OAKLAND — Kendrick Bourne does not know exactly what the future holds for himself.
But less than a week before the start of NFL free agency, the 49ers’ wide receiver made the future a little more certain for some Oakland youth who will be heading to college in the fall.
Bourne and his Bourne Blessed Foundation teamed up with ServiceNow to provide Mac OS laptop computers to benefit 20 college-bound members of the OK Program on Thursday at West Oakland Youth Center.
The OK Program is designed to empower young Black men to transform their communities, while also working to improve relationships between law enforcement and African-American communities.
Bourne hopes to provide an example to young men in order for them to avoid some of the problems he said he brought on himself during high school.
Bourne's path to the NFL was not smooth. He played varsity football at Portland’s Benson High School as a freshman. Then, things nearly got away from him through a series of mistakes.
“I went through a lot of things, stealing, getting caught, just being in trouble, being suspended, skipping school,” Bourne said. “My senior year, I transferred high schools and figured it out.
“I focused on grades, focused on the right things. I started to see the right things come.”
Bourne attended Milwaukie Academy of the Arts as a senior. He played for former Benson assistant Don Johnson, who is now the director of player personnel at the University of Oregon.
Johnson provided Bourne with the mentorship and direction he needed to get his grades straightened out and earn a scholarship to Eastern Washington University.
“That’s what this is about today, having these kids see me, in person, see where I'm at and hear my story and help their journey,” Bourne said. “They might get through something because they heard me say something today.”
Bourne signed with the 49ers in 2017 as an undrafted rookie.
He appeared in 58 games in his four seasons, catching 137 passes for 1,769 yards and 11 touchdowns. Bourne is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent next week.
On Monday, Bourne’s agent, Henry Organ, can begin negotiating with teams other than the 49ers.
Bourne said he wants to end up with a team that has a good chance to win and where he will fit in. He already knows one team that meets those criteria.
“Niners (are) a place I fit in well,” Bourne said.
“I definitely want to be back. But I’m hoping for new options. So I’m excited to see what happens, see what the money looks like. We’ll see. That’s going to speak volumes.”
Bourne said the 49ers have made it clear they would like to re-sign him. But free agency will determine whether another team might value his services more.
“I know I’m wanted,” Bourne said. “The Niners assured me they want me back. I know that for a fact, so that’s a comfort in itself.
“This is is where I started. They let me in the door. And I’m always grateful for that. If it didn’t start with that, I wouldn’t be here now. I’m so willing to come back.”
Bourne has been an active member of the Bay Area community during his time with the 49ers. His foundation hosted a food giveaway in San Jose in June to assist those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Bay has a place in my heart forever,” he said.