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Jaguars attend opening

Thursday, March 31, 2005 will be marked as the day children and families of Hilltop Village Apartments were given the "key" to the world of technology with the opening of the Magic Johnson/HP Inventor Center.

"The opening of the Magic Johnson/HP Inventor Center at Hilltop Village will add a new dimension to the lives of our residents, providing a benefit available at very few other housing developments in the country," said Judy Siegel, president of Landex Corporation, owner and operator of Hilltop Village. "For some, the opening of this center will put them in touch with one of the most rewarding opportunities of their lives."

Magic Johnson, along with HP and many sponsors and supporters, was in Jacksonville to dedicate a community technology center to the residents of Hilltop. "It's definitely big for Magic to share his time and come to Jacksonville," said Jaguars linebacker Akin Ayodele. "…Jacksonville is growing and when you have people as big as Magic come to this city, this town, this neighborhood…it's a big deal."

"He's doing something good with the community center," said Jaguars cornerback Kiwaukee Thomas. "This center is going to be great for the families…for kids to learn when they're not in school and parents to search the web for jobs; it's just a great thing."

The new center will serve as a one-stop business resource in which the children living at Hilltop can learn about computers, perform their homework and search the Internet.

"This center is something that is needed; something that is wanted and it's a building young people will use and embrace," said Magic Johnson. "…It will help the children to advance their minds and give them quality education; to go on in life and become successful. They don't have to be football players, basketball players or entertainers; they can do it through education."

Four Jaguars players – cornerback Kiwaukee Thomas, linebacker Akin Ayodele, wide receiver Ernest Wilford and tight end Brian Jones – attended the dedication ceremony to support Magic's community endeavor in Jacksonville.

"To see the Jaguars out here is important, it makes me feel great. It says a lot about them as players, a lot about the Jaguars organization and it makes me just feel so good with them helping me out," said Johnson. "You can tell they care about this community, the children and the community. The community has embraced them and now they understand they're not just great football players but they're also great people at the same time."

The Magic Johnson Foundation and HP Technology partnership was originally formed in 1999 as a $1 million initiative to bridge the digital divide. Since that time they have been able to provide education on various topics utilizing technology as the medium. There are currently 16 fully branded and operational Magic Johnson/HP Inventor Centers open across the country including Los Angeles, Atlanta, Harlem, D.C., Philadelphia, Miami and now Jacksonville.

"Looking around the room and seeing the smiling faces, that's what it's all about. That's why I built this center with HP," Johnson added.

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