NBA Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson launched a new Chicago-based initiative, “Friends of Magic,” on Sept. 18, aimed at helping at-risk students, including students who have dropped out of school, graduate from high school.
“God is so good,” Johnson said during a press conference to announce the organization. “All you want to do is help these incredible young people achieve their goals in life. I’ve been so blessed in my life. I’m just trying to give back to the same community I came from. This is what it’s all about.”
Johnson, along with Grammy-winning artist and actor Common and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, hosted the event at Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academy, an education facility founded by Johnson. Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academy contracts with Chicago Public Schools to help dropouts.
“When you take time to give back, it’s really saying something,” Common told Jet Magazine. “We know in Chicago, we have to give back. We all want to stop this violence.”
According to Johnson’s organization, there is a 21-percent non-graduation rate nationwide, yet 74 percent of dropouts said they’d stay in school if given the chance. The goal of Johnson’s organization is to give these students a second chance and help them succeed by providing “educational resources, internships and real-world experience.”
Johnson has Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academy locations in Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, North Carolina and Ohio.