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CEO and Morehouse alum Andre Johnson discusses the importance of single fatherhood

CEO and Morehouse alum Andre Johnson discusses the importance of single fatherhood
Ayana Johnson and her father Andre L. Johnson (Photo courtesy of Andre Johnson)

Andre L. Johnson has over 30 years of professional work experience, exemplifying a long-standing commitment and dedication to the field of substance abuse. He’s an award-winning CEO of the Detroit Recovery Project, and in 2016, the Morehouse man was chosen as a recipient of the Champions of Change Award from President Barack Obama. Johnson currently runs DRP out of three offices in the metro Detroit area. DRP is a multi-service agency that provides a wide spectrum of support services to the city’s substance abuse recovery community. The agency also oversees an ex-offender program that helps returning citizens successfully reintegrate into the Detroit community, with an aim of reducing recidivism and relapse among this population.

Along with being a servant leader and giving back to his community with honor, integrity and pride, Johnson is also a proud single father to his college-aged daughter, Ayana Johnson. Rolling out spoke with Johnson on the importance of fatherhood, the legacy he wants to leave behind, raising a responsible young lady on his own and more.

What legacy are you leaving for your children and the children of your community?

My legacy includes having integrity, passion and strong work ethics while continuing to build on an institution [The Detroit Recovery Project] that assists individuals who are underserved.

How would you describe your fatherhood culture?

My fatherhood culture first and foremost consists of making sure that my daughter knows that I love her. Secondly, establishing a bond and rapport which, to me means being an active and visible father and engaging my daughter with important major decisions, which includes for career and educational goals.

From a father’s perspective, what two books would you recommend every child read?

As an African American father, I would recommend books that are enlightening, empowering, and leadership-driven, coupled with a better understanding of one’s own heritage. Books that I would recommend for my daughter include the Bible for Black Girls and Be You Unapologetically. I would also add books that are entrepreneurial focused.

Why is it important to expose children to education and valuable skills?

Education and valuable skills are an essential foundation to prepare a path to success. They are also needed to equip our children with becoming self-sufficient and productive members of society.

As a father and a life coach, describe your playbook.

My playbook is transparency! It includes being an example, not just by saying what kids should do, but also inspiring them with my own actions. I grew up in an environment where I was told not to do certain things, but I often witnessed adults doing those same things that I wasn’t supposed to do. Therefore I walk my talk, instead of talking the talk.

How important is keeping your word?

Keeping your word is crucial. It’s the first step to holding oneself accountable and responsible.

When it comes to protecting yourself at all times, physically and mentally, what would you tell your children?

Be safe. Be smart. Be responsible. These things have always been my credo whenever my daughter and myself go our separate ways. Instilling these principles assist with growth and development. It also helps to build morals and a conscious-driven person.

Share one of your fondest memories you’ve experienced with your father, grandfather or father figure.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any fond memories of my father or grandfather. However, I do have fond memories of men in my life that expected greatness from me; men that had the life experiences and wisdom that I lacked. And those are the things that gave me hope when I felt alone.

Share your most valued and treasured fatherhood goal.

My most valued fatherhood goal has been to support and love my daughter unconditionally. It has been to keep her on the right path. It has been to instill a value system that will propel her in her future endeavors. By putting her first in my life, it made me a better man. I constantly remain conscious that whatever I do in life can either have a positive or negative effect on my child, so I always choose to do the right thing, for my daughter’s sake.

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