Gophers making impact on Twin Cities youth

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While we try to stay abreast of all the good things our student-athletes do, there are often instances where we don't find out about it until someone calls or writes to say thanks or tell us what an impact a Gopher or group of Gophers made on someone.
Go Gophers! Lewis
Go Gophers!
Recently-graduated Gopher defensive back Christyn Lewis is one of many Gophers making a difference in the Twin Cities community.
Go Gophers!

Such is the case with the subject of this blog post. We recently heard from Randy Graff, who works as an Assistant Director for the St. Paul Parks and Recreation Department. Graff was so impressed with Gopher defensive backs Johnny Johnson and Christyn Lewis, who were both seniors last season, that he even dropped a note to head coach Jerry Kill singing their praises.

Johnson and Lewis have been volunteering at the Conway Recreation Center on the east side of St. Paul since January. The duo has been mentoring youth, encouraging physical fitness and serving as role models in the lives of the children who attend programs at Conway.

"The kids really looked forward to being able to spend time with Johnny and Christyn," Graff said. "It was great seeing Johnny and Christyn being positive role models to the kids and talking to them about life, school, sports and other problems they might have."


Eleven-year-old Treshawn Taylor is one of the youngsters who was impacted by the two Gophers.

"I liked it when they talked to us about when they were growing up," Taylor said. "I liked it when they played dodgeball and basketball games with us."

Graff relayed a story about one youngster who was struggling in science at school. He said Johnny asked him to bring his homework in and told him he would personally help him with it.

"That type of role model relationship is something these kids really need," Graff said. "It's really great to have athletes at a local university giving back to our local community."

Congratulations to Johnson (who will graduate this summer) and Lewis (who graduated this spring) for their dedication to area youth. 

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