Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today recognized Katie Adam, Jenn Grubb, Cheryle Gahring, Lydia Lynes, Amaya Rodriguez, LaQuisha Anthony, and the YMCA of Centre County as the recipients of the Governor's Victim Service Pathfinder Awards for their work with crime victims. The annual awards are administered by the Office of Victims' Services (OVS) in the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD).
"I am pleased to announce the award winners, who have gone above and beyond in their efforts for the victims of crime," Governor Tom Wolf said. "By highlighting their achievements, we honor their notable contributions to their communities and the victim service provider field."
The Allied Professional Award was given to Katie Adam, the Dauphin County Senior Deputy District Attorney. She worked in collaboration with Victim Advocates and law enforcement to educate the Amish community about sexual abuse, which resulted in numerous tips being reported to the police. Katie takes on the role of not just an experienced prosecutor, but a compassionate advocate and will often use the courtroom as a classroom and educate jurors about the impacts of trauma and the misunderstood reactions victims may have to a trauma.
The Community Service Award was presented to the YMCA of Centre County, which was recognized for their Darkness to Light program and Anti-Hunger program. Darkness to Light Stewards of Children is a training program which teaches adults to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. Their Anti-Hunger Program, Back-Pack Program, and Summer Lunch Program also provided free food to community members and children.
The Individual Direct Service award was given to Jenn Grubb, who has worked with Roads to Peace since 2019 as the Medical/LGBTQ+ Counselor Advocate. They have built solid relationships with the local medical facilities through their medical advocacy work and have made in-roads in gaining access to the very closed Amish and Plain communities in their area. Jenn is also recognized throughout the state through their participation in statewide coalitions.
The Individual Organizational Capacity Building Award was presented posthumously to Cheryl Gahring, who was with the YWCA Lancaster for 14 years, culminating in the role of Chief Impact Officer. Cheryl was influential in securing a YWCA National Hallmark Program called TechGYRLS to the YWCA Lancaster to support young women and girls. The program was facilitated by Counselors and Educators within the Sexual Assault Prevention and Counseling Center and empowered female-identifying children between the ages of 9 and 14 to pursue STEAM related careers. The award was accepted in her memory by her son, Derek Gahring.
The Prevention, Education, and Outreach Award was given to Lydia Lynes, who served as the Laurel House Community Education Coordinator. Lydia took their budding community education program and developed it into a sustainable and exemplary resource for domestic violence prevention in Montgomery County. She studied and created best practices for student interaction and engagement by creating games, videos, and interactive presentations to fit the needs of each school.
The Outstanding Student Activist Award was presented to Amaya Rodriguez, a student at Lebanon Senior High School and a sexual assault victim and survivor. She has organized protests and walkouts in order to bring attention to issues of non-responsiveness and lack of support for students who disclose sexual assault, rape, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment.
LaQuisha Anthony was the recipient of the Survivor Activist Award. A victim of abuse as a child and a sexual assault as a college student which resulted in a pregnancy, she testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee to urge Senators to change Pennsylvania's Statute of Limitations law regarding sexual assault cases for college-aged adults. Her testimony influenced a key amendment directly impacting college-aged adults.
John Delaney, Chair of the Victims Services Advisory Committee oversaw the distribution of the awards at a ceremony held at PCCD. The keynote speaker for the event, Karen Widdoss, was the 2021 Pathfinder Award winner for Survivor/Activist.
The mission of the PCCD is to enhance the quality, coordination and planning within the criminal and juvenile justice systems, to facilitate the delivery of services to victims of crime, and to increase the safety of our communities.
MEDIA CONTACT: Kirsten Kenyon, 717-265-8505
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