OAKLAND -- A faulty gyroscope threatened the mission. Communications officer Rod Streater volunteered to repair it, but the job called for a spacewalk. Streater, a star wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders, had five minutes or the mission would be a complete failure.

On June 7, 25 students took part in a "Mission to Mars" at the Chabot Space and Science Center to participate in the launch of the Rod Streater Foundation, a charitable foundation dedicated to creating opportunities for youth. The sixth- and seventh-graders from Oakland Roots International Academy, 68th Avenue, were treated to a simulated space flight in the center's Challenger Learning Center.

"The Rod Streater Foundation will provide a channel for local youth to experience activities which promote healthy lifestyles, technology, culture and the arts," according to a release.

"It's an honor to be here," Streater told media, staff and students, adding that he wants to give back to many schools to create opportunities for youth.

Streater plans to take his work to Los Angeles, London and New Jersey, where he went to high school. Working in various locations has inspired a signature program called, "Where's Streater? Catch Him Here, There and Everywhere."

Like many students at times, Streater was an underdog when he joined the Raiders, since he wasn't chosen in the National Football League's draft. But he proved himself last year with 888 yards of receptions. No Raider has caught for 1,000 yards since Randy Moss accomplished that feat in 2005.

"It's awesome," Streater said when asked by a student what it's like to play in the NFL. "Dream come true."

Inside a simulated spacecraft, students and Streater used task cards as NASA astronauts would to complete tasks for the mission. A breached main oxygen line forced students to activate the reserve line as the craft filled with smoke. Other students directed their peers from the learning center's Mission Control.

Streater paid for the transportation necessary to bring the students to Chabot. He wants to pay for transportation to other educational facilities too, such as the San Francisco Zoo and Monterey Bay Aquarium, he said.

Streater's love of giving back prompted the establishment of the foundation, he said. He's always wanted to create something where he could make an impact. As a professional athlete, he wants to be there for the community, and he feels it's his responsibility to help Oakland first. The foundation's mission is to instill attitudes of respect, responsibility and optimism in youth.

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