PJ Harris

By Brandon Bless, Communications Intern

P. J. Harris balances his dreams of a professional football career, the challenges of having a seven-month-old son, Kavion, and his work as a youth counselor in Dittmer Cottage at Wyndham Lawn.

P. J. plays for the Lockport Rage, the newest of nine teams in the New York Amateur Football League (NYAFL), a semi-professional football league in Western New York.

Despite his small stature (5-foot-7, 155 pounds), Harris looks to become one of the elite running backs in the NYAFL this year.

"Next August I plan on trying out for the Arena Football League," said Harris. "It’s professional football, so we will see what happens."

The Arena Football League is a professional indoor football league. There are 19 teams in the league that span throughout the United States.

P. J. graduated from Lockport High School in 2005 where he excelled as a football player. Some of the football honors Harris has won include Western New York Running Back of the Year in 2005 and Defensive Player of the Section VI championship game in 2004.

"My junior year of high school was the most memorable in regards to football," P.J. said. "Our team went 7-1 and we won the Section VI championship."

After high school, P. J. played football at Erie Community College during the fall of 2005, but then transferred to Niagara County Community College, where they don’t have football.

"I’ve been playing football since I was six years old," P. J. said. "After I transferred to NCCC there was something missing in my life, so I decided to try out for the (Lockport) Rage."

For now, Harris brings his athleticism and energy to Dittmer Cottage.

"I love my job as a youth counselor," said Harris. "It’s a good feeling helping kids get their lives back on track.

"Working at New Directions gives me experiences that help me teach my own son right from wrong. It’s amazing the amount of joy you get from seeing your kid every day. It’s just a great feeling."

October 2007

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