2022 Jefferson Awards
MEET NASHAUNA JOHNSON LENOIR
Nashauna Johnson-Lenoir grew up in foster care in the inner city of Chicago. As she grew up, she became a teen mom, struggled with mental health, became homeless, and survived domestic violence. But instead of allowing these experiences to define her, Nashauna became determined to use her hard won lessons to guide the next generation.
Prior to founding Journie in 2012, Nashauna built a long history of community service and advocacy beginning in middle school when she originated the idea of the Youth Leadership Awards (YLA) presented by UCAN, which honors outstanding youth in the Chicago area by presenting them with scholarships for higher education. In 2022, UCAN celebrated its 23rd year of presenting the YLA.
While in high school, Nashauna became the youngest writer on the staff of the Chicago Defender, a 115-year-old publication serving the urban African-American community.
Nashauna is a serial entrepreneur, with projects in the music and entertainment industry, equity and inclusion, as well as authoring a book on the 8 Steps to Promotion which outlines the Journie workshops through personal stories.
In 2012, Nashauna created Journie, a fiscally sponsored non-profit organization committed to providing life skills, personal development, mentorship, and community to severely at-risk teens. Her efforts have received local, regional, and national recognition, culminating in being awarded the prestigious Jefferson Award presented by Multiplying Good.
Nashauna continues to be a force for positive change in her community through her efforts at Journie and remains actively involved with the foster care system in Rochester, MN.