Larry Johnson, a veteran city employee whose career has been focused on two of the City’s most important challenges – working with at-risk youth, and helping people caught in the web of substance use disorder – has joined Mayor Linda Gorton’s staff.
“Larry has a lot of experience and can offer insights in areas where we need help,” Gorton said. “We are glad he has joined us.”
Johnson is working with Devine Carama, Director of One Lexington, an initiative designed to coordinate, leverage and mobilize City Government and community resources to enhance safety and quality of life in neighborhoods experiencing violent crime, and, most importantly to reach out to young people in those neighborhoods. The two will also work on Safety Net, which provides assistance and resources to individual families in jeopardy.
Johnson will also serve as staff member to the Mayor’s Substance Use Disorder Advisory Council, which is working to find local solutions to help people caught in the web of addiction, also a priority for the Mayor.
“I am excited about the opportunity to build and support community-wide efforts to provide safe and healthy communities for young people in Lexington by working closely with Devine Carama and One Lexington on Violence Intervention, Safety Net; and by addressing substance use disorder and overdose deaths,” Johnson said.
Like most cities across the country, Lexington has seen increased violence this year, often involving young people, Gorton said. “This violence is preventable and we are intensifying our efforts to reach out to these young people before they are hurt, or they hurt someone else.”
Carama, who joined the Mayor’s Office in May, is building a citywide network of community partners who are already working with youth. In addition, he has launched several programs to improve safety and address basic needs, and he works directly with young people to engage them in positive, productive activities.
“I’ve known Larry Johnson for over a decade and I’ve witnessed, first hand, his commitment to violence reduction and the fight against substance use disorder,” Carama said. “I’m honored to be working alongside someone with 20 plus years of experience in community engagement. ONE Lexington is blessed to have Larry on the team!”
Gorton challenged the community to get involved with One Lexington and Safety Net. “In this City we have the community resources to really make a difference,” she said. “We need join together to do it.”
Johnson has worked for the City since 1999, working with youth at Partners for Youth and in the Substance Abuse Disorder Intervention in Social Services.
Johnson is a committed community volunteer. He has won numerous awards including the Lauren K. Weinberg Humanitarian of the Year Award, and the Fayette County Public Schools Golden Apple Award.
He is an ordained minister and is very active in his church, the House of God.