In his seventh NFL season, Marco Rivera continues to reach out to the Puerto Rican community to help children discover a passion for the game he loves.
The Green Bay guard has made offseason trips to Puerto Rico four times to host free football camps for local youngsters.
This past April, Rivera and his wife Michelle established the Marco Rivera Outreach Foundation under the auspices of the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation. Marco's foundation benefits his football camp as well as St. George's Hospital in San Juan. While in Puerto Rico, Rivera visits cancer patients at St. George's Hospital. The Rivera foundation was a 2002 recipient of a $4,000 matching grant from the NFL Youth Football Fund.
This past May, Rivera enjoyed not only tutoring 416 participants during his weeklong football camp, but also giving his teammates the opportunity to visit Puerto Rico. Rivera's mother is a native of Puerto Rico and his grandmother still resides there. Rivera's camp featured the teaching services of fellow Packers William Henderson, Donald Driver, Charles Lee, Rob Davis and coach Stan Drayton.
The participants ranged in age from 8 to 16. The goal of the camp was to not only teach football skills but to teach life skills such as teamwork, discipline, and resilience.
"When I have a chance to do something for kids, like a football camp, other players and I want to show them that we're real," says Rivera. "We eat and sleep just like they do. Along the way, we teach them about football and we
enjoy giving something back. The kids appreciate that and their families appreciate it also."
Rivera is a regular speaker at Green Bay-area youth groups. He has given time to the American Red Cross, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and Prevent Blindness Wisconsin.
He believes that his Puerto Rican ethnicity has helped him develop close relationships with his Green Bay teammates.
"I was brought up in a family where family values are very important," he says. "That comes from our heritage. If there is one thing that was instilled in my two brothers and me, it was that family comes first. And playing in the NFL, I take that into the locker room, and a lot of guys appreciate that."