By Chevont’e Alexander
Ms. Janice Johnson, Executive Director of the Rudi Johnson Foundation (RJF) is doing just that, creating champions with her desire, dream, and vision of giving back to the community. She is the mother of former NFL All-Pro Rudi Johnson. Rudi Johnson was one of the league’s premiere running backs for the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Rudi Johnson Foundation builds communities. The foundation started in 2005, and is an outgrowth of Janice and Rudi Johnson’s desire to give back to the community and promote the well being of its residents through collaborations with other agencies and direct assistance to individual efforts to reach and maintain self -sufficiency. The foundation works to provide funding for youth programs and facilities, mentoring and tutorial services, scholarship opportunities, affordable housing, as well as economic development in low-income areas.
RJF seeks to positively impact, both socially and economically, the community it serves by:
- Providing charitable assistance to families and children in order to enhance and stabilize their lives
-Providing charitable assistance to young adults who aspire to be professional athletes
-Providing charitable assistance for young adults through educational scholarships, and crisis support
-Providing educational experiences and opportunities for children to supplement their learning experiences to prepare them to compete in a global economy.
-Collaborating and partnering with various social service agencies, private institutions, and government entities in their execution of programs which target the same or similar populations and issues.
“The foundation does a lot. We want to assist people in becoming self-sufficient and offer new opportunities to children and adults that they would not normally see in their communities or schools,” says Executive Director, Janice Johnson.
Helping Hands R.I.S.E and S.H.I.N.E.
RJF has several programs and services for families, communities, and youth. Some of these include:
RUDI’S KIDS PROGRAM
The Rudi’s Kids program is designed to recognize, motivate and reward elementary school children who excel in the classroom during the school year. Children receive certi?cates of achievement, educational rewards, and are recognized by their peers and their school.
RUDI’S KIDS MEAL AND TRIP PROGRAM
The Rudi’s Kids trip and meal program provides funding for children who are unable to pay for their lunch or school trips due to emergencies or family hardship and ensures that no child in the adopted school will have to forgo lunch or an educational experience due to lack of family funds.
Habla Espanol is a Spanish pilot initiative to bring the foreign language experience to children at an early age. Research has indicated that the best time for a child to learn a foreign language is in pre-k or kindergarten. The Foundation promotes the idea of students beginning foreign language study in the earliest environment and has initiated a program that serves students 3-10 years of age.
The student will begin to learn the Spanish language as well as the culture. The Foundation believes that children must be well equipped to compete in a global economy and ?uency in a second language is a top priority.
The Helping Hands initiative extends our support to community members who are in crisis due to unforeseen circumstances, or hardship. The goal is to assist the family or individual to become self-sufficient or maintain self-sufficiency. This may be accomplished through counseling, partnering with other agencies, referrals or grant awards.
HARRIET FISCHER SCHOLARSHIP FUND
The Harriet Fischer Scholarship Fund awards scholarships to graduating high school seniors to support their matriculation into college. The scholarship is awarded annually and may be based on need or merit.
CHRIS WHITE SCHOLARSHIP FUND
The Foundation also supports the Chris White Scholarship Fund, which is given to a graduating senior athlete in support of matriculation into college and in honor of Matoaca High School’s outstanding athlete Chris White.
Interested scholarship applicants should contact The Rudi Johnson Foundation at (804) 524-2352 for further details.
The Rudi Johnson Foundation has awarded $43,739 in scholarships to students in the area.
Project R.I.S.E is a community outreach program of The Rudi Johnson Foundation primarily to serve the educational and charitable needs of the youth of the community locally, nationally, and internationally. Since the inception of RISE, the organization has been able to host the RISE Summer Program, Stuff-the-Bus Community Day, Bone Marrow Drives, and the Gift of Sight Event.
Project R.I.S.E is a community organization dedicated to helping youth make changes in their lives through community service, academic support, leadership development, educational activities, and athletic involvement.
R.I.S.E. provides regular weekly recreational, educational, cultural, and leadership activities to 100+ youth. The project builds the self-esteem and self-awareness of our youth in hopes of helping them to avoid the dangerous pitfalls of truancy, displacement from the home, or issues with the juvenile court systems
PROJECT S.H.I.N.E. (Successful Honorable Intelligent Noble Emeralds)
Project S.H.I.N.E is a program that is in direct response to the growing number of young people who are experiencing life struggles as they approach their teenage years, which include peer pressure, family dynamics issues, economic, social, and academic stressors of everyday life. PROJECT S.H.I.N.E. teaches self-awareness, builds self-esteem, and mentors youth. The project also focuses on leadership development.