STRATFORD – November 18, 2022 – After 47 years of dedication to educating our youth, Alliance for Community Empowerment is proud to name their newest Early Learning Site after Alterine “Mama J” Johnson. Ms. Johnson is the embodiment of what Alliance does and her support for the community is unmatched. The new early learning site is located at 909 Main St. in Stratford and will be enrolling children between the ages of 6 weeks and 5 years old, with Ms. Alterine as the Site Manager.
The event started with Dr. Monette Ferguson introducing Alterine Johnson to a roaring applause as many individuals that Ms. Johnson has interacted with showed up to show their support. A prayer was led by Ms. Johnson’s brother, Bishop John Daniel Green, and over a dozen of Mama J’s family, including her children, grandchildren, siblings, were on site to show support.
“I had plenty of ‘Ms. Johnsons’ when I was growing up and I can tell you it truly takes a village to raise a child,” explained Senator Herron Gaston. “You need programs and organizations like this one to teach and to feed into our young people. To let them know they can be somebody and meet the challenges and demands that this world has.”
Ms. Johnson can also be credited with shaping the mind of Alliance’s Executive Director, Dr. Monette Ferguson, during her time in Alliance’s Head Start program as child. With this dedication, the effects of Alliance’s Early Learning program come full circle.
“They say, ‘Mama J, you deserve it,’ and it didn’t sink in until I thought to myself, if you take the word ‘de’ away from serve, that’s what I have been doing,” explained Ms. Alterine ‘Mama J’ Johnson. “I serve with love, dignity, and respect as long as God, through his son Jesus, continues to give me the strength.”
Mama J has worked her way up the ranks in the Early Learning Program, having been promoted from Assistant Teacher to Teacher, then Lead Teacher/Head Teacher, and is currently a Site Manager at this new site. The announcement of this new site was made at Alliance’s Annual Meeting, back in May, unbeknownst to most, especially Mama J.
“We could have named this site after a long list of folks, but when I presented Ms. Johnson’s name to our Board, and the reasons why this site should be named after this amazing woman, there was a unanimous ‘Yes’ across my governing board,” explained Dr. Monette Ferguson, Alliance’s Executive Director. “It’s not just about the name, it’s about the spirit of the individual whose name it carries.”
Full Dedication Event