ITALY —James Johnson, an Italy High School graduate, has a lofty dream — but a dream that he believes is attainable for the youth of Italy.

“A Call to Souls Outreach is currently collecting donations toward a new project – a youth center and sports complex,” he said.

Johnson is president and CEO of A Call to Souls Outreach. He is also the father of Kortnei Johnson, a two-time state champion of the 100 and 200 meter dash in track and field.

As a lifelong resident of Italy, Johnson has seen the “need” in Italy. He was president and head coach of the Italy Youth Football League for 13 years. He has seen too much free time on the hands of the youth with no place for them to go.

As he dwelled on this need, Johnson said he had a vision from the Lord; a vision to build a youth center.

He has put together a basic design that he estimates will cost about $10.25 million.

 He plans to locate this youth center on 34.5 acres off Dilworth Street. He said the property is for sale for $250,000, a discounted rate since it is for the youth. The complex will feature a swimming pool, a football field with running track, classrooms, offices and locker rooms.

Johnson plans to name the complex after his daughter and hopes to have the facility completed before she graduates from high school.

He knows this is not an easy project but it’s one he believes can be accomplished through grants and donations. He will seek out federal and philanthropic grants, various fundraising events and challenges everyone who graduated from Italy High School to donate as well.

Johnson said he is open to the public for fundraising ideas and any areas of expertise that may help in planning, building or assisting in the project.

Anyone interested in making a donation to “The Kortnei Johnson Youth Center” may send them to PO Box 262, Italy, Tx 76651. A Call to Souls Outreach is a 501c3 organization and all donations are tax deductible. Johnson can be reached at 972-351-7734 for more information.