VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- Chief Navy Career Counselor (EXW/SCW/SW) Arusha "Cally" Johnson, assigned to Maritime Civil Affairs and Security Training (MCAST) Command, was awarded the 2013 Cheryl Foster Award, during a ceremony Sept. 18 in Norfolk.
Johnson earned the award for her outstanding volunteer service to the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) of South Hampton Roads' women in crisis domestic violence emergency shelter and hotline program.
Since May 2012, Johnson has served South Hampton Roads by providing immediate safe haven, emotional support, and referrals to survivors of domestic violence as a crisis hotline operator.
"During my tenure, I have been blessed to witness firsthand the results of a community coming together to increase self-sufficiency and empower survivors of domestic violence," said Johnson.
The YWCA of South Hampton Roads is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. Their programs are designed to provide quality services in response to survivors of sexual and domestic violence, young women seeking direction, the need for quality and affordable childcare, and opportunities to work collaboratively to eliminate racism in the community.
Johnson, a firsthand witness and victim of domestic violence, has been inspired to dedicate so much of her life helping people through the YWCA, the Navy's Family Advocacy program, and her career in the U.S. Navy.
"Being able to provide such a high level of support to those in imminent danger has been so rejuvenating and inspiring for me," she said.
As the command career counselor of MCAST, the Navy's only civil affairs component, Johnson is responsible for aiding in the professional development of more than 250 active duty and Navy Reserve Sailors and ensuring they are provided with quality career information to allow them to make sound career decisions and remain eligible for retainment.
"Through my service and sacrifice to others, I share my strength, hope and wisdom," said Johnson. "I consider every survivor I have ever encountered a success story because I know the courage, persistence, and strength it requires to break free, physically and emotionally, of a domestically volatile situation, especially when you have nothing,"
Johnson completes her Master's degree in Human Services with a specialization in marriage and family from Liberty University this December.
With 16 years of proud U.S. Navy service, Johnson plans to continue helping others after retirement.
"It is my goal to continue my service and commitment to others by providing crisis intervention and advocacy support to surviving families of domestic violence as a Family Service Advocate," concluded Johnson.
MCAST provides flexible and responsive teams of U.S. Navy Expeditionary Sailors on demand to establish and enhance relations between military forces, governmental and nongovernmental organizations, and the civilian communities.
MCAST, an Echelon IV command under Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, is headquartered at Naval Air Station Oceana - Dam Neck Annex. For more information about MCAST Command, visit www.mcast.navy.mil or contact MCAST public affairs at (757) 492-1937.
For more news from Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/necc/ .
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For more news from Maritime Civil Affairs and Security Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/MCAST/ .