Updated: May 22
(Photo by Collegiate Images via Getty Images)
Steelers' first-round pick Najee Harris was on The Ellen Show today with guest host Rob Lowe to talk about throwing an NFL Draft party for the community at the homeless shelter where he once lived and his new non-profit organization, Da’ Bigger Picture Foundation, which focuses on giving back to kids in need and homeless shelters.
"I'm born and raised from the Bay Area, Northern California, so there's a homeless shelter there that I used to stay in, and like I said, only certain people can be invited to the draft, so there's no way in hell, only this much people helped me out to get where I'm at today," Harris said on having his draft party at the homeless shelter that he once lived instead of going to the draft in Cleveland. "I feel it's the whole community of the Bay Area (that) helped me out where I am at today. So, I decided to not go (to the draft) and have it in the Bay Area in Richmond where there's a soup kitchen where I used to stay at with my family.
"I wanted to make sure that I did something for the kids, (for them to) know that I was once in your position. I always want to be a motivation, like a big brother to kids like that. I understand I can't be everyone's big brother, but I can play some part in some way."
Lowe followed up by asking Harris what advice would he give to a kid that is currently living in a situation that he once lived.
"I've been in their shoes, man, so I understand how embarrassing it can be to be in that position because I once was," Harris said. "I was really embarrassed sometimes, I remember I used to have football practice and I used to get dropped off at the corner just so people didn't know where I'm staying at, and I would walk the rest when I was a little kid. For the kids that's in that position and that's struggling and is going through these obstacles, I want to tell them that there's always light at the end of the tunnel. It may not seem like things are going well and things going your way, but there's a good saying that always helped me out, 'Faith is seeing light without your heart when all your eyes see darkness.' Even though that you might not see the light in the tunnel, there is better things out there in the future. You just got to keep on pushing."
Harris also talked in-depth about his new non-profit that he's starting to give back to people who are in need.
"Yeah, I'm starting my own non-profit, it's called the Da’ Bigger Picture Foundation," Harris told Lowe. "There are a lot of things I want to do, of course. I have a heavy focus on giving back to kids who are in need. I want to bring awareness to homeless shelters, of course, because I was once in that position and I want to help give homeless shelters what they need. One of the ways that I hope to get resources, of course, is my foundation. You can go on my page it's called Najee.net. I sell T's, hoodies and stuff like that. All the proceeds and the stuff that I raise it's all going back toward shelters, it's all going back to my non-profit, so we can help out other people. ... I'm moving fast with it, we already sold a lot of stuff, raised a good amount of money, and we're going to give back to all these homeless shelters and be a resource for them."
Lowe announced at the end of the interview that Ellen DeGeneres' friends at Shutterfly donated $10,000 to Harris' new non-profit.