In photo: Jenny Murphy-Shifflet, Executive Director, SARCC
Award Recipient: Sexual Assault Resource and Counseling Center of Lebanon and Schuylkill Counties (SARCC)
Nominator: Anthony Miller, Chairperson, Sexual Assault Resource and Counseling Center of Lebanon and Schuylkill Counties
Since its inception in 1985, SARCC has been serving victims of sexual violence in Lebanon County and; since 2009, in Schuylkill County. SARCC’s mission is to engage all individuals, families and communities in healing, advocating and educating for the elimination of sexual violence.
SARCC keeps its finger on the pulse of the communities it serves, striving to understand the multi-faceted needs of the victims who seek its services. Additionally, SARCC strives to identify and replicate evidence-based practices to ensure that victims in Lebanon and Schuylkill Counties are getting quality services. Finally, SARCC has used creativity, humor and innovation to get its message across to the general public about sexual violence.
In terms of understanding the changing needs of its community, SARCC has worked very hard over the years to build services for the Spanish-speaking population in its service-area. Not only are services available in Spanish, but the organization invested time and effort in learning how to make services welcoming and culturally appropriate for this underserved population.
SARCC has also been instrumental in bringing two evidence-based programs to the area. SARCC was a key player in bringing a satellite office of the Pinnacle Health Children’s Resource Center to Lebanon to conduct forensic interviews and medical exams for children who have experienced physical and/or sexual abuse. The Center opened in August 2014 providing forensic interviews and forensic medical exams and is a model of collaboration between community stakeholders.
In neighboring Schuylkill County, SARCC has worked with a variety of community stakeholders in Tamaqua to launch the Live the Green Dot Campaign, which is a strategy that provides a comprehensive approach to violence prevention by capitalizing on the power of peer and cultural influences across all levels of the socio-ecological model. The Green Dot Campaign has also been adopted by Lebanon Valley College and is now a permanent program under the Public Safety Department.
SARCC has also been an enthusiastic proponent of public awareness campaigns including the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” campaign to promote awareness of gender based sexual violence. The mission is to create a unique and powerful public experience which educates the public about the causes of sexualized violence, providing them with prevention strategies and empowering them to further develop and implement this knowledge and these skills interpersonally and politically. Anyone who has seen the You Tube video of these SARCC events knows that they have left an indelible impression on the community. The volunteers at SARCC hosted the campaign and recruited close to 200 men and women to walk the walk down Cumberland Street in Lebanon and Center Street in Pottsville in high heels. The event raised over $20,000 for services and gave men an opportunity to be part of the solution.
In 2013 and 2014 SARCC was recognized as Nonprofit of the Year in both Schuylkill and Lebanon Counties. They were also recently recognized in the Violence Against Women 20th Anniversary Report among 131 programs as an expert program in the field of Violence Against Women.
On behalf of victims of crime and the victim services field, we thank the Sexual Assault Resource and Counseling Center of Lebanon and Schuylkill Counties for its innovation, collaboration and unfailing commitment to victims of crime.