Do you know someone Paying It Forward in the community? Send your nominations to payitforward@wsav.com.

SAVANNAH, Ga (WSAV) — Lloyd Johnson is paying it forward by taking area kids to court in hopes of creating change.

“I was working with the House of Representatives,” said Lloyd Johnson, retired prosecutor, “think I may have been the second Black subcommittee staff director in the history of the House of Representatives.”

“One day, a colleague said to me, he said ‘Lloyd, you’re really able to mess up the law without a degree, imagine the damage you could do with a degree.'”   

Johnson took that advice to heart. A graduate of Howard University and former social worker, the Boston native obtained his law degree in 1984 and began a career in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

“I left because I realized that rather than working with kids to adjust to a flawed society, we needed to change society. The movement came along. I was active in demonstrations. I went to jail several times but every time I went to jail, we always had to make sure we had a lawyer. Gotta have a lawyer,” said Johnson 

Now at 90 years old, the retired prosecutor is introducing a new generation of future attorneys to the profession.

For the past twelve years, Johnson and his colleagues have shared their experience and expertise with local students interested in getting a head start in the field — through a mentoring program called, ‘Court’s in Session.'”

Johnson continues, “I’ve been guided, I think, by, over these last, really 65 years. I look at it when I started working with kids. My sense of servant leadership. Someone once said, ‘You give someone a fish, you feed them for a day. You teach them how to fish, you feed them for a lifetime. And that’s what we try to do with these kids, to feed them for a lifetime.”

What started out as a summer camp, is now a year-round initiative, sponsored by the Savannah 100 Foundation, an all-volunteer non-profit that uses the law for social justice through public education and increasing the pool of attorneys who will become agents of change.

Like Mecca Aikens, the program’s first judge Eugene H. Gadsden Memorial Scholarship recipient.

“All of us pulled together and we felt that we needed to top off the program with scholarship support,” Johnson says, “So, we then developed the Gadsden Scholarship to identify these youngsters and give them some support, not just financially, but to work for social justice. Because as you know, Judge Gadsden was someone who really stood for not only legal excellence but for social justice.”

Johnson says he’ll continue to pay it forward by elevating and educating future legal eagles, like Mecca, who, by the way, just started her first year at Johnson’s alma mater, Georgetown Law.

“I think that we’ve had an impact. It hasn’t been me alone. But it’s been a lot of other people who have helped make it possible. Even the bailiffs in the courthouse and the sheriff and the judges who’ve made their courtrooms available to us. There’s just a plethora of folks who’ve helped make it all come together.”

He says helping Aikens and other young people soar is a part of who he is.

“I guess it’s my DNA. I don’t think about it I just do it.”

And he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.