Caring for Kids: It’s Our Mission Beyond the Gridiron
The NFL Alumni is a charitable organization composed of former professional football players guided in their volunteer efforts by the mission statement “Caring for Kids,” and who are dedicated to work on behalf of youth and charity. The Northern California Chapter is based in Redwood City, California, and conducts events at its headquarters office and throughout the San Francisco Bay area.
Thursday Night Tailgate Party a Big Success
Thanks to everyone who helped make our Thursday Night Tailgate Party on October 6, 2016 a big success!! A great crowd turned out to watch the 49ers take on the Arizona Cardinals, and their generous donations of canned goods and toys were collected to benefit the Veterans Hospital – Menlo Park, and the Ecumenical Hunger Fund – East Palo Alto!
Youth of America Week Football Clinic 2016
On August 27th The Northern California Chapter of the NFL Alumni partnered with Angel Tree Football Clinic and with the help of Redwood City hosted over 200 boys and girls at our Youth of America Week Football Clinic. The kids learned football basics at a free day-long clinic in Redwood City that was held on the former practice fields of the San Francisco 49ers. The Football Clinic reached at-risk youth aged 7 to 13 who were bused in from as far away as Sacramento, Fresno, and Salinas.
Their mentors which numbered over 60 were former football players and coaches that included many members of the Northern California chapter. The morning training was followed by a luncheon banquet in which words to live by were passed along by former NFL stars Eason Ramson and Billie Anderson. Anderson, a former Stanford and 49er football player, said “The boys are the single focus. At least during this 5-6 hour stretch, they’re the most important people on the planet. These kids have been told they can’t all their lives they’ve been yelled at and have never had enough positive input. So here, you don’t do anything wrong. What you do is you learn. The kids come to learn about football, but many leave with a sense of confidence and self-esteem. How much difference does a day make? One of the boys participating had a brother who was killed in a drive-by shooting. His mother says he barely spoke or smiled for months.” Anderson says she saw him talk and laugh again at the football clinic. Thirteen-year-old Elmer Ramirez of Salinas discovered anything is possible. “You have to follow your dreams and even if you’re not the best, you could follow other things,” Ramirez concluded.
We wanted to give these children an experience of a lifetime in one day and we believe we did.
Alumnus of the Month (September 2016 – Len Rohde)
The NFL Alumni Northern California Chapter is proud to announce Len Rohde as our Alumnus of the Month for September!
Len Rohde (born Leonard Emil Rohde) was an offensive tackle who played fifteen seasons from 1960 – 1974 for the San Francisco 49ers. He helped the 49ers win the NFC West Division from 1970–72 and he was selected to the Pro Bowl after the 1970 season. Rohde played college football at Utah State University and joined the 49ers as a fifth round draft pick.
The 49ers offense he played with led the NFL in points scored in 1965 and 1970 and the NFC in 1972. The 49ers offense also led the NFL in yards gained in 1965 and the NFC in 1970. The 49ers also led the NFL in yards passing in 1965 and 1969 and the NFC in 1970 and 1972.
“Making the club was the big accomplishment and a big challenge I would say. When you’re trying to break in, you’re just hoping you’re there when the final cut is made,” Rohde said. “The goal when I came to San Francisco was to get through the first practice and then the next day.” Once he made the roster, Rohde dedicated himself annually to improving his play on the field as well as helping the 49ers climb up the NFC Western Division.
During his career, Rohde played in 208 consecutive games, the longest streak in franchise history. “It’s one of those things that just creeps up on you and you don’t realize,” Rohde said of his streak. “You don’t set out to do something like that, you take things one at a time and all of a sudden you realize you’ve got a string going. And then you hope you can hang on.”
Besides his record-setting streak, Rohde says he’s also proud of an achievement that he and his fellow offensive linemen achieved. “We allowed eight sacks in an entire season and that was an NFL record,” said Rohde. “The record earned us the nickname, ‘The Protectors,’ and it’s one of the things I’m most proud of when I look back on my career.”
Following his playing days, Rohde became active as an owner in the restaurant business.
‘I got in the business with some partners,” Rohde said. “At one point we owned nine Burger Kings and six Applebee’s. That was a challenge and it was fun.”
Now retired, Rohde enjoys helping out every year with the NFL Alumni Northern California Chapter’s golf tournament to raise money for kids, and spending time with his wife, son and four grandchildren.
Our Caring for Kids Initiatives