CoachArt is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children with chronic illness by providing free arts and athletics lessons. Given my love of the arts and athletics, as well as my desire to work with children who have cancer, CoachArt was the perfect fit for the foundation.
I have been blessed with the opportunity to mentor Michael, a 10-year old boy with leukemia. Michael was a Guest of Honor at the Raiders Training Camp in 2014 and was treated like a “rock star” by the Raiders organization. He was given his very own locker for the day, a personalized jersey and a tour of the facility. He also received the honor of breaking down the huddle of our team at the conclusion of practice, in addition to receiving autographs from many of my teammates. Michael and his family attended a couple of home games, including joining me on the field during pre-game ceremonies prior to the Buffalo game. I’ve gone to Michael’s house to play Xbox, played basketball with his he and his friends at the park, created art projects together, celebrated the holidays, and other fun activities. This personal and meaningful relationship with Michael has been especially rewarding.
CoachArt went with me twice on my “Where’s Streater?” journey. First, we began a magical journey in Oakland and ended at the Disney Interactive office in Palo Alto, where we were welcomed by Disney VoluntEARS. We toured the Disney gaming division, met the designers behind the hottest games and participated in an exclusive event featuring illustration and coding using the Disney Infinity versions of Frozen characters Anna and Elsa. The children were treated to a pizza party and presented with gifts to take home. Each child received wireless headphones on behalf of Velodyne Acoustics and my foundation, along with Frozen themed gift bags presented by Disney Interactive. Given my love of art, illustration, and having just completed a game art and design course through the Art Institute of Pittsburgh’s online division, Disney Interactive, along with CoachArt children and families was the perfect destination for “Where’s Streater?”.
Next, we celebrated Super Bowl 50 in the Bay Area by taking CoachArt families to the NFL Experience, pro football’s interactive theme park. The NFL Experience celebrates the sports history and electrifying atmosphere of the Super Bowl. We had a great time with the interactive games and they loved getting to pass like a pro and taking a shot at kicking a game winning field goal. We learned about the history of the game, saw 49 Super Bowl rings and took a team picture with the Vince Lombardi trophy. My favorite moment was when we got the opportunity to meet Kansas City Chiefs Pro Bowl player, Eric Berry. He was diagnosed with Hodskins Lymphoma in December 2014, returned to the field in August the following year and had a Pro Bowl season. He was so nice to visit with the kids and sign all of their shirts. It was a special day for everyone.
Interested in doing what I’m doing?
By becoming a CoachArt volunteer, you have the opportunity to make a real difference in the Bay Area community. Volunteers teach lessons, help at large special events, and sometimes donate a special skill or service to help our program grow! All volunteers are required to attend a special volunteer orientation. Here you will learn about health and safety requirements of the program and will be given tips for how to best work with children suffering from chronic illnesses. Because safety is very important, a background check is also required. Orientations are held monthly in the Bay Area and LA. If you are interested in being a CoachArt Volunteer, please visit their website at: http://coachart.org/volunteer/