Michael Johnson hosting ‘A Fun Day in the Park’ for local youths

Published 11:04 pm Thursday, July 12, 2012

Michael Johnson huddles up with attendees of his youth football and cheerleading camp earlier this year. Johnson will host an event at Ronnie Sharp Memorial Park on Saturday that will include games and food for local youths. -- File Photo

Selma native and Cincinnati Bengals’ defensive end Michael Johnson is once again looking to give back to the community and provide a fun-filled atmosphere for local children.

Michael Johnson will host ‘A Fun Day in the Park’ Saturday, July 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Ronnie Sharp Memorial Park.

The event is free for children of all ages, and Michael said he’s just looking to provide a fun day for all.

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“It’s just an opportunity to let the kids in the community come out, play together, and for everybody to just have a good time,” Michael said. “Anybody that knows me knows I’m about having a good time, so before I head off to camp I get to see a lot of people and just have a good day out in the heat. I know it’s going to be hot, but we’re going to have a good time out there.”

There will be a 3-on-3-basketball tournament for ages 13-18, volleyball, music, prizes and food will be provided.

Michael’s mother, Thomasene Johnson, said the day will include fun, as well as some educational aspects for the community’s youths.

“CARE Ambulance is going to bring a truck out, and Dr. Dave Dagostino [of Sarrell Dental and Eye Centers] is going to have a table set up to teach the children how to take care of their teeth,” Thomasene said. “The idea behind it is to teach children how to be involved in competitive play, as well as adding a little educational touch to it by having by Dr. Dagostino and CARE Ambulance there.”

Thomasene added the day in the park aims to show children what opportunities are out there for them and to build their vision for the future.

“That’s the general idea behind it is that he [Michael] wanted to do something else to help the kids build a vision for their future,” Thomasene said. “So often there are a lot of kids who just don’t have everything available to them, so somebody else who has succeeded in some area of life can come back just to give back. It helps build that vision for them. It also teaches children that anything is available if you just set your mind to it and go to work. That’s always the key — making your mind up what it is you want to do and then putting the work in. Giving back is important because these children are our future, and if you don’t show them what’s available, some of them will never do something different.”

Michael said he’s thankful to all those who help put on events like this one and his annual youth football and cheer camp.

“I just want to thank everybody who supports myself and everything that goes on in the community,” Michael said. “All the friends and people that help to put this day together, they’re really the ones who did all the muscle and all of the hard work.

“I just appreciate everything from the friends, family, to the community people for being supportive and helping out in whatever is going on.”