“Being given the opportunity to make a difference in my small corner of the world as an employment specialist is such a gift. I get to see guys light up with pride and confidence as they put on their dress shirt for interviews, with the new feeling that they are now going to land the job that day,” says Camechia “CC” Johnson. Equipped with a master’s degree in mental health counseling, a bachelor’s in sociology, and an associate in human services, CC’s journey is a blend of academic expertise and hands-on frontline work.
Since July of 2022, her role as an Employment Specialist at Roof Above involves connecting shelter guests with employment opportunities, tending to their basic needs and supervising their well-being while emphasizing human connection in the face of homelessness. She has been in her current role for over a year, but she is no stranger to Roof Above as she had previously worked as relief staff for over 10 years. “During that time, I would commute to Uptown from Fort Mill just to work with the guys because it never felt like work. It felt more like ministry and service to me. I hung on and then COVID happened while I was caring for aging parents, I decided to resign to protect them from possible exposure. When I came back, I applied for the role I have now.”
As an Employment Specialist, she has the privilege of providing individuals with the tools they need to secure a job and rebuild their lives. CC recognizes the importance of having people in your corner when you are working toward your goals or rebuilding. She reflects on her own life and acknowledges the role her family has played in her journey. “I just don’t know what I would do without the support that I’ve had with my family. And to think, many of these guys don’t have that. When I think about who their support is, I think about Roof Above.” CC sees Roof Above providing the necessary encouragement and assistance that can make all the difference in helping guests reclaim their lives.
Beyond her professional life, CC is a proud mother of four. “I am almost an empty nester. My youngest is 12, and everyone else is graduated from, or in, college.” CC’s commitment to community service has transcended generations, as her children now actively engage in charitable work. CC’s daughter, now a college graduate, even brought her work colleagues to the shelter to volunteer. CC says, “That just warmed my heart because, when I started here, she was just in middle school, and now for her to be a college graduate in her profession, bringing her colleagues to volunteer. . . It makes me teary eyed because I never imagined at the time that they [my children] were watching and falling in love with serving the community.”
Her positive influence does not stop there as affirmations play a significant role in CC’s life, evident in her recent venture into children’s literature with the publication of “Say It Aloud.” This book reflects her belief that confident individuals build confident families, communities, and ultimately, a more confident world. CC advocates for the transformative power of affirmations, as she has witnessed their positive impact on individuals of all ages, from children to seniors. “I’ve gone into senior residences and read my book aloud, and they’ve literally told me things like ‘My knees feel better since I started speaking positive about myself.’ I truly believe that, at any age, we can all benefit from the power of speaking life.”
CC’s work and journey is a testament to the impact of positive thinking and the potential for change that lies within each spoken word. In a challenging world, CC stands as a beacon of positivity, reminding us all of the transformative power we can hold within ourselves.