‘I was one of those children who was from an underserved community’
Michelle Johnson: The first time I set foot in a theater was when I was hired there. Now I’m passionate about bringing arts and culture to underserved kids and families.
The first time I stepped into a theater was when I was hired at ASU Gammage. I had just turned 21.
I was born and raised in the military. I lived in many different places before we came here in 1969. My father drove back and forth to Williams Air Force Base five days a week and he worked a part-time job in the neighborhood. My mom was a stay-at-home mom. Going to the theater was just something my family never did.
Why I Give
I always get emotional about why I give to ASU Gammage. I am passionate about our mission of Connecting Communities™, which brings arts and culture into the lives of children and families who would never have an opportunity to do so based on their income level.
When you have the opportunity to sit in the audience and watch the faces of those children — that’s what makes me emotional.
Because I was one of those children who was from an underserved community. Had I been here when I was younger, that may have been my first experience — as opposed to when I was 21 and came to work here. I love that one child’s life can be changed every single time we have a performance that involves students.
What I Care About
As an employee, whether you’re faculty or staff, you have so many choices when it comes to directing your charitable contributions. I choose programs that I’m passionate about.
‘Why I Give’: Stories from ASU faculty and staff
- Ji Mi Choi: Why I choose to give at Arizona State University
- Wendy Peia Oakes: The reason I support future teachers now
- Keith Miller: They don’t have perfect SAT scores, but they deserve an opportunity
- Neal Lester: Here’s what I’ve learned about caring
- Anna Wales: The first gift I ever gave was $5. And it lit a fire in my heart
- Flavio F. Marsiglia: ‘How can I ask others to help if I am not helping first?’
- Colleen Jennings-Roggensack: The gift no one can take away