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Mercury Guard Temeka Johnson Recieves WNBA Cares Community Assist Award for June

July 17, 2009 - Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) News Release

NEW YORK, July 17, 2009 - The WNBA today honored Phoenix Mercury guard Temeka Johnson's commitment to the community with its Community Assist Award for June. Johnson plays a leadership role in the team's community outreach initiatives, including the Mercury's Adopt-A-Team program, and supports youth development, health, and wellness year round through her foundation, Meek's H.O.P.E. (Heaven Opens People's Eyes).

The Mercury's Adopt-A-Team program provides learning and development opportunities for young female basketball players both on and off the court. In June, as the newly appointed lead mentor for the program, Johnson visited with this year's adopted team at Carl Hayden High School and shared her own experiences as a young athlete and what it took to get to where she is today. The program seeks to increase confidence, teach life skills, and encourage healthy living, as well as provide the team with much-needed equipment, uniforms, and more.

"I love to inspire youngsters and show them that with hard work and dedication, they can achieve anything in life," Johnson said. "It feels great to have my work in the community recognized and I really hope that this award encourages others to lend a helping hand where they can."

Off the court, Johnson spends time helping youth, families, and communities reach their goals through Meek's H.O.P.E. Johnson launched her foundation last summer to provide assistance to underserved young people and families across the country with a special focus on self-esteem, physical activity, and the community.

Through Meek's H.O.P.E., Johnson adopted a school in her home state of Louisiana to which she lends financial and hands-on support, established the Jewel Johnson Teacher Scholarship (in honor of her grandmother, a teacher) to assist aspiring educators, and was the first female athlete to join the United Negro College Fund's efforts to help young people gain access to college. Johnson now serves as one of the program's Athlete Ambassadors for Education.

In addition, Johnson supports the Mercury's Score for Kids Foundation, which gives young girls positive role models to emulate by offering them the chance to attend Mercury games, meet players, and more.

The WNBA Community Assist Award is presented monthly to the player who best reflects the league's passion for making a difference in the community. In recognition of Johnson's charitable efforts, the WNBA is donating $5,000 to Meek's H.O.P.E on her behalf.

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