Jacqueline Johnson

 Photographer:  Jack Strutz

Photographer: Jack Strutz

Alexandria House, located in the Koreatown off of Alexandria Street in Los Angeles serves as a transitional housing shelter for women and women with children. Founded in 1966, this house has helped 92% of the women find financial stability and permanent housing.

Meet Jacqueline, a writer with aspirations of launching a newsletter dedicated to nonprofits and a Residential Assistant and Community Builder at Alexandria House.

Ready on to discover her journey.

Let's start with your story, when did you arrive at Alexandria House?
I arrived here September 12, 2017. Prior, most of my life was spent in Orange County. I worked there, retired there. I wrote for, and still write for a black newspaper called Tri-County Bulletin, which turned 33 on June 7th.

Since the newspaper wasn't publishing as often, I wasn't able to afford where I was living in Yorba Linda and Pam Hope, whom I've known for 30-something years asked me about coming here to LA and Alexandria House.

The thing that is most interesting is that I was on the board of directors for the Community Action Partnership of Orange County, and Pam applied for a job there but didn't get it. Because of that, she arrived here and asked me to come up here as well.

So, now I'm on staff as Residential Assistant and Community Builder.

 Photographer:  Marissa Boswell

Photographer: Marissa Boswell

 Photographer:  Marissa Boswell

Photographer: Marissa Boswell

How do you like it here?
I love it so much. I thought...these ladies have been such an example. I thought I had been through stuff, but not in comparison to what they've gone through. I am so blessed to be here.

Have you always been a writer and is that what you've always wanted to do?
Yeah, since I was about 4. Long time. I've written proposals, plays and speeches. You know, I applied for a job with the Orange County Register about 40 years ago and I still haven't heard from them.

What does an average day in your life look like?
Being here, supposedly the responsibility is to make sure the kids and parents are okay, that they have supplies and everything they need. Yet, my focus for the past month or so has been my second love, politics.

I participated in the Homeless Coalition at City Hall, at Groundbreakings and most recently at the Poor People's Campaign.

I am about doing that, and eventually, I want to have a newsletter for nonprofits to focus on the positive things that people are doing in agencies such as this. I'd like to publicize Alexandria House and say thank you because they help a lot of people.

Where would you like to be in a year? What are your aspirations and goals?
In a year, I hope to be physically here in Los Angeles and hopefully at Alexandria House. I just graduated from the SE Counseling Center last Friday with a certificate, and to be more involved with that. Not so much in a paid position, but learning how to deal with different aspects of life when it's like this.

What are you grateful for?
For being here. For being given the opportunity to make a difference. I am grateful that it was meant to be. This is my calling and my ministry because I had no idea that people lived like some of the things I've seen here.

To see these kids grow and develop, it's so wonderful. Then, there are people like you guys, who come here and make a difference, it just touches my heart.

Sometimes, I think you don't know how much you have to be grateful for until you see what other people are grateful for having.

 Photographer:  Marissa Boswell

Photographer: Marissa Boswell

What empowers you?
I am very spiritual. I am a Christian. I believe in direction and prayer. When things are at a point where I don't know what I can do, I really do put it into God's hands and say, "What's meant to be will be."

I've lost so much, like my car and the position on the board, and I just say, "Well, that was God's will."

I am so driven, and this place is like a ministry for me. You do want you can, for all that you can, for as long as you can.

 

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