The Heart Behind Caritas Community Center & Cafe
Onie Johns left her suburban Germantown life to engage in a “ministry of presence.” Through Caritas Village, which she founded, Onie strives to “break down walls of hostility between races, rich and poor, and provide a positive street-corner alternative for neighborhood children.”
Caritas Village now includes a restaurant and offers a wide range of cultural and arts activities to the additionally, the Village offers a theater, art studio, free health clinic, after-school programs, tutoring and ESL programs. All this hospitality and all the services are available in Binghampton, one of Memphis’ most under served neighborhoods.
“Onie Johns is passionate about community and the arts and believes that creativity is more valuable than knowledge and feels that we are all sojourners on earth and that there is “enough” for everyone.”
In her efforts to build strong families in Binghampton and to create racial harmony throughout the city, Onie has joined forces with Service Over Self, Bridges, Jacob’s Ladder and numerous churches, among others. Onie’s life and work personify the values of the Women’s Foundation.
The Legends Award pays tribute to women whose work embodies the mission of the Women’s Foundation.