The Heads Up! Foundation is a nonprofit organization that promotes the total development of youth through sports, life-skill training, and mentoring programs. Since its inception, The Heads Up! Foundation has reached thousands of area youth through our summer sports camps, mentoring programs, outreach initiatives and other community involvement. Our biggest draw, the annual basketball and life skills camp, has attracted youth from all over the Southwest Region and beyond, allowing our staff to reach an even broader range of youth. Not only are basketball skills taught but most of the daily curriculum includes developing life skills such as teamwork, leadership development, ethics, the value of education, healthy eating habits and how to make informed choices. Camp instructors are present and former collegiate and professional athletes and high school coaches. Camp counselors and staff are local trained professionals who render volunteer service to our foundation. Over the years, our camps, community involvement and celebrity benefit games have attracted many professional athletes including Dez Bryant, Terrance Newman (Dallas Cowboys); teammates Keith Washington, Johnnie Harris and Daryl Jones (New York Giants); Raja Bell (Utah Jazz);Darrell Arthur (Memphis Grizzlies); James Singleton (Washington Wizards), Quinton Ross (New Jersey Nets); Tyrone Ellis (Euroleague All-Stars, Minnesota Timberwolves, Spain); Jeryl Sasser Jr. (Orlando Magic); Andre Johnson (Houston Texans); Mike Rumph (San Francisco 49ers); Chris Owens (Memphis Grizzlies); Andre Emmett (New Jersey Nets); Jessie Armstead (Washington Redskins);Darius McCrary (actor,Family Matters) Delano Washington (BMG Music Group); Pastor Bryan L. Carter, Pastor Stephen Brown (Concord Baptist Church-Dallas). Another year, the Dallas Fire Department played Omega Psi Phi Fraternity followed by the collegiate members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity versus Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.The celebrity game was a great effort for the foundation which also began a new pool of supporters for the foundation.It also provided youth in the community to interact with their favorite celebrity and receive a message of hope and encouragement that has proved to have a lasting impact on young lives. During various times throughout the year, some of our previous initiatives included partnership participation from: NBA FIT Youth Program, Arlington Police Department, Dallas Police Department Gang Unit, American Heart Association, Real Men Cook, Dallas Independent School District, Dallas Youth Council, Inc.
The Heads Up! Foundation continues to plan and implement programs designed to enhance the social, academic and cultural development of young people and to utilize youth-centered instructional strategies in sports and educational activities in an effort to help young people gain an appreciation for sports competition, enhance their academic efforts, improve their overall physical fitness and further develop a healthy lifestyle.
There are over 35 million youth participating in youth sports in America today. When utilized properly, sports are a critical tool for the positive development of the next generation of Americans. Youth who do not have sports based development activities to fill hours during the day in which they otherwise may be unsupervised are at a greater risk for a host of negative behaviors and outcomes. The costs of maintaining these programs today is far less than costs to society associated with dealing with these negative outcomes in the future. On behalf of our next generation of youth, we must act now. Nearly 14 million children in the United States – 19% of all children – live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level – $22,050 a year for a family of four. Impoverished parents often don’t have adequate means to make the necessary investment in their children to lift them out of a life of poverty. Thus children from lower-income families are suffering due to the inability to participate in quality enrichment programs and activities. This late start for urban children in quality enrichment programs and organized sport robs them of the opportunity to participate in sports and reap the life-long benefits that sports participation provides to the youth of our communities. The youth in the city's core must have the opportunity for a successful start in education and sport regardless of age, race, gender, family composition, income or community. Recognizing the tremendous benefits of participation in youth sports, The Heads Up! Foundation was created to provide opportunities for youth in under-served areas to participate in higher level sports and educational programs absent financial constraints. The participants aided would typically not have the financial means to participate in these programs and thus would not have the same opportunities as other youth who have a more favorable economic situation.
