Clackamas Women’s Services, Clackamas County’s primary agency supporting those impacted by domestic and sexual violence, will host its annual Pathways Community Awards on Thursday to honor local heroes for their critical contributions towards breaking cycles of intrapersonal abuse.

The one-hour program included inspirational personal testimonies about lived experiences related to intrapersonal abuse, human resilience, and community, with opportunities for virtual attendees to support CWS in their mission through donation or bidding in an online auction.

This year’s honorees included Sen. Rob Wagner, Sen. Kathleen Taylor, Providence Forensic Nurse Katie Schafer and longtime Camp HOPE America – Oregon volunteer, Mary Koch.

“We are so thankful of the generosity for the community,” said Executive Director Melissa Erlbaum. “Many civic leaders and elected officials have inquired about the needs of survivors, advocating for legislation and critical funding for the services we provide, and volunteers have gone above and beyond.”

Executive Director Melissa Erlbaum speaks to attandees at the CWS’s Pathways Gala in 2019.

“We truly value the importance of community,” she added. “When we create community, we thrive together. Community is wellness. Community is healing. For us at CWS, community is everything and we are so grateful.”

Sen. Rob Wagner was honored for his contributions in prioritizing violence prevention education, notably by proposing and passing legislation in 2019 requiring Oregon school districts to develop policies to prevent youth suicide. Wagner was also a chief sponsor for a 2019 bill requiring Holocaust and genocide education in Oregon schools.

Sen. Kathleen Taylor was honored for her leadership in bringing awareness and funding to issues of domestic and sexual violence. Taylor supported a bill passed in August extending applicability of several education policies related to intrapersonal violence and harassment to private schools.

Providence Forensic Nurse Katie Schafer was honored for her work in providing medical care to sexual assault survivors. Schafer leads Providence’s statewide Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program, a network of registered nurses with specialized training to care for survivors of sexual assault.

Mary Koch was honored for her contributions as a nurse volunteer with Camp HOPE America, an overnight summer camp with a chapter in Oregon where youth impacted by domestic or sexual assault participate in a week of rafting, campfires and the full gamut of traditional