On Saturday, June 12th, Texans DB Lonnie Johnson Jr. hosted the inaugural 'Protect the Youth' Football Camp, gathering more than 300 campers between the ages of 8-18 years old for a hands-on football experience in his hometown of Gary, Indiana.
"There's a lot of talent out here," said Johnson. "It's not just a rough city. It's a city with lots of people that have dreams and hopes, and it's my job to help shed a light on that."
The 300 campers received one-on-one football instruction from Johnson, as well as Kawann Short, JonVea Johnson, Antonio Pipkin and Ryan Neal, but the biggest outcome of the camp was the ability to share an opportunity unlike any other to the community of Gary, Indiana.
"A couple of kids and parents came up to me during and after the camp sharing their thanks and appreciation," said Johnson. "There was nothing like this in Gary for a long time, so it made me feel good. It made me feel like I did my job."
The kids in Gary, Indiana weren't the only ones with a first. Johnson got to achieve a goal he never pictured being able to do alongside an outpour of support from the community:
"The things I do or have done since I have been in the NFL, to give back to the city and the community, it means everything. I honestly didn't expect myself to do anything like this growing up, but finally making it here and executing every plan I think of or create is big. I just want to keep giving back to the community, shed light and shed hope."
Johnson hopes to continue to the tradition of this youth football camp, with the focus always being about the kids and their potential.
"Gary, Indiana is a city with lots of people that have hopes and dreams. It's my job to help shed a light on that. That's why it's called 'Protect the Youth.' I am just trying to protect them, protect their dreams, their minds, their hopes - whatever they have to make it."
Click here to learn more about the Lonnie Johnson Jr. 'Protect the Youth' Football Camp.
Texans DB Lonnie Johnson Jr. hosted the inaugural 'Protect the Youth' Football Camp, inviting more than 300 campers between the ages of 8-18 years old in Gary, Indiana on Saturday, June 12th for hands-on football experience.