Monica Johnson - TFS '04 - Counselor at Tandem Friends

I work at Region Ten in Charlottesville on the Passive Community Treatment Team. We deal with Schizophrenia and other disorders and provide a hospital without walls. We help folks stay in their homes and out of the hospitals.
Tell us about your seightlifting. Well, I'm lifting lots of heavy things: kegs filled with water and sand, concrete stones, and I pull trucks. I enjoy pushing myself both physically and mentally. It brings me and others joy, too. It's a great way to work the pressure that you put on yourself and be with other women who lift. It's not glamorous. We're all changing our personal narratives and we get to deal with body issues and other parts of growing up.

What's it like for you to come back to Tandem as a counselor? Well, it's different. My people have moved on. Tandem is different in a good way. It's still nice but this job is a brand new role. I mean, I'm here as Grown Up Monica and this is where Little Monica went to school. I hope you understand! The biggest thing is I get to give back, too. Don't get me wrong, this is STILL TANDEM. It's still talkative and sociable and has a bright Spirit. One of the things is there's more diversity now and I love it. Before I was often the only person of color but I could be myself with faces that are not like mine. You know, my Sophomore Seminar got me into mental health. I looked at the foster care system. I never saw this coming. I didn't see college coming when I was at Tandem, except for Bobbi and them! And now I get to come back to do this work!