Terrell "TJ" Johnson, a 2013 Alt.Sem graduate of the ITC Theological Seminary (Photo by Front Porch Alliance).

Terrell "TJ" Johnson, a 2013 Alt.Sem graduate of the ITC Theological Seminary (Photo by Front Porch Alliance).

Terrell "TJ" Johnson

President/CEO Wake Up Youth Foundation


At the age of 19, “TJ” Johnson (former gangster, kingpin drug dealer) was facing a 35-year to life prison sentence for drug trafficking.  During his incarceration, he felt a great need to share “real talk” amongst citizens in various communities.  He felt an urgency to provide vital dialogue with all youth that he encountered.

After his release, Mayor W. W. Herenton appointed Mr. Johnson as the Prevention and Intervention Coordinator for the City of Memphis/Juvenile Violence Abatement Project (JVAP). Under the direction of Dr. Rita Dorsey,  Mr. Johnson (the first ex-felon to be hired by the Memphis Police Department) successfully launched an aggressive anti-violence initiative with Memphis City Schools. 

During his tenure, Mr. Johnson spoke to thousands of youth.  Since then, Mr. Johnson has taken his message to 95% of Memphis City Schools, as well as across the U.S., providing prevention and intervention strategies.  His mission is to help create an “action plan” of survival for youth who would otherwise be on a path of destruction.  In a world where the rules are constantly changing, Mr. Johnson believes our young people need to hear from someone who has been where they are now.  He believes that today’s youth need to hear his real- life testimony of how he transcended above his environment and became a successful family man, businessman and a well-respected and prolific speaker.

Mr. Johnson is the President/CEO of the Wake-Up Youth Foundation. In addition to the many accolades and awards received, none are more rewarding than his call to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Mr. Johnson is the Pastor of Wake- Up Ministries in Memphis, Tennessee and a 2013 graduate of the Alternative Seminary (Alt.Sem) Certificate Program from the ITC- School of Theology in Atlanta, Georgia.

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