COMMUNITY IMPACT AWARD
erilynn Johnson, known by many as “Miss Lynn”, says her entire life can be summed up as countless years dedicated to being a proud EMPLOYEE, PLAYER, COACH and builder of COMMUNITY.
Through her career, athletic pursuits, and extensive coaching, “Miss Lynn” has distinguished herself on and off of the court. She credits her successes to lessons learned while a member of competitive, elite youth and adult sports teams. Her grit, tenacity, and even her faith can be linked to myriad lifelong achievements as a distinguished female athlete.
As a longstanding EMPLOYEE of the city of Providence, “Miss Lynn” describes her work with a broad smile and deep passion. She has what she calls “the pleasure” of being the first female director of the West End Recreation Center and the second woman ever to have been hired as a center director by the City of Providence! In this role, she has emerged as an inspirational community leader, mentor and champion for all. Her passion is to show up for the West End and to facilitate robust recreational programming that goes beyond traditional youth sports such as basketball and football. This includes creative, “out of the box” activities requested by recreation youth including bocce, pickleball, gardening, art making and so much more! Her “greatest joy” is to show up for youth and their families and to help “shape [the] bodies, minds, and character of different generations of the same local families”. On a given day, in addition to youth, grandparents and parents alike come to the West End Recreation Center to seek her out at her desk, the gym, the classroom, the game room, and the ever popular tv/movie room.
For 36 years, she has additionally had the “honor of serving in the Attorney General (AG) Office” for the State. Starting as a clerk and now a Fingerprint Expert trained at the FBI Headquarters in Virginia, “Miss Lynn” is most proud of her continuous employment and service to the State and the people of RI. During this tenure, while other State employees have come and gone, she has undergone a rigorous interview process by six different AG’s and has been retained by each administration. Her dedication and commitment to this work for so many years is what she deems among her “greatest successes” in life.
“Miss Lynn’s” accolades as a PLAYER are too numerous to list in their entirety, but listed below are some of her notable highlights:
• ❖ First student at Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) and Rhode Island College (RIC) to hold more than five seasonal records for any sport
• ❖ 1982 Class B Championship Team
• ❖ 1984 Clara A Championship Team
• ❖ Community College Hall of Fame
• ❖ Inducted into New England Sports Hall of Fame
As homage to “Miss Lynn’s” athletic superstar status, in 1999, then Mayor Vincent Cianci, declared April 7th Jerilynn Johnson Day in the city!
From star player to motivational COACH, “Miss Lynn” has continued to serve youth. She has accomplished the following:
• ❖ Coached Central High to a Class A Championship
• ❖ Led St. Raphael’s Academy to a State Championship
• ❖ Part of “Coach of the Year Team” for Women’s Basketball @ Roger Williams
• ❖ Established the first inner city minority AAU Basketball Program in Providence
• ❖ Ran the Providence Midnight Basketball League
• ❖ Founded Ultimate Sports Inc, the largest urban basketball program in RI with players
ranging from 14-71 years of age
• ❖ Runs elite summer women’s basketball leagues, featuring the Blacktop Summer League
for young women 16 years old and older
For “Miss Lynn”, COMMUNITY is at the heart of all she does whether as Recreation Center Director, State employee, athlete or coach. Her unwavering passion and commitment for local youth and families and her unfailing sense of purpose means she stands above others as the backbone of any community she is a part of.