2004-01-09 / Sports

Charity Game Benefits Johnson Tutorial Program

By Elio Velez
Charity Game Benefits Johnson Tutorial Program By Elio Velez

The charitable basketball game that will be held on January 16th starting at 7 p.m. at M.S. 198 on Beach 56 Street will serve a good cause. The game will bring together the St. John Baptist Church vs. The WWRL Radio 1600 "Magic" Basketball Team. The proceeds will benefit the Josephine Johnson Reading/Math Tutorial Program.

Johnson was a devoted and tireless fighter of many causes who passed away on July 4, 2002 after succumbing to colon cancer. She was involved in many activities and programs in the Rockaway. Before passing away, Johnson served as Congressman Gregory W. Meeks’ chief of staff and was a devoted member of St. Jon Baptist Church.

The program was started 10 years ago by Johnson because she felt that the children in the community would need help in improving their academic skills. Along with St. John Baptist Church, Johnson worked tirelessly to give kids from kindergarten through high school the chance to succeed.

"She made a big impact on our church", remarked Deacon Willie Tipton. "The program was made to help kids with reading and math. She wanted kids to have an education."

Deacon Motanya Gladden noted Johnson’s energetic work towards education. "Education was her pet peeve. She really labored in that area and our pastor James D. Williams said to her that he would name the program after her in her honor", Gladden said. "We’re praying that it will evolve and benefit a larger part of our community, especially what is going on with our schools". Deacon Tipton believes that basketball is one of many sports that will keep children and young adults active. "The athletic program motivates people. We want to reach out with the sports and give them something to do and keep them off the streets".

The program is not just meant to benefit people who go to St. John Church but the entire community according to Deacon Gladden. He says it will help to bridge the gap between adults and children. The basketball game will feature children, teens and young adults on the St. John Crusaders team. Tickets can be purchased at St. John’s Baptist Church on Beach 74 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard Monday-Friday between 9:30-1:30 p.m. Tickets are $5.00 for adults and $3.00 children.

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