Native Tulsan and NFL player Robert Meachem aims to benefit others with a simple adage: “Follow your dreams.”
Tulsa native Robert Meachem is a wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints, the 2010 Super Bowl champions.
High school football hero. College football star. First-round NFL draft pick. Member of a Super Bowl champion team.
For Tulsan Robert Meachem, achieving these feats was not just the result of hard work; it was a matter of following his dreams.
Meachem, a Parade magazine All-American at Booker T. Washington High School, went on to star at The University of Tennessee and was a first-round pick by the New Orleans Saints in the 2007 NFL draft.
After missing the 2007 football season with a knee injury and a less-than-stellar season in 2008, Meachem enjoyed a breakout season in 2009 with the Saints.
A 6-foot-2-inch, 210-pound wide receiver, he played in all 16 games, including seven starts, and caught 45 passes for 722 yards and nine touchdowns. He also ran the ball six times for 82 yards and had six kickoff returns, averaging 25 yards.
One of the highlights of the season involved Meachem scoring a touchdown after stripping the ball from a Washington Redskins defensive back who had intercepted a Saints pass. Meachem was also the Saints’ team leader in touchdowns, with 10 for the season.
His ultimate dream realization, however, came with the Saints’ trip to the Super Bowl.
Meachem and the Saints not only won the championship, but more importantly, the Saints’ victory afforded residents of the New Orleans area some welcome relief from the stresses and pressures of what seemed to be a constant barrage of bad luck — namely Hurricanes Katrina, Gustav and Rita.
“It was amazing to see all the people come together,” Meachem says. “All the races seemed to come together as one. The Super Bowl victory seemed to give the people of New Orleans hope and helped give their life back to some degree.”
But the people of New Orleans are not the only ones Meachem wants to influence.
Since earning his place as a rising star in the world of professional sports, Meachem has possessed a strong desire to give back to the community in which he grew up. In his words, he simply wants “to give kids from my community a better shot at life.”
To achieve that objective, Meachem established the Robert Emery Meachem Follow Your Dreams Foundation.
The foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a mission to help youth across America get involved in activities in their communities and promote the participation of youth whose families cannot afford extracurricular activities.
One of the foundation’s initial goals is to provide school-aged children with books for their personal libraries, with the ultimate goal of supplying at least two books to at least 200 youth ages 4 to 17 throughout north Tulsa.
The foundation also offers programs in other areas that are important to the development and growth of youngsters, including mentoring, leadership, literacy and arts and athletic programs.
Growing up in north Tulsa, Meachem says that many role models influenced him — including his parents and sister, Tammie Brown, as well as his middle and high school coaches.
He wants today’s young Tulsans to have the same opportunities for guidance.
“Many of the children that the foundation will serve may not have a mother at home or may not have a father at home — or perhaps have neither at home,” Meachem says. “I think it is important that these kids have a mentor — someone they can look up to and even someone that can love them.
“I want kids to understand that it is OK to study hard, to make good grades and to get scholarships. I want to give them the same opportunities that I was fortunate to enjoy.”