|Published:||Feb 12, 2014 10:59 PM EST|
|Updated:||Feb 12, 2014 11:58 PM EST|
FORT MYERS, Fla. - An NBA legend is bringing a little "magic" to a local organization in need. We're talking about Earvin "Magic" Johnson. Wednesday night, he pumped up a crowd of young people at a fundraiser for the Quality Life Center in Fort Myers which is facing foreclosure.
What's gone on for the last quarter decade at the Quality Life Center has been nothing short of magic. "We want our kids to understand self-sufficiency through self-discipline, self confidence," Shari Armstrong of the Quality Life Center said.
Known as "The Q," it's a safe haven, a learning center and a place of transformation for young people in Fort Myers.
"it keeps you out of trouble and helps you learn lots and lots of things," student Loucinda Pena said.
But this building on the corner of MLK Boulevard and Ford Street is on the brink of foreclosure. By mid-March, it could be no more. "If it shut down, I don't know what I'd do," student Tyrese Davis said.
So, leaders put out a desperate call to L.A. Lakers legend, Earvin "Magic" Johnson and he stepped in for the big assist. "As I see these young peoples' faces, I realize I should do my part," Johnson said. "So, I am going to invest $100,000 myself."
Johnson spoke at a fundraiser Wednesday, challenging local businesses to chip in. He said he honed his skills in a place just like "The Q" in Lansing, Michigan.
"They wouldn't let us play basketball until we did our homework and also, they helped us out with our homework," Johnson recalled. "They are doing great things and that's why I wrote the check and that's why I am here personally because I believe in the mission."
The larger-than-life NBA superstar made an immediate impression.
"I was like, he is so tall, oh my goodness," student Ana Yalathan said.
And now, to these kids, Johnson is not just tall, he's someone to look up to. "It means so much, not only to me, but to the children, to the community and what he shared was phenomenal," Quality Life Center Executive Director Abdul'Haq Muhammed said.
The Q is still working with a bank on a deal to avoid foreclosure. With Magic Johnson's help, as of tonight, they've raised $319,000. Their goal is $1.5 million.
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