“Najee Harris wanted to give back to celebrate a momentous moment in his life.
While appearing virtually on Friday’s episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the 23-year-old Pittsburgh Steelers rookie opened up about his decision to skip the NFL Draft event earlier this year in favor of throwing a party at a homeless shelter in Richmond, California, where he used to live.
When asked about his decision by guest host Rob Lowe, Harris called the draft “a special event” and thanked those who invited him, but said he felt he wanted to do something that revolved more around “giving back to my community.”
“I’m born and raised from the Bay Area, northern California, so there’s a homeless shelter there that I used to stay in,” the athlete said. “I felt it was the whole community of the Bay Area that helped me get to where I am today. So I decided to not go [to the draft] and to have [the party] in the Bay Area.”
“I wanted to do something for the kids to [let them know] I was once in your position, and I always want to be a motivation, like a big brother to kids like that,” Harris added. “I understand I can’t be everybody’s big brother, but I can play some part in that.”
Back in 2010, Harris, his four siblings and their mother lived in a small room at the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program, according to KPIX.
“His mother was instrumental in getting him and all those children through what would normally be the most horrific experience of their lives,” Kathleen Sullivan, executive director at the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program, told the news station of the family and Harris, who was just 12 years old at the time.
Speaking with KRON last month of the philanthropic event, Harris said, “Doing this really makes me and my family feel better.”
“It’s a subject, especially in the Bay Area, that needs to get shed light on,” he added. “The more that we are together, the more we can make everything happen, especially in good ways.”….
View the whole story here: https://people.com/sports/najee-harris-talks-skipping-nfl-draft-throw-party-homeless-shelter/