D.J. Reader wants to be known for more than his just play on the football field; he wants to be identified as someone who gives back to the community. Reader's dad passed away in 2014 following a long fight with Kidney Disease. He has made it his personal mission to raise awareness for Kidney Disease by taking an active role in National Kidney Foundation initiatives. Over this past year, D.J. has participated in the National Kidney Walk in Houston, has visited with patients in local hospitals, hosted free screenings for Kidney Disease at his annual football camp and more. D.J. also is an ambassador for the NFL's Fuel Up to Play 60 efforts and has supported the Houston Texans Kids Triathlon PLAY 60 event. He believes if he can communicate to children early on in life the importance of being healthy, he will help prevent individuals from losing their lives to this disease. Although D.J. is very passionate about this cause, he also is a huge advocate in making sure our youth are successful students. Recently, he teamed up with organizations such as the United Way to encourage young students to read.
He has also hosted backpack drives to ensure kids are prepared for school each year. D.J. participates annually in the Texans All Community Team program, providing season tickets to youth from the YMCA of Greater Houston and the Houston Parks and Recreation after-school programs.
His passion for service and giving back to those around him can be attributed to his mother, Felicia, and his late father, David. His father taught him the importance of giving back and working hard to achieve his goals – something that D.J. carries with him each day. Since arriving in Houston four years ago, D.J. has raised awareness for the National Kidney Foundation through initiatives such as My Cause My Cleats and various fundraisers. He has also become a prominent advocate for healthy youth lifestyle campaigns, including proudly serving as the Texans' ambassador for Fuel Up to Play 60 for the past two years. D.J. is not only helping the Houston community, but he has also been very committed to giving back to his hometown of Greensboro, North Carolina, where each year he hosts a free youth football camp and encourages kids to be active, eat healthy and learn the basics of football. For the past several seasons, he has also supported youth football initiatives in Texas, such as the Texans Play Safe Clinic, the NFL PLAY 60 Character Camp, and Texans Youth Football Camp.
In his fourth season with the Texans, D.J. has established himself as a leader and role model both on and off the field. His unwavering passion to give back and tireless support of the community is undeniable. This past August, D.J. was recognized by the Houston Texans Foundation when he was presented with the 9th Annual Spirit of the Bull Award. This award recognizes a Texan player that has gone above and beyond in not only his community involvement, but in being a role model for all. He is the epitome of class-act, and tirelessly gives his time as an ambassador and a role model for adolescents and young adults. Outside of practices, team meetings, workouts and his own events, D.J. can be found participating and supporting his teammate's charitable events as well. He has contributed countless hours of physical and emotional support as well as monetary contributions to organizations such as the National Kidney Foundation, United Way, Fuel Up to Play 60, Texans Play Safe Clinic, With Merci Foundation and so many more. D.J. understands the platform he was given when he became an NFL player and believes it is his responsibility to take advantage of it to help make a difference in the community. A recent quote from D.J. sums up his positive character: "I hope that D.J. Reader is remembered of being a man, and just not a football player, not anything crazy. I just want to be known one day as a father, a husband, and a man. Just a man, a people's man. Somebody that everybody is going to look at and say, 'I respect that guy.' And that means the most to me. That would be the greatest accomplishment of my life."
D.J. is extremely giving of his time on #TexansCare Tuesdays, volunteering to attend school pep rallies, disaster relief efforts, volunteer efforts, events for the United Way, Houston Texans Foundation fundraisers, and anything else asked of him. He is a "go-to" guy in the locker room for community events and is supportive of good causes across the city on behalf of the organization and on his own time. He easily connects with the children that he meets instantly putting them and everyone else around him at ease and is making a positive impact on youth in Houston with his messages around health, wellness, and the importance of education.