Survivor Activist Award
Award Recipient: Traci Bletz, Clinton County Women’s Center, Inc.
Nominator: Mary Jane Isenberg, Executive Director, Clinton County Women's Center, Inc.
Award Presented By: Bruce Harlan, Victims' Services Advisory Committee Member
Ms. Traci Bletz is currently the Client Services Coordinator at Clinton County Women's Center, Inc. where she has been employed for approximately 18 years. Ms. Bletz is not only an advocate, but a survivor. Her experience with victim services started when she came to the Clinton County Women's Center as a shelter resident approximately 25 years ago as a domestic violence abuse victim. From the moment Ms. Bletz arrived at the shelter with her four small children, she amazed the shelter staff as she grew and found her place in life. Ms. Bletz was inspired by her counselors who helped her and who became her role models. She secured a position with the Women's Center as a Community Worker, and proceeded to take the volunteer training.
While volunteering and raising her children on her own, she attended college and received an Associate's Degree in Human Services. When a position as a part-time night shelter manager became available in the program in 1991, she applied for the job and was hired. Ms. Bletz continued as manager for three years, with her eye on the future and the position of Legal Advocate. When that position became available in 1994, her own experience with the court system and her desire to assist other victims with this process helped her to secure the job. Eighteen years later, she is still the main Legal Advocate for the program and was recently promoted to the position of Client Services Coordinator.
Ms. Bletz has also built solid relationships with other entities in the community, and has a good working relationship with every police department in the county. She has become a trusted colleague of judges, district magistrates and the District Attorney. Ms. Bletz continues to pursue training in the field of victim services to stay up to date on the best services she can provide to victims who walk through the doors of the Clinton County Women's Center. Ms. Bletz has provided training to police departments on new initiatives and regularly visits the departments to continue to build relationships. She is currently leading Clinton County's participation in the Lethality Assessment Project of the PA Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Ms. Bletz goes out of her way for every woman, child and man who comes to the program seeking assistance. She is a strong advocate and works tirelessly on getting the services she believes her clients need. She has used her past experience as a battered woman to improve police response, court response and advocacy for all battered women. In addition to the work she has done in Clinton County, she has been an integral part of the Battered/Formerly Battered Women's Caucus of the PA Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She has served in several statewide positions including Caucus Co-Chair.
Ms. Bletz has been a leader and an inspiration to many battered women and to volunteers in the victim services movement. She not only takes pride in her work, but continuously works to improve her skills and advocacy work to assist victims of crime. On behalf of victims of crime and the victim service’s field, we thank you Ms. Bletz for your innovation, collaboration and unfailing commitment to victims of crime.