Roschon Johnson reads to children, works in community garden, sponsors shopping spree

Published 1:11 pm Friday, June 14, 2024

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Roschon Johnson stood in the hallway Friday at Kids Harbor Learning Center in Groves, flipping through a children’s book and preparing himself to read to a group of excited children.

A look at his T-shirt and that of his crew accompanying him — “Roschon Johnson’s Day of Giving” — showed how he planned on spending the day.

Johnson was a Port Neches-Groves High School graduate before moving on to the University of Texas, where he played for the Longhorns.

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He was drafted in the fourth round for the Chicago Bears in 2023 and is a running back.

Johnson struck up conversation with Braxton LaFrance, Emmett Bullock and Ethan Bullock when talking about his younger days playing football. Johnson played on the white team, and the three boys played on the purple team, they said.

Johnson said the day was one to spend in the community and be actively involved. He spent time at Kids Harbor before heading to the Community Garden in downtown Port Arthur. He was set to bring a group of youth shopping at Dick’s Sporting goods in Beaumont Friday afternoon.

“This is my first time that I’ve had time to come back and give back fully,” Johnson said in between events.

On Saturday, Johnson is hosting a youth football camp at PNG High School. The event is touted as a day for fun and learning.

Being back in Southeast Texas was a treat for the NFL player.

“It’s great, seeing a lot of familiar faces and just seeing the kids in general. I think that helps,” he said. “It reminds me of how far I’ve come and ultimately, it’s a blessing to be able to be in this position to be an inspiration to another kid.”

He said he’s ready to be in the community and be an example.

Johnson’s manager, Lance Vaughn, said it means a lot to be able to give back to the youth and empower them.

“I know when we were younger this was something that we looked forward to, and to be ale to grow up and give back to the young kids,” Vaughn said.

Vaughn and Johnson played football at PNG High School when they were younger.

Kid’s Harbor owner Stacy Fitzgerald and employee Kasie Arceneaux explained what the visit from Johnson meant to the students.

“It helps foster the youth in a different way than what we can foster them as educators but as a role model to attribute this to,” she said.

Fitzgerald said it’s wonderful for someone that has done well to come back like this.

“He is a hometown hero and came back specifically to give to children. That’s what is the best,” she said.

Johnson and crew then loaded up and headed to the West Port Arthur Community Garden, 608 W 8th St., where they planted thornless blackberry bushes as well as okra and cucumbers.

Janie Johnson, CEO/Executive Director of United Way of Mid & South Jefferson County, said Valero built the garden in 2019.

Johnson said the garden is an investment to help with food insecurity and allow the United Way to hold workshops.

The garden has community beds and some that are adopted by various organizations. The produce that is harvested goes back to the community, Hospitality center and Southeast Texas Food Bank.