CHARLOTTE – From his days as a high school football player in Alabama to his 11 seasons in the NFL, putting on a helmet was an almost daily routine for Roman Harper.
On Dec. 13, Harper gave out some helmets to deserving kindergarten and first-grade students at Idlewild Elementary School. But these helmets came with a free bike for a group of happy students that have excelled in the classroom.
In conjunction with Academy Sports, Harper helped give out 30 bikes and helmets to students at a ceremony attended by the students’ family and friends. Academy’s bike donation program is in its 17th year and occurs throughout December across Academy’s 16-state footprint. it will benefit more than 5,500 children this Christmas season.
“We are celebrating the children who were selected by their teachers because of their hard work this school year, their positive attitude this school year,” Idlewild counselor Lauren White said. “They have given their best effort.”
Harper, who played two of his 11 seasons in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers, gave the students a pep talk and then posed for pictures. Harper and his family call the Charlotte region home.
Harper played nine seasons with New Orleans, where he helped lead the Saints to a victory in Super Bowl XLIV. He also helped lead the Panthers to the Super Bowl in 2016.
“This is my first time to this school and it is a beautiful campus,” Harper said. “The teachers and counselors are very committed to the kids.”
Harper started his Harper’s Hope 41 Foundation in 2009. Its mission is to “prepare today’s youth for tomorrow’s challenges.” It tries to accomplish that through various educational and extracurricular activities.
In addition, the foundation seeks partnership opportunities with other programs and organizations that share their mission.
On the web: www.hope41.com.