By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ricardo Guzman
YOKOSUKA, Japan – The USS George Washington (CVN 73) chapter of the Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions (CSADD) was selected as the large afloat Chapter of the Year (COY) for 2014 in an announcement by the Chief of Naval Personnel, Jan. 6.
This is George Washington CSADD’s second afloat COY award in the last three years.
“It feels great to find out that we won this year,” said Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Tavarus Franklin, George Washington CSADD chapter president. “Our CSADD officers and members are all extremely dedicated, unselfish, devoted to their positions and really make an impact on our ship and our host country.”
Franklin credits the chapter’s success with its ability to reach out to other CSADD chapters such as the Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) chapter, who was named CSADD’s 2014 ashore COY.
“Reaching out to the CFAY [CSADD] chapter allowed us to come together and collaborate on volunteer and social events on base and in the local community,” said Franklin. “They always made themselves available to help us out and provide resources if we needed them.”
CSADD is a peer-to-peer mentoring program that began in 2008 as a grassroots initiative that allows junior Sailors the opportunity to receive education and aid in resolving daily life conflicts, stress management and use of alcohol. The program has grown into more than 300 chapters and sub-chapters across the fleet.
“We really set ourselves apart by going out of our way to boost morale,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Seckiesha Isaac, George Washington CSADD treasurer. “We tried to set an example and reach out to Sailors to let them know about the resources and events we provide.”
George Washington CSADD hosted events underway and in port, and conducted several community service events for local communities within the ship’s area of operations. Events held in port included bowling events, monthly base and beach cleanups, food donations, movie nights and visits to a local orphanage. Underway events included community service events during each of the ship’s 2014 port visits and ice cream socials.
“We had a large amount of Sailors who wanted to know about who we are and what we do,” said Isaac. “Our chapter keeps very active and in doing so, we really send out CSADD’s message to the ship. The events we setup or volunteer at help a lot of Sailors relieve stress, make new friends and provide additional recreational activities that positively influence Sailors and the community.”
The cornerstone of CSADD is its ability to guide Sailors and provide solutions that prevent them from making wrong decisions. In 2014, CSADD chapters covered such topics as family planning, responsible use of alcohol, nutrition and fitness, sexual assault prevention and awareness, safe driving and motorcycle safety, off-duty recreation, suicide awareness, domestic violence prevention, drug abuse and, stress management.
“I highly encourage all junior Sailors to become members of their CSADD chapter or start one at their command if they don’t have a program established,” said Franklin. “In doing so, all chapters can continue to have a positive influence on their command, country and local communities.”