BRYAN, Texas — The son of an Aggie and a Bryan native, Roderick World Harris Jr. once used the Boys and Girls Club of the Brazos Valley to achieve his athletic dreams, but now he's using his knowledge and experience to help the next generation of club kids make their dreams a reality as well.
"I'm passionate about sports. I'm passionate about music. I'm passionate about art. I'm passionate about film. Those things wake me up in the morning," Harris Jr. said. "When I see these kids and adults and people around me passionate about the same thing, my only job is to say don't let the woes of the world stop you."
Most summers you could find a young Harris Jr. at the Boys and Girls Club of the Brazos Valley. He would be there from when they opened their doors to when they closed them, or sometimes even later, depending on if he had a ride home.
"You grew up with the friends from the Eastside, Westside, Castle Heights, College Station, and then you throw in Copperfield," Harris Jr. said. "Then you throw in all the different areas that came to play basketball at the Boys and Girls Club and so now you've got this whole community of friends."
With help from some of his mentors at the club like Lester Banks and Traci Thomas, and at home with his father who is a former Texas A&M and NFL wide receiver, Harris Jr. was able to take his talents on the football field from Bryan high to Blinn College and eventually the University of Kansas.
"My pops chose to be a committed athlete and he just made that who we were, like, you're gonna tie your own shoes. You're going to write your own name, and who's going to write it the best and who can write it the fastest?" Harris Jr. said. "My dad always said, it ain't a sport until you put the clock on. So everything we did was on the clock. We want to try to fit in as much as we can in these 24 hours of a day."
Now the Director of Athletics at the very same club that helped him achieve his dreams, Roderick is using his knowledge and experience to help the next generation of club kids make their dreams a reality too.
"They look up to him, he's an idol. They want to be like him. They emulate him, they dress like him," BGCBV Safety & Facilities Director, Traci Thomas said. "That says a lot about a person when you have a young person that you can reach, not just through how you talk to them but your actions."
Harris Jr. doesn't just give back to those at the Boys and Girls Club, he is also on the Parks & Recreation advisory committee in Bryan, as well as being on the naming committee for BISD's Ruby Haliburton auxiliary building.
In his free time, he makes music, takes acting classes, and serves his community in any way he can.
"I feel like we're put on this Earth to serve each other, and that's really the whole just of me," Harris Jr. said. "Everything else that I do is for fun. Football is fun. Music is fun. I like to do it. I'm passionate about it. But I feel like my job, my duty, my calling is to serve."