Peace, Justice, and Prosperity in North Lawndale
St. Agatha Catholic Church – Chicago, Ill.
- Emerging Leader: Heather Johnson
- Grant Program: Emerging Leader
- Amount of Grant: $15,000
- Dates of Grant Term: May 2019 – May 2021
Heather Johnson serves as a parent coordinator at St. Agatha Catholic Church, Chicago, Ill. In this role, she engages with parents throughout the North Lawndale community in a variety of ways including monthly meetings to share needs and concerns, family events featuring fun “parents vs. kids” competitions and opportunities to meet other families from the community, and resource sharing regarding employment, housing, food, and expungements. She does this all while sharing the love of Christ with them. She is also a fitness instructor/personal trainer, providing free training to those in need in the community, and is an assistant to her husband who runs a youth boxing league. As an early teen, Heather started working with St. Agatha Family Empowerment as a mentor, and later became a supervisor.
St. Agatha Catholic Church’s “Peace, Justice, and Prosperity in North Lawndale” project will expand the use of restorative justice practices throughout the community, with a special focus on parents as leaders in their family and in the community, at-risk youth, and those involved in the justice system. The goal is to lower the crime, violence, and incarceration rates and create positive opportunities, to support people on their journey, and to strengthen the North Lawndale community. Currently, St. Agatha’s restorative justice work with parents includes many different programs with many community partners. This includes the first Restorative Justice Court, Cook Country Jail, and Juvenile Detention Center.