Charles Harris isn’t just looking for a like, retweet or share on social media. He’s looking for service.
The Lincoln Prep and Missouri graduate recently made his way out back to his hometown of Kansas City, donating $100,000 toward Lincoln Prep’s football stadium.
For Harris, it was an easy decision. He had no second thoughts. As soon as he got his signing bonus with the Dolphins, he took 10 percent off the top to give back to the communities that raised him.
“That’s the first thing I did,” Harris said. “I told my financial advisor that I needed 10 percent of that taken out to use and donate out. I used 5 percent here and 5 for community. The shoes for Missouri, for backpacks and supplies at my nephew’s school. So many things I’ve done already and more of what I need to do.”
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Harris, 23, is finishing up his first offseason with the Miami Dolphins. Training camp looms in a little more than a week.
He might be spending most of his time in Miami now, but he hopes that others in his family will follow his footsteps and go to Lincoln Prep.
“If I can, I want my whole family going to Lincoln. Going to Lincoln had the biggest impact on me,” Harris said. “When I went to Lincoln it was great. The teachers were genuine and they were a lot of help. Them and the staff, they were everything. What lacked was the financial aspect and getting everything together.”
Harris didn’t need a lot of inspiration to come back to Kansas City and donate money. He recalled his time growing up, and remembering what the facilities were like. As soon as he got the chance, he wrote a check and got on a plane back home.
“I know the facilities, the fields, the other schools — why would I not try to come home and clean up?” he said. “I’ve been there, I came here and I’m a product of it.
“I know the stigmas with it and the challenges that it faced. I wanted to give back to the places I have been.”
The mission doesn’t stop here.
“My vision is so great, but right now I gotta build relationships,” Harris said. “Things are expensive and giving back is expensive, but the relationships and partnerships you get out of it are priceless. I just like people seeing me for what and who I am. I want a brand that is genuine.”
Giving back financially is Harris’ way of helping. What he wants from others in his former community is service.
“It doesn’t matter how big or how small, I’m done with support,” he told a small audience gathered in his honor at his alma mater last week. “Forget about support, no more support. We need service. People giving their time to others. Before you go home and make dinner, why not walk around the school and get to know the school? Just to see what it is.
“I’m done with support. I don’t want any likes, no retweets, no tweets, no shares, I’m done with it. I want service. I want people that live here to actually start giving back. There will be brighter days, I know there’s a plan. We are all just a part of it.”