Founded in 2014, Adolescent Cultural Exchange Program or ACES is a certified 501(c)(3) born in the heart of Keith Johnson to give lower income students a chance to compete internationally in sports and benefit from the education that exposure to another culture offers. With the world growing smaller through technology, it is important that students have the opportunity to explore other countries and cultures so that they grow up respecting those cultures. This exploration will also broaden the students’ horizons and help motivate them to acquire the skills they need to succeed in our increasingly global environment.
Keith Johnson grew up in New Jersey and played basketball at a young age. Upon his graduation from high school, he decided to attend Morehouse college. After completing college, Keith was encouraged to pursue basketball at an international level and decided to move to Japan. Keith joined a professional team shortly after his arrival and spent the next seven years playing there. At the conclusion of his international career, Keith decided to return to the United States and work in the education field. While working as a Social Studies teacher in an alternative school in the Bronx, Keith soon realized that he could inspire his students to be more inquisitive by not only letting them read about other countries, but by talking about his personal experiences abroad.
By taking sports teams to other countries, ACES will give students experiences that will inspire the rest of their lives and help them realize the world is bigger than their neighborhood. Students will learn to translate the character and discipline they gain through sports into their education and personal lives, which will teach them to be better students in the classroom and leaders in their communities.