National Promise of America Awards Honor Christian Work for Youth

( [email protected] ) May 14, 2004 08:04 AM EDT

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Two Christian men were honored with the National Promise of America Awards presented by The Alliance for Youth yesterday, May 13, for their work committing to improve the futures of our nation’s youth along with four other people.

The award ceremony took place at the White House hosted by First Lady Laura Bush with dinner. The two award winners who were recognized for their charity work based on the Christian values are Pastor Hal Johnson, a senior pastor of the Christian Stronghold Baptist Church, and David Robinson, a former NBA player and founder of the David Robinson Foundation, whose mission is to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the African-American and Hispanic family.

The other four winners are: Jewan Garner (New York, N.Y.), a 22-year-old leader of a volunteer service organization in Harlem, N.Y.; Ed Rust Jr. (Bloomington, Ill.), the chairman and CEO of a major U.S. corporation; Leatrice “Chick” Big Crow (Pine Ridge, S.D.), a Native American leader of the first Boys & Girls Club established on an Indian reservation; and Joe Gibbs (Ashburn, Va.), a legendary NFL football coach who established a residential home for at-risk boys and girls where they can develop the skills and confidence to lead healthy, productive lives.

According to The Alliance for Youth, the award is given to those contribute to the mission of the Alliance for Youth, which is to help every child develop the character and competence essential for success by ensuring that five fundamental needs, called the Five Promises, are fulfilled in their lives. The Five Promises are caring adults in their lives, safe places with structured activities during nonschool hours, a healthy start and future, marketable skills through effective education, and opportunities to serve.

In addition, the National Promise of America Awards reinforce the message that every individual, community, organization and corporation should use their talents and energy to help youth live up to their potential, learn the value of helping others, obtain the skills they need to be productive, self-sufficient students and adults, and feel proud of who they are.

“Whether mentoring and tutoring, providing after-school activities, using the power of faith to revitalize and unite neighborhoods, teaching marketable skills, or instilling the habits of civic engagement, each honoree demonstrates the power of the Five Promises to help young people succeed,” emphasized America’s Promise Co-chair Alma Powell. “Investing in our youth guarantees a positive return that directly benefits our nation. The Five Promises are simple, but remarkably powerful; they are the keys that are within our grasp to ensure that every child and young person achieves his or her full potential."

More about Pastor Hal Johnson, Sr. and David Robinson:

As senior pastor of the Christian Stronghold Baptist Church, Pastor Hal Johnson knows the power of faith to shape communities and support families. He has turned that knowledge into a very successful faith-based public and private partnership—the Stronghold Community Development Corporation—that is delivering the Five Promises to children and youth in Northeast Dallas.

Pastor Johnson and SCDC’s work serves an area known as Ferguson Road, which, like too many urban centers, has suffered from rising crime rates, school overcrowding and economic degeneration—all of which combined to put the neighborhood’s young people at risk. SCDC, under Pastor Johnson’s leadership, is working with Ferguson Road low-income apartment complexes to sponsor outreach ministries and Kid’s Clubs, which are enrichment programs that feature mentoring, tutoring and much-needed activities during nonschool hours. Pastor Johnson and SCDC are making great strides in achieving their mission to implement a holistic approach to community revitalization by strengthening young people and their families.

David Robinson is a study in commitment, faith and service. In 1987, after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy, he was the No. 1 draft pick of the San Antonio Spurs. The NBA team had to wait two years before he joined, however, as Robinson first served his tour of duty with the Navy. He then went on to have a brilliant 14-year career with the Spurs, with a list of accomplishments that clearly make him one of the sport’s greats. He has received countless accolades as an athlete and team leader, but these on-court accomplishments only begin to tell his story.

In 1992, Robinson and his wife, Valerie, founded the David Robinson Foundation, whose mission is to support programs that address the physical and spiritual needs of the family, in particular those programs which encourage educating children and developing positive, faith-based values. One of the Robinsons’ greatest philanthropic efforts was to establish The Carver Academy, which opened in September 2001. Located just east of downtown, the academy sits in a depressed area of San Antonio. Robinson selected this location because he wanted to inspire Carver graduates to come back and reinvest in the community. The David Robinson Foundation also provides financial support to numerous schools and charities that serve children and homeless people.