I think yes. The program is designed to reward students for excellent academic behavior and to encourage their continued education. This is becoming increasingly important as more and more students are dropping out of school. First and Goal Kids will provide another incentive for students to succeed in school. How does the program benefit the students? The program is an attempt to create the first Full-Service Community School District, which will not only provide education but also access to a variety of social services that assist in academic achievement, another effort to reach out to students. Some would question why the Raiders are blowing money that they presumably don’t have on such a program. They have other issues on hand, such as determining a new location for next season, as their lease with the O.co Coliseum will be up. But the Raiders don’t seem to be concerned with spending money on the program. Instead they are interested in the possible benefits for both the students and the team. How are the Raiders benefiting from First and Goal Kids? Of course, they are giving back to their struggling community and motivating students to remain in school. But the Raiders are also receiving a lot of publicity from this program. I think the program shows the Raiders as a giving and caring team, which attracts media attention and encourages the attendance of more fans at their games. The Raiders have long been known as a team dedicated to the community, and I think First and Goal Kids is just another seemingly successful way for the team to boost community morale and connect students with social opportunities.

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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