MEET OUR FOUNDER/CEO
Jabari Johnson is a retired pro athlete, entrepreneur and philanthropist who has established several successful companies in the real estate, business development and sports marketing industries. He is the visionary founder of The Heads Up! Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to enrich the lives of youth through mentoring, education, and sports. He is a 2002 graduate of The University of Texas-Arlington with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Communication Technology and a Minor in Spanish Studies. During his high school career at Dallas’David W. Carter High School, he was an honor graduate and standout student-athlete, earning All-District, All-Region, All-State and McDonald’s All-American nominee Basketball accolades. After graduation from high school, he signed a full athletic scholarship to play at Louisiana Tech University where he saw significant playing time as a freshman before transferring to finish his college career at the University of Texas-Arlington where he was a standout All-Conference performer, ESPN class of 2001 NBA draft prospect and regarded as one of the school’s all-time greats. Johnson notched over 1,500 points, 700 assists, 300 steals in his collegiate playing career. His sports journey continued on to have an all-star professional career in the ABA, CBA, and Europe. He also spent a year as a player/coach in the ABA. With an intense yearning to give back to others who need a lift, Jabari has served as a consultant to several high school and college programs across the country during his offseason. He has served as player development coach for hundreds of student-athletes and has successfully assisted many prospects in obtaining athletic scholarships to college. Jabari has appeared in Global NIKE basketball commercials with NBA superstars Dirk Nowitzi and Jason Kidd and has masterminded with some of the most prominent figures in sports and business. Additionally, he serves as the Founder and Director of The North Texas Hoop Summit, a College Exposure Combine and Showcase for High School basketball players who desire to play at the college level and beyond. He has been featured in several news publications including the Dallas Weekly as one of the 25 most notable figures to watch in 2006-2007. Recipient of the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce, 40 Under 40 Leadership Award (2014) and the Dallas County Peace Officers Association’s Pinnacle Award for his outstanding service to Dallas County. As a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Jabari lends his support and talent to the various programs of the 100-year old public service organization. Mr. Johnson was a 2011 graduate of Leadership Southwest, a community service program dedicated to providing southern Dallas County with an ongoing source of diverse leaders who are committed to serve as catalysts and sustainers of positive change in their respective communities.
As a person who attributes most of his success in life to the mentoring relationships and invaluable life lessons learned while participating in youth sports, Jabari Johnson felt an obligation to ‘give back’ to youth in under-served communities by teaching basketball skill development, using the game of basketball as a tool to impact and enrich other areas of their lives. While home from college during off-season and summer months, the inner-city product would volunteer with small groups of neighborhood youth and school teams, teaching basketball fundamentals that ‘hook’ to mentor and enrich other areas of their life development. Youth were consistently engaged and excited by the idea of playing basketball and learning life skills, often arriving early and staying late. Participating youth, many who either lacked positive male role models, labeled at-risk, or were simply written off as a 'lost cause' by society, began showing drastic signs of improvement, academically, athletically, and socially. It was at that very moment when the 22 year-old, standout student-athlete saw an opportunity. Could basketball be a key to teaching youth positive values, teamwork, even to helping them in school? Could it be the starting point for academic enrichment, literacy education, team-building, service learning-any number of other activities? Could the power of teams have the power to change lives? As a result of these revelations, The Heads Up! Foundation was founded and The Heads Up! Youth Basketball and Life Skills Camp was born, the first of many programs that would tie academic and enrichment programs to sports participation, and ultimately provide youth with opportunities to recognize their potential and realize their dreams.
THE HEADS UP! STORY...
"The Heads Up! experience was excellent for my son. Athletic and leadership skills were developed while a strong foundation of discipline was established. He left Heads Up understanding more about the game but as a parent I was most proud of the lessons he learned about himself "
- Patrick, Heads Up! Parent
"Before heads up! my son was constantly following the wrong crowds, getting bad grades in school and was cut from his school team twice. Since becoming involved with your camps and programs, he has become an honor roll student, understands how to work as a team and he has since become a standout on the same team the he was once cut from! Thanks so much for all your dedication to not only my son, but all the boys and girls your organization reaches!"
- Linda, Heads Up! Parent