Talk about a full-circle moment!
Steelers’ draft pick Najee Harris threw a draft party for youth at the homeless shelter he used to live as a child, Sports Illustrated reports.
Before the 2021 draft started, Harris returned to the homeless shelter, ran by the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program (GRIP). He threw a draft watch party complete with food for the current residents. Harris, his parents, and four siblings all lived in the shelter for several years when he was a student in middle school.
Harris was a star athlete at The University of Alabama, rushing for 1,224 yards and averaging 5.9 yards a carry as a junior. He was the Doak Walker Award recipient last season, representing the top in the nation, rushing for 1,466 yards. He stayed at Alabama despite buzzing as a potential draft pick for some time, helping them win another national championship. Now Harris has been drafted to the NFL, being chosen as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ No.24 draft pick.
“It was really emotional for my mom. Almost as if she was crying, in a way, because we have a lot of memories here. That was a time in my life when it was really low,” he said.
Kathleen Sullivan, executive director of GRIP, spoke to reporters about the moment.
“Just to see him as a grown man with this kind of opportunity for him today and to know that he lived in this shelter among many other places their family had to move around and lives as a homeless man just speaks to the [fact that] anything is possible,” Sullivan said.
Harris said it was just his time to pay it forward.
“There was a time I needed a helping hand. They gave us an opportunity to get back on our feet. So it is my job to give back,” he said.
Congratulations Najee, continue to lift as you climb!
Photo Courtesy of Mr. Mike Frost