PORTLAND, Ore. — Two NFL players from Portland are giving back to kids in the city where they grew up, helping them find success for both the present and future.
Star defensive end Ndamukong Suh, a former Grant High School standout, won this year's Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"The Super Bowl parade was one of a kind," said Suh. "Being able to be down here in Tampa on the water, floating throughout the city, being able to get on stage, really just enjoy and soak that up was a great experience."
While Suh and the Bucs made a run to the big game, back home in Portland, the Suh Family Foundation raised funds with Bae's Fried Chicken restaurant to give away 150 backpacks and supplies to middle and high school students in Portland.
"That's so important in our foundation," said Katya. "That's one of our main foundational pieces. It's education, it's huge in our family and we feel it should be in everyone's family too. So being able to give away these backpacks to set up kids for success as the school year rolls around so they're ready."
Suh shares a close bond with Brennan Scarlett, former Central Catholic High School star and now linebacker with the Miami Dolphins. They spend time training with each other in Oregon.
"He's really like a little brother to say the least," said Suh. "We have similar roots in both being Jamaican and our fathers know each other from the business world. Our relationship has been fun, interesting and competitive."
"He's become a mentor to me, both on and off the field, around business, the community and football of course. That's the relationship," said Scarlett.
Scarlett's Big Yard Foundation and the Suh Family Foundation teamed up to help launch the Stash 101 Summer School. The program helped teach 160 middle school kids from the Portland area about money.
"Financial literacy is so important," said Katya. "It was important when we were growing as young adults. When you go to college, you're kind of on your own financially when it comes to whether banks can send you credit cards or you need a loan for school or things like that. If you roll in and don't know about it, you can really find yourself in a hole. This was a way to prepare kids in our own backyard."
This kind of education has been a passion for the Suh Family.
"It's something that's not in the school districts. It's not prevalent for youth being in middle school or high school and we want to be able to change that because it's a real part of life, being able to understand how money works and being comfortable with it," said Ndamukong. "Everybody knows if you want to buy a car, get a house, your credit needs to be taken care of."
It was important for him to start at home, in Portland.
"The biggest thing is we wanted to make sure we took care of our backyard first and foremost," he said. "We have huge aspirations to take this across the country. Being able to partner with Stash 101 and create these great opportunities to not only help these kids, but afford them some things that we weren't afforded.
This hits home for Scarlett, who's been in the NFL since 2016.
"The city of Portland, [without] the love and care that it provided for me, I wouldn't be sitting here today. So when I think about the other kids and youth in my city that don't have that — I'm trying to provide that support system, whether that be through education or through financial literacy or even through community events," said Scarlett.
Both the Big Yard Foundation and the Suh Family Foundation have plans for other events coming up around the holiday season. For now, Suh and Scarlett are focusing on the NFL season ahead.
Suh's Bucs face Scarlett's Dolphins on Oct. 10.