• Family Focus: 17-year-old non-profit owner receives award from National Civil Rights Museum

    By: Lauren Coleman

    Updated:

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The 17th annual Keeper of the Dream award ceremony is just days away. Each year, the national civil rights museum highlights young people in the Mid-South making a difference in their communities. 

    In this week’s Family Focus, FOX13's Lauren Coleman talks with one of this year's lucky recipients.

    Brooklyn Johnson is a senior at St. Mary’s Episcopal School. At just 17-years-old she’s already the founder of a non-profit. 

    It’s called Empower Memphis

    Empower Memphis is a nonprofit which works to provide a safe place for kids to go during the breaks off school,” Johnson explained.

    FOX13 was there when Johnson held her first Empower Memphis summer camp in May. 

    The 4-day camp provided activities for children in kindergarten through 8th grade. 

    The activities centered on dance and cheer - Johnson’s first love. 

    “A lot of them rely on school as a safe place to go to get the nutrition they need. When school is out and summer camps don’t start, they still need that place to go,” Johnson said.


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    Johnson said she worked diligently over the course of her junior year to develop the non-profit. Securing donations for food and rallying her classmates to volunteer. 

    “We asked family [and] friends for help and guidance on where to start the process, and they gave me a list of paperwork I would need and contact information to reach out to other people.” 

    ORIGINAL STORY: Mid-South teen starts nonprofit to help families during ‘gap week' after school ends

    Her hard work is now getting major recognition. She is one of five recipients receiving the Keeper of the Dream Award. 

    The National Civil Rights Museum and International Paper is honoring young people in the Mid-South who have demonstrated a commitment to ensuring equal rights and opportunities for others. 

    We asked Johnson, what does that award mean to her, why was it important for her to apply? 

    She said, “It really made me think, if someone is this proud of me, I should be even more proud of myself for working through something that’s this hard. This is time consuming all by myself on top of my junior year getting ready for college.” 

    The 17th annual Keeper of the Dream award will be presented on Oct. 30th. The winners will be recognized at the “student forum” which is the opening Freedom Award event.

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