On November 5, 11 youth involved in the Family Home Program at Boys Town Louisiana earned the opportunity to go shoe shopping with CJ Gardner-Johnson, a safety for the New Orleans Saints.
Earlier this year, CJ brought pizza over for dinner to get to know the youth in one of the Family Homes. He wanted to build a relationship with them and get to know their plans for their future careers. He told them that if they keep up the good behavior and clean rooms, they would receive an award. They had no idea this reward would be shoe shopping.
Each child was able to pick out a new pair of shoes for keeping their promise of good behavior and consistently clean rooms. They went to Footlocker at Lakeside Shopping Center and browsed through their wide selection of shoes until they found the perfect pair.
CJ Gardner-Johnson just finished his first season with the Saints. He was a fourth-round pick from the University of Florida. CJ was inspired to help kids in the foster care system because of his mom and her hard work of providing same homes for foster kids and helping them achieve success despite their challenges in the system.
When CJ signed with the New Orleans Saints, he knew he wanted to help his new community. He found Boys Town Louisiana and related to the children and families they serve because he is a new dad himself and just a few years older than some of the young men at Boys Town.
CJ Gardner-Johnson continued to show support to Boys Town Louisiana throughout the NFL season. On December 8, NFL players around the league took part in the 'My Cause, My Cleats' campaign. This event allowed players to express their commitment to the causes that are important to them. CJ's cleats were designed for Boys Town Louisiana and their community partner, Raintree Children and Family Services. The cleats included names of young men and women residing within these two communities.
Boys Town Louisiana is thankful for this partnership with CJ Gardner-Johnson and all he is doing to help the community. The Family Home program hope to go to a Saints game to see CJ play in person and cheer him on!