Eagles, Sixers host holiday event for Philadelphia kids

The Philadelphia Eagles, REFORM Alliance and Philadelphia 76ers hosted over 30 children from the Greater Philadelphia region. Alex Subers for Fanatics and Shareif Ziyadat for REFORM Alliance

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Eagles teamed up with REFORM Alliance and the 76ers on Tuesday to provide a unique holiday experience for over 30 local children who have been negatively impacted by the criminal justice system.

The kids, who have had a parent either incarcerated or on extended probation for technical violations, were each able to become an "Eagle for the Day."

They were greeted by Philadelphia-born musician and REFORM co-chair Meek Mill and Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin at the NovaCare Complex in South Philly, where they participated in a junior combine complete with a 40-yard dash alongside players like Darius Slay, Jordan Mailata and Dallas Goedert.

Coach Nick Sirianni spoke with the group and each child signed a one-day contract with the Eagles. General manager Howie Roseman welcomed the "free agent class" before quarterback Jalen Hurts. Rubin and Mill also gave a special address.

"Having those kids, presenting those kids with something they'll remember for the rest of their lives, it definitely affects me when you have the opportunity to impact people the way that we do," said Hurts, who attended multiple community events Tuesday, including a trip to W.B. Saul High School to honor 14-year-old Nicolas Elizalde who was fatally shot in September after a scrimmage at Roxborough High School.

"It's all about trying to create better opportunities for our future and I think there are a number of ways you can do that," he said. "And I think given the platform I have, I try and do it in a way where I can be present and give them that encouragement in person and tell them that you have somebody that cares."

REFORM Alliance is a non-profit, co-founded by Mill, that "aims to transform probation and parole by changing laws, systems and culture to create real pathways to work and wellbeing."

After the Eagles event, the families headed over to the Wells Fargo Center for the "76ers VIP Gameday experience" where the children took part in a Q&A with 76ers head coach Doc Rivers and participated in a pregame bell ringing ceremony alongside Rubin and Mill before taking in the game from VIP boxes and courtside.

"This event serves as a nice reminder of how lives can be transformed by simply coming together and using the power of sport to uplift the community," Mailata said. "I never take for granted the role I have as a professional athlete and the influence I can have on others, especially children. I take that role and responsibility seriously."