The Orlando Magic’s Tobias Harris was named winner of the 2013-2014 Rich & Helen DeVos Community Enrichment Award (CEA) Saturday night at the 24th Annual Orlando Magic Youth Foundation (OMYF) Black Tie & Tennies Gala presented by INDOCHINO held at the Amway Center. This marks the first time Harris has won the award. The other finalist for the award included Jameer Nelson.
Each year at the Gala, the OMYF honors a player who has dedicated his efforts off the court for the purpose of enhancing other’s lives. A panel of representatives selects the player. In addition to receiving the award, Harris will be granted $50,000 from the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation to donate to the charity of his choice.
Harris has consistently volunteered his time off the court and to the Central Florida community supporting the initiatives of the Magic’s community relations department, the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation and the NBA. Highlights of his community involvement for the 2013-14 season include:
· Visited with and provided encouragement to youth at Nap Ford Community School in the Parramore neighborhood. Participated in pregame meet and greets with terminally ill children. Visited with pediatric patients at Florida Children’s Hospital over the holidays.
Co-sponsored a turkey giveaway for local families, meeting and distributing the turkeys and meals to more than 200 families. Participated in the Magic Player Ticket Program by purchasing over 300 tickets for children at Nap Ford Community School, Coalition for the Homeless and Rosemont Community Center to attend Magic home games.
· Hosted a group of underprivileged youth at a movie over the summer.
· Surprised three deserving local families with Christmas gifts during the holidays by personally visiting each of their homes on Christmas Eve.
· Hosted a meet and greet prior to a Magic home game with 30 children from The Coalition for the Homeless and provided them with gifts for the holiday season.
· Setting up a mentoring program for young boys at Howard Middle School.
· Served as the Magic’s NBA Cares ambassador for the #NBAGiveBIG initiative.
· Participated as a volunteer in Magic’s Habitat for Humanity build service project.
Past winners of the award include Nick Anderson (1995-1996), Penny Hardaway (1996-1997), Darrell Armstrong (1997-1998, 1999-2000), Grant Hill (2000-2001), Monty Williams (2001-2002), Tracy McGrady (2002-2003), Pat Garrity (2003-2004), Bo Outlaw (1998-1999, 2005-2006, 2006-2007), Dwight Howard (2004-05, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12), J.J. Redick (2011-12) and Jameer Nelson (2012-13).
Earlier this year, the Orlando Magic Youth Fund, a McCormick Foundation Fund (OMYF-MFF), presented checks totaling $600,000 to 25 grantee organizations. The organizations are also being recognized during various home games throughout the season.
The OMYF is committed to helping children in Central Florida realize their full potential, especially those most at-risk, by supporting nonprofit organizations offering youth based programs in the areas of education, housing/homelessness, and health programs focused on preventing childhood obesity.