Bengal’s DE Michael Johnson finances college expenses for First Generation Students

CINCINNATI, OH October 7, 2011— As a 3 sport athlete at Dallas County High School, many remember NFL Defensive End Michael “MJ” Johnson for his prowess on the court, field or diamond. However Johnson was making stellar plays within the classroom as well. Graduating at the top of his class and volunteering as a tutor throughout college, Michael continues to use his passion for education to make a difference in the lives of the youth of Cincinnati.

For the second consecutive year, MJ is supporting the University of Cincinnati’s Gen-1 program. Johnson will cover housing and tuition costs to ease the burden of 3 promising local students that would not have been able to afford college otherwise. The on-campus living facility, Gen-1 House, which first opened in 2008, serves freshmen who are most at risk for dropping out of college – first generation, Pell eligible students – by providing a 24/7 structured living and learning environment, as well as tutoring and mentoring support.

The charitable gifts are an extension of Johnson’s MJ93 Fund. MJ created the fund to further his desire to support children in their journey to achieve their destined greatness. Under a motto of; “See it First … Vision for Success”, its mission is to support programs which mentor, tutor and sponsor camps that will provide exposure for scholarships and post-graduate education.

For Michael Johnson his sincere empathy toward helping others started at an early age with a compassion cultivated by perhaps his biggest influence [and fan]; his mother, Mrs. Thomasene Johnson. “I am so proud of my child.  He continues to bless me with his maturity and the decisions he’s making,” she proclaims.

“I can really see that he listened to what we taught him growing up. Most of the time, children will test their upbringing and he’s done that…but I believe he’s finally come to that comfortable place in his life where he truly knows we gave him the best of both of us, and he appreciates it. God is good!” Mrs. Johnson added.

To stimulate additional contributions, Johnson recently volunteered to host an Open House fundraiser for Gen-1. Aimed at Raising awareness and support, the event showcased and sold pieces from the collection of local, up and coming tie designer Corwyn Thomas. A portion of the proceeds from each tie sale was donated to UC’s Gen-1 House. As a result of the success of the event, the donations will be funding Gen-1 housing for two additional sophomores.

Outside of his participation with Gen-1, Johnson has worked with Cincinnati-based Sunny Delight to speak to youth audiences about the importance of recycling on our planet for the brand’s “Binit2Winit” recycling initiative. Johnson also founded the Annual Michael Johnson Youth Football and Cheer Camp. 2012 will be its 3rd year.

For more on Michael Johnson or Gen-1 House please visit :  Gen 1 Theme House

PHOTOS COURTESY OF UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI GEN-1 THEME HOUSE