Thursday, July 24, 2014

Charles Johnson spends off season giving back to community

 July 23, 2014 – As training camp approaches, Charles Johnson of the Carolina Panthers knows he has stayed busy in the off season. He clocked in endless hours of workouts and strived to improve every aspect of his game. But Johnson’s time was not spent just focusing on improving himself as a player. He also worked endlessly to hold a Sports Academy and Community Weekend in his hometown, which included awarding two $20,000 scholarships, hosting an area college fair and donating equipment to his former high school.

Johnson is confident in the success of every workout he completed and every life that he touched and child he inspired. He continually emphasizes the importance of remembering where he came from, but also the potential that each individual has if they work hard and strive to succeed in school.

The Charles Johnson Foundation held its third annual Sports Academy and Community Weekend in Hawkinsville, Ga. on June 20 and 21. The event brought more than 1,000 participants to football, basketball, tennis, cheerleading and dance clinics.

Participants in the various Sports Academy clinics were guided by volunteers, current and former members of the NFL and NBA, as well as Charles Johnson and his defensive line coach for the Carolina Panthers, Eric Washington.

In addition to Johnson and Coach Washington, NFL and NBA participants included: Devean George (Former NBA player), Thomas Davis (Carolina Panthers), Anthony Dixon (Buffalo Bills), Fernando Velasco (Free Agent), Captain Munnerlyn (Minnesota Vikings), Leonard Pope (Free Agent), Stephen Tulloch (Detroit Lions), Corvey Irvin (Free Agent) and Justin Houston (Kansas City Chiefs). Johnson’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, attended the event as well.

The foundation hosted a Community Night, which brought nearly 400 people out to celebrate Hawkinsville. With extra food from the Community Night, the foundation was able to serve 110 warm meals to those in need through its partnership with Deacons & Stewards, Inc. The foundation also donated water bottles and tennis rackets to Hawkinsville High School.

In addition to holding this event free-of-charge, Johnson and his foundation awarded two $20,000 scholarships to Hawkinsville High School senior student-athletes for the third consecutive year.

The foundation also hosted a college fair to educate students on higher education opportunities. Colleges in attendance included Albany State University, Central Georgia Technical College, Georgia Southwestern State University, Middle Georgia State College and South Georgia State College. Additionally, U.S. Marine Corps Recruiting Officers from the Warner Robbins Recruiting Office were in attendance.

“Hawkinsville is a very special place to me and it means a lot to be able to give back to my hometown,” Johnson said. “I really value the opportunity to help these kids make it to college through awarding scholarships, and through simply getting them thinking about pursuing higher education through the college fair.”

Many sponsors and volunteers donated their time and efforts and helped the foundation continue to hold the Sports Academy and Community Weekend free-of-charge for all participants. Sponsors for the event included Nike, Rosenhaus Sports Representation, Qixie 103.9, Dairy Queen Grill & Chill, Harveys Supermarket, Preston and Traci Moss, Papas' Pizza To-Go, Walgreens, Joseph Sapp and Innovative Therapy Concepts, Ace Hardware, popchips, Vita Coco, Pasta Chips, Quest Bars and Dick's Sporting Goods.

Charles Johnson is a native of Hawkinsville, Ga., and a proud alumnus of Hawkinsville High School. After attending the University of Georgia where he starred at defensive end, Charles was drafted by the Carolina Panthers of the NFL in 2007.

Through seven professional seasons, Charles has received All-Pro recognition on the strength of 54 career sacks, placing him among the premier pass-rushers in the league.

In 2012, Charles’ passion for philanthropy and loyalty to Middle Georgia led him to launch the Charles Johnson Foundation. A non-profit organization, the Charles Johnson Foundation is dedicated to fulfilling a two-fold mission:

•             Providing opportunities for under-served youth to reach their full potential through athletic, recreational, and educational programs and initiatives; and
•             Providing support for single African American mothers through proven programs and initiatives.

The Charles Johnson Foundation Sports Academy and Community Weekend is the flagship annual event for the Charles Johnson Foundation, combining his efforts to advance education with free sports clinics in basketball, dance, tennis, football and cheer.