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Prairie Profiles: New social work advocate at CVCC enjoys helping others

In just her first week on the job, Heather Johnson already knows she’s where she needs to be.

The 37-year-old Albert Lea native is the newest team member at the Freeborn County Crime Victims Crisis Center. She started last Tuesday as a social work advocate for the center.

“We’re all equals here, although I’m the low man on the totem pole,” Johnson said of her role within the CVCC.

The CVCC provides assistance with orders for protection and harassment restraining orders, court accompaniment, victim advocacy, educational support groups and assistance with filing reparation applications for victims of crimes. The majority of the center’s work is with survivors of domestic violence.

In December, Johnson graduated from the College of St. Scholastica with her bachelor’s degree in social work, after having worked with mentally or physically handicapped adults for years with REM Woodvale of Albert Lea. She will still work on an on-call basis for REM for the time being. Johnson said working with those individuals made her realize she has a passion for helping people.

“I wanted to do more, both for other people and my community,” she said.

With the CVCC, Johnson will help survivors of domestic violence seek orders for protection, help them through court proceedings and advocate for them for other services.

“My goals are to do the best that I can, work as a team and provide services to the community,” she said.

Having been born and raised in Albert Lea, Johnson’s entire family is in the Freeborn County area. Johnson and her husband are raising their two daughters in Albert Lea, as well.

“It’s beautiful,” she said of Albert Lea. “It’s a nice, clean, safe community… for the most part.”

For that other part? That’s where Johnson and the CVCC plan to come in.

Heather Johnson

Age: 37

Address: Albert Lea

Family: husband and two daughters

Livelihood: social work advocate with the Freeborn County Crime Victims Crisis Center

Interesting fact: recently went with her husband to his native country Togo in west Africa for two weeks, before going to Jamaica for a week for a global social work initiative