She was in and out of several different foster environments in California starting when she was 2 years old, and once she turned 16, a judge granted her legal emancipation—or freedom from control of a guardian.
She said the day she was emancipated, the judge told her she was a unique case. Rarely did he see success stories coming from the world of foster care.
She moved to the Austin area in 2013, and by 2014 she launched her nonprofit, Central Texas Table of Grace, out of Round Rock.
Table of Grace is an emergency general residency operation, or GRO, that provides emergency foster care for children ages 6-17 for 90 days at a time.
The Table of Grace facility, which operates out of Round Rock off Sam Bass Road, can shelter up to 13 kids at a time, and for the last seven years, Johnson said more than 400 kids have stayed there.
Beyond Table of Grace, Johnson launched a nonprofit in 2021 called Grace365, which helps young adults who have aged out of foster care at the age of 18.
Grace365 provides an apartment and other essential provisions for young adults that can be nearly impossible to acquire for 18-year-olds, she said.
The Grace365 program has a flexible timeframe in which a ward may stay in the program, and Johnson said right now she has the budget and resources to accommodate 10 young adults at a time.
However, she has acreage in Round Rock off Doris Lane, where the Table of Grace office is located. She said she hopes to add living accommodations on the property that would service young adults through Grace365.
The facility on Doris Lane serves as the community center for Grace365 where young adults participate in programs designed to enhance their life skills.
Johnson said she has plans to continue growing her nonprofits, and her optimism is largely due to the overall hospitality from the people of Round Rock.
Through every step of her journey to create Central Texas Table of Grace and Grace365, Johnson said local groups, individuals and businesses have gone out of their way to help make it happen.
“I always joke that when I was young, I knew there were good people out there, but I just never knew any of them,” she said. “But, I guess it’s because they’re all here [in Round Rock]. It’s pretty incredible the way this community has been there for us.” Central Texas Table of Grace
1205 Sam Bass Road, Bldg. C,