Just before Christmas, thirty-five kids in Philly were given the chance to become Eagles for a day at the team’s NovaCare Complex, where they were able to part in a mini-combine that ended with the chance to sign a one-day contract and report as a true member of the team.
The program was created in partnership with Robert Kraft’s REFORM Alliance. REFORM works to help those who have been affected by the prison and parole systems. With support from multiple partners and investors, Robert Kraft’s REFORM program seeks to help people in and affected by prison and parole systems build pathways to happier, healthier lives.
The Eagle For a Day program was designed to support kids who have experienced difficulty due to a parent or other loved one’s involvement in the prison and parole system. Meek Mill, a rapper from Philadelphia, took part in the Eagle For a Day program. The musician gained further notoriety following his incarceration in 2017, which promoted awareness about the criminal justice system in the U.S. The rapper’s imprisonment led to the development of REFORM, as it brought to light the difficulties that many people have working their way out of the system following a sentence.
Michael Rubin, REFORM Alliance co-chair, is proud of what the organization has already been able to accomplish.
“We’ve been at this since 2019, we’ve passed 16 different laws in 10 states, and created a pathway to get 650,000 people off of probation,” said Kraft.
Robert Kraft, Shawn “Jay-Z” Cartner, Rubin, and Mill worked together to create REFORM in an effort to help kids see that there is a different path than what they may have been shown.
Of REFORM’s efforts to change the paths of kids affected by the criminal justice system, Rubin said, “We want them to believe in themselves, we want them to believe that the life they’ve seen and how they were brought up isn’t the way they will live in the future. We want them to dream big and do big things in the future.”
Mill wasn’t the only celebrity in attendance at the event. Eagles For a Day kids also got to interact with Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni, quarterback Jalen Hurts, general manager Howie Roseman, cornerback Darius Slay, tight end Dallas Goedert, cornerback Avante Maddox, and offensive tackle Jordan Mailata.
As an Australian who went through the International Pathway Program offered by the NFL, Mailata is proud to have the chance to have a positive impact on the life of Philly kids. He came from a tough upbringing, and he’s proud to be able to use his platform to help kids who are growing up in similar situations.
When speaking of the REFORM program, Mailata said, “They really humble you and remind you of where you came from if you share the same the walk of life of these kids. That’s why I do it. It humbles me. It’s an opportunity to give back wherever I can. And to see the kids’ faces at the end of the day; players don’t understand that they make kids’ days. They can make a kid’s day or they can break it. That’s what it’s all about, just making a kid’s day even if it was for a couple hours.”
The Eagles are eying up the Super Bowl, and Mailata said that spending time with kids provides them a chance to take a step back and think about what really matters–making a difference in the lives of children.
Of his time encouraging kids, Mailata said, “Takes you out of your reality that you live every day and reminds you of how small you really are in this universe.”