Former NBA star Magic Johnson is launching a new initiative to combat high school dropout rates in Chicago.

Magic Johnson Lawndale Bridgescape Academy targets at-risk students aged 13-21, and the “Friends of Magic” program is an extension of the academy.

From The Chicago Sun-Times:

The basketball superstar-turned-business powerhouse chose Chicago to launch his effort to create a network of foundations, businesses and individuals providing help to dropouts and at-risk teens to stay in or return to high school.“Friends of Magic” will offer tutoring, mentoring and jobs, a formula advocated by local groups such as the Black Star Project, which this spring spearheaded a mass black male graduation ceremony to combat dropout rates with mentoring and jobs. Students who filled the desks at the West Side academy — one of two Johnson is to open here this year, the other on the South Side — were mostly black males, who in CPS have the highest dropout rate: about 1 in 8 in 2010.

Read more at The Chicago Sun-Times


Johnson was brought to tears when student Hamen Cross, 18, who attends the academy introduced him during the launch ceremony. “The exuberance the advisers bring forth every day makes it easier to achieve the goals I’ve set,” Cross said. “Mr. Johnson, you are an inspiration not only to me, but the world at large.”

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Common also spoke at the event.

Way to go Magic!

Now here is a man who is making a difference.

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