A Tulsa man got a shoutout at the Republican National Convention because of his work at the Tulsa Dream Center. His passion for his job runs deep and now he is working for an organization he said helped build him.
It takes a village to raise a child. Part of that village is obvious, family and friends who played a part in your journey. Part of that village might be full of strangers, who were thinking and caring about you without you even realizing. It took a village to raise Aaron Johnson, who goes by A.J.
"I have got a heart for single parent moms because my mom is everything," Aaron Johnson, Executive Director of the Tulsa Dream Center, said.
The Tulsa Dream Center is a place that provides resources to families who need help, need food, need clothes, need support, need someone to tell them they are going to make it out just fine. The mission here is simple.
"Someone is fighting for you. Someone is in your corner. Someone believes in you," said Johnson.
It is a mission that hits home for A.J.
"A young boy having to take on adult challenges, I felt that and unfortunately many of the boys and girls that we serve today are dealing with issues that children shouldn't have to deal with," said Johnson.
Adults in his life stepped up to give him everything they could. Aaron volunteered at Dream Center when he was in high school, drawn to the mission of helping others but still never knowing how the Dream Center had helped him.
Years later, he would move back to Tulsa and become the Dream Center's Executive Director.
"All the time that I am serving, my mom never said, ‘I waited in line for you,’” said Johnson.
A year into the job, at a family dinner, his mother told him for the first time that she waited in line at the Dream Center to help feed him and to help clothe him.
"When I found out some of my Christmas gifts came from the Tulsa Dream Center," said Johnson, "It shifted something in me because it is like now to be in a position of leadership, in a place that impacted my life.”
It takes a village to raise a child and that child might just go on to make sure other children have a village of their own.
"This is what I was born to do,” Johnson said. “This is what I was born to do, to reach people, to change lives, to say you are going to make it. This is what I was born to do.”