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In photo left to right: Leon Strimel, Grace Coleman

Individual Prevention, Education & Outreach Award
Nominator: Grace Coleman, Executive Director, Crisis Center North
Award Recipient: Leon Strimel, Lead Prevention Educator, Crisis Center North


Before coming to CCN, Leon Strimel worked as a guidance counselor in a local school for 35 years. During that time, he helped countless students with their struggles with his empathy, compassion, and wisdom. After his retirement, Leon joined Crisis Center North (CCN) to continue his long history of excellence in improving the lives of youth in our community.

 Leon has been instrumental in growing curriculum and impact of CCN primary prevention programming. When he first joined in 2010, programming impacted about 2,000 students annually. Last year alone, over 13,000 students were reached through CCN's three

prevention education programs: Developing Health Relationships with Ourselves and Others (DHROO), Coaching Boys Into Men (CBIM), and PeertoPeer Empowerment (PPE).

 Developing Healthy Relationships with Ourselves & Others (DHROO) assists students in gaining knowledge, examining attitudes, and effecting positive change in behaviors. The strategy generated massive program growth for the Center's prevention education program.

Coaching Boys Into Men (CBIM) engages with young males in athletic settings to decrease instances of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) while fostering positive gender attitudes and bystander intervention. One CBIM participant noted, “We learned how to be role models, not only in our school but society. We learned to lead by example.” Due to the level of success Leon attained utilizing the CBIM curriculum, Futures Without Violence invited CCN to attend a round table discussion in 2015 to discuss his findings.

 PeertoPeer Empowerment (PPE) helps youth address IPV and dating violence. This program speaks to Leon’s dedication not only to innovation, but to empowering students. Students from 12 local schools take the initiative to be leaders by developing a IPV or dating violence project to implement in their school community.

 Leon’s efforts with PPE have gained national attention. In February, a documentary crew from Investigative Discovery filmed a presentation by Dr. Gary Cuccia of the Demi Brae Cuccia Awareness Organization that was being simulcast to 11 schools. The event was organized by students participating in the program under Leon’s guidance. In addition, Leon has been involved with FISA Foundation, participating in promotional material production for the Southwest PA Says No More Campaign.

 Leon Strimel has dedicated his life to empowering youth, and his work as a prevention educator at CCN is just another extension of his life’s mission. His passion, creativity, and innovation made CCN’s primary prevention efforts what they are today, and countless

students have not only benefited, but, also work to create community change through their own initiatives.

Award Presentation:

Mr. Strimel was presented the award on May 9th, during the 14th Pathways for Victim Services Conference in Hershey, Pennsylvania.    

On behalf of victims of crime and the victim services field, we thank you, Mr. Strimel, for your innovation, collaboration, and unfailing commitment to victims of crime.