George F. Johnson Dream Center
For Community Empowerment
Make your dream a reality, and change a nation!
"Without a Vision, the people perish," and the vision for The George F. Johnson Dream Center is a springboard to action, an incubator for creative solutions; a call to keep the legacy of George F. Johnson alive, a legacy which says, "When we extend goodwill and provide opportunity, we empower others to better themselves and their families.”
What was the Dream of George F. Johnson?
It was a region that lived according to the "Golden Rule."
As loud voices clamored about the ills of his time, George F. Johnson quietly began a revolution. Possessing values that he attributed to his mother, Sarah Jane Johnson, George’s love for people, natural tenacity, and unusual courage caused him to triumphantly depart from the popular philosophy of his day to forge a path into unknown territory. This spirit is what attracted many to the Southern Tier of New York State and what resulted was, "the Valley of Opportunity." George F’s leadership propelled the eight-hour day, five-day work-week, a fair wage and benefits to becoming a reality in the United States of America. His vision shaped his sphere of influence; and then something funny happened-- it became a reality across America.
George F. Johnson helped change a nation and the Dream Center believes that each individual has been given the potential to do the same, alongside others. The great and rare privilege it is to live in a free society is what gives us the opportunity.
We see freedom as the opportunity to see how much good one person can do. Programs encourage us to look at the values behind George F. Johnson's life, his faith, his love for the ideals of our founding fathers, hard work, perseverance, and patience. This life is an inspirational model of how to build a life that leaves a legacy for future generations.
The George F. Johnson Dream Center will serve as a reminder that the Great Experiment of Self-Governance is only as good as the character of the individuals who are a part of her. The Center points individuals to find out who they are and why they are here, and connects such ones to others on this same high path.
1. Light a spark to live a life based on purpose and meaning;
2. Provide tools and guidance for individuals to discover passions, gifts and talents;
3. Set a course for personal development through education and skills acquisition;
4. Introduce how Life-coaching as a life-long philosophy builds on past legacies and begins new ones for future generations.
"What Legacy Will Your Generation Leave On the Earth?"
"What Legacy Are YOU Leaving on the Earth?"
The George F. Johnson Dream Center points the way to the power of partnership by assembling the generations to strategize to develop programs which help people out of dependency on flawed systems. We see leadership development as an essential to self-governance. To find out how you can get involved, Patricia Cardin, firstname.lastname@example.org. or 607-797-3938, Extension 113.
What’s Your Dream?
Find out at the Dream Center.
And then, in the Manner and Legacy of George F. Johnson,
Make it a Reality . . . and Change a Nation.
The Founding Of The Dream Center
When I moved to Broome County from Saratoga County, New York, I saw something here that I did not find present in other portions of New York State, a residual of goodwill, a quiet and unpretentious strength that endured through all of the economic downturns the region had experienced. I also sensed that there was something that the people wanted to preserve, something that kept them determined and hopeful-- in spite of year after year of factory closings and economic depression. I did not know where this spirit came from until I was a student at Binghamton University's School of Education and Human Development and did an independent study in a fourth-grade classroom at the Johnson City School District. There I learned about the legacy of George F. Johnson and remembered learning about him when I was in elementary school. My senior thesis as an undergraduate had been on Community Empowerment. The Dream Center was begun when my mentor, Dr. Daniel Ling, asked me to write down the vision I had been given for a Community Empowerment Center, and it turned out to be a vehicle for the George F. Johnson legacy of "lifting up the common man," to continue.
The result of "writing the vision down," was a fifteen-page strategic plan. At the time, I worked in the administration of the Children's Home of the Wyoming Conference, a regional treatment center for severely abused and neglected children. I saw a number of kids who were from the village of Johnson City discharged from the Home because they were doing well, who would end up right back in treatment. This is because there were scant youth supports for at-risk youth in Johnson City. In this poverty stricken community, gang activity was on the rise. There was a high concentration of known pedophiles, easy access to drugs, and many in the bondage of alcohol and drugs. I had prayed a silent prayer wistfully hoping that someday I could use the basement of the church to open a youth center, but the basement was already occupied by an after school program run by the Children's Home.
I presented the strategic plan to Daniel Ling in the Fall of 2005, as he was Pastor of the church built by George F. Johnson as a memorial to his mother. He approved the plan and advised me to present it to Sarah Jane's Administrative Council in January of 2006. Two months later, the Children's Home, (whose after-school program served children from all over Broome County who were either exiting the foster care system or at-risk of entering it,) moved out of the building when the costs of fuel went up. (The program moved to a larger location near their main campus). I requested a meeting with Dr. Ling where I requested an office in the basement from which I could work as a community social worker and begin implementation of the strategic plan. I then met with David Black, the Coordinator of Sarah Jane's education program, with a proposal that we join forces to transform the basement into a youth center for the neighborhood, with the idea that the church would use the space on Sunday morning, and the youth center use the space during the week. Opening a Youth Center was the second step in the Strategic plan.