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Hello Network! A Greeting from DVN’s New Training Services Coordinator

By:  Cecily Johnson, training services coordinator, DVN

My name is Cecily Johnson and I’m the the new training services coordinator for the Domestic Violence Network.  I’m excited to start the New Year with a new job in a brand new city!

A little about me: as I stated earlier, my name is Cecily. On a personal note, I have come to accept that I have a very unique (weird) first name and a very common last name. I like to believe that my parents felt a need to compensate for the inevitable mispronunciations and misspellings that I would experience during my childhood. Just for fun, picture a couple of five-year olds trying to establish a best friendship on the playground, while navigating “Sess-ih-lee.” We just learned that whole “hooked-on-phonics” thing and now we have to learn this? Yikes!

I was born and raised in Georgia, where I lived until my late twenties. I attended Mercer University where I received my BA in Psychology, with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies, then studied at Georgia State University where I received my Master of Social Work degree, with a focus on community partnerships. It was while attending GSU, that I discovered my passion for working in the domestic violence and sexual assault prevention fields; I learned then that I wanted to be a part of The Movement. One of my first and fondest experiences was working with the Women’s Resource Center, where I served as a legal advocate, support group facilitator, and crisis line and safe house resident assistant. I loved my work at the WRC and hated to leave. Thankfully, I made lifelong friendships with my colleagues and we still keep in touch to this day; they are some awesome people!

(Insert 2+years of randomness and life experiences that can be discussed over coffee, instead of this blog!)

After a brief period of changing career directions (a.k.a. working in corporate America), I quickly realized that it really was not for me, and life simply changed. Naturally my career path changed as well. During this evolution, I found myself living in The Fabulous Las Vegas! I am fairly confident that whenever Vegas is referenced, you have to introduce the city in that manner. It just makes it more fun. In Las Vegas I got back to my roots and my passion, while working for the Nevada Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence (NCEDSV), as the program specialist for technical assistance. #mouthful

At NCEDSV, I did a great deal of work with community partners in the DV/SA field, but my biggest job was serving as project coordinator for the Elder Abuse in Later Life grant, awarded by the Office of Violence Against Women. I worked with our local direct-service providers, assisted living communities, caregivers, law enforcement, and advocates, on how to work together to end elder abuse in the Las Vegas community. Fun Fact: Las Vegas has a rapidly growing rate of senior citizens and retirees who settle there. At this rate, Florida is no longer the retirement destination – everyone is moving to Vegas.

I grew more than I realized while living and working in Las Vegas. I had the opportunity to enhance my skill set, while also learning new ones. I spent the beginning of my career with one specific population. In the new role, I had to learn to work with an entirely new part of our community. I had to learn how to do the work differently, where all victims of domestic violence and sexual assault were included in the conversations to prevent abuse.

As a new employee at the Domestic Violence Network, I am most excited about working with all populations, in the lovely state of Indiana in a way that includes EVERYONE. As the training services coordinator, facilitating and participating in discussions and trainings will only enhance and add to that inclusion of working with all individuals in the domestic violence and sexual assault prevention fields. I truly believe that a group of determined individuals really can make a difference. In my role as a trainer, I am responsible to help build that group – a community, through education and collaboration. I am looking forward to bringing my collection of skills and excitement to DVN and to the community as a whole in the future. I look forward to meeting and working with you in the very near future!