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Nonprofit promotes Shopping for a Cause

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Photo credit: Windy Cobb Johnson

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Written by: Communicator StaffNovember 18, 2017

By: Nicole Winans

Windy Cobb-Johnson, a Fort Wayne resident, has spent over 20 years volunteering and working with youth, and now she wants to make them the center of her life mission.

“I have always been motivated to work with youth,” Cobb-Johnson said. “As I have gotten older and my own children have become teenagers, I have been exposed to the need for this gap to be filled.”

In the past, she has served with organizations such as Girls Scouts of the USA, Junior Achievement, St. John Lutheran Church and School, Interfaith Hospitality Network, Unity Performing Arts Foundation, Horizon Christian Academy and All for One Productions.

Cobb-Johnson’s love for youth stems from a wealth of experiences. Her biological father was not present in her life, and she watched her mother struggle as a single parent.

After completing high school, Cobb-Johnson had a son whose father was not active in his life either.

Then Cobb-Johnson married her high school sweetheart, Shawn Cobb, and the couple had an additional two children. The two also chose to become parents to a young lady who needed a family to choose her.

Life seemed as normal as can be until Shawn Cobb was tragically killed in a vehicle accident that left Cobb-Johnson in the hospital for four months with major injuries.

Once back home, Cobb-Johnson took back over parenting her children and putting their lives back together, but less than two years later, the family was displaced for four months due to a house fire.

About one year later, Cobb-Johnson married her current husband, John Johnson.

Together, along with their six children, Windy and John now participate and volunteer with numerous organizations.

They have taken in another young lady, sharing their love, lives and home with her.

Cobb-Johnson’s personal biography states, “Windy truly understands what it means for ‘family members’ to choose you.”

The man she calls Dad has no blood connection to her but since he married her mother, he has always been her father. He was at her high school graduation, walked her down the aisle when she married Shawn, was at the birth of her children, and stepped in to handle things at her home when she was in the hospital, Cobb-Johnson said.

Additionally, Shawn’s grandmother welcomed both Windy and her son into her home and included them in family activities.

Windy has also had several of her siblings live with her after they reached 18.

These experience shave inspired Windy to provide assistance to youth who may be facing similar situations and in need of love and support.

She is in the midst of launching The Journey, a nonprofit focused on young adults ages 18-26.

“The​ ​Journey​ ​will​ ​work​ ​to​ ​provide​ ​for​ ​these​ ​young​ ​adults’​ ​needs — spiritual,​ ​physical,​ ​relational,​ ​emotional​ ​and​ ​intellectual,” Cobb-Johnson said.

Young adults will be provided with a family-like atmosphere with a family who chooses them. They will also be held to reasonable expectations, including acquiring a job, furthering education, volunteering within community, curfews, daily chores and communication, she said.

To help young adults become independent, The Journey will focus on three Rs: rest, release and respond.

The Journey has not achieved nonprofit status yet, but Cobb-Johnson hopes to file for the 501c3 status in January.

Once up and running, the organization will offer host homes for periods of a year at a time to aid young adults in preparing to stand on their own feet.

The Journey is also in the process of securing a transition facility where six to 10 young adults could live for a period of one to three years. This facility would provide constant supervision and assistance to young adults working there ways to a healthy lifestyle.

“I am already in the process of creating partnerships and am receiving phone calls for guidance with young adults in this situation right now,” Cobb-Johnson said.

She is currently working on obtaining the necessary resources to meet these needs.

Two upcoming fundraisers are scheduled in hopes of narrowing the financial gap.

The first of these is an UltraZone fundraiser 7-10 p.m. Nov. 22. The cost is $15 with all proceeds helping raise startup funds for The Journey.

The Journey will also be hosting a Holiday Shopping Extravaganza 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 2 at Saint John Lutheran Church on West Washington Boulevard.

Over 30 vendors will be present at the event, including LuLaRoe, Norwex, Thirty-One Gifts, Perfectly Posh, Avon, Jamberry Nails, Mary Kay, Steeped Tea and Edward Jones..

Other activities available at the event are door prizes, a holiday photo booth, a raffle, Christmas caroling, young adult sing-offs, concessions and gift wrapping.

Windy’s goal is to raise $2,000 through this event with all proceeds going to raise startup capital for The Journey.

For more information about The Journey or its fundraisers, visit its Facebook page at facebook.com/rest.release.respond/.