Lonnie Wayne Walker is a native of Brooklyn, New York where he grew up in Red Hook community. He attended Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina where he majored in Social Work. Mr. Walker would later attend the College of New Rochelle in New York City to continue his studies in Social Work.
Mr. Walker has extensive experience working with youth and young adults over the past thirty years. As a youth, he worked with the Police Athletic League (PAL) Miccio Youth Program in Red Hook, Brooklyn. In 1999, Mr. Walker founded The New Millennium After-School and Camp where he served over thirty youth in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn. He would later relocate to Baltimore, Maryland in 2002 where he would become a Certified Therapeutic Foster Parent for over ten years and continued to be a youth mentor for more than twenty years. Mr. Walker has also directed and managed several group homes in the Baltimore, Maryland area.
Seeing a crucial need not being met in his community, Mr. Walker began to work towards the formation of a program to better service the unique needs faced by disadvantaged and runaway homeless youth. Being an openly gay man, he was moved by the great numbers of LGBTQ youth who were living on the streets of Baltimore. Fueled by this passion, in 2016, Just Our Youth (JOY) Baltimore was born.
JOY Baltimore is a youth outreach program that provides our Drop-In Center and Street Outreach Program provides outreach services to homeless, displaced, and runaway youth ages 13-24, with an emphasis on LGBTQ youth. For the past two years, Mr. Walker has operated JOY Baltimore totally without funding. During this time, he has been able to help hundreds of youth achieve their goals to stability and independence. Mr. Walker headed JOY Baltimore’s 1st Annual “Oh Give Thanks” family-style Thanksgiving Dinner where we served (100) youth, and provided them with free haircuts, toiletries and coats. He also organized “A Miracle on Pennsylvania Avenue” Christmas Tree Lighting in Baltimore’s Penn North section where over three-hundred (300) families received toys.
Mr. Walker was the co-lead of the 2017 100-Day Challenge to house (100) youth in (100) days. His team successfully housed (132) youth. Mr. Walker is currently serving as the co-chair of the Baltimore Homeless Youth Initiative.
“These are all our children. We will profit by or pay for whatever they become.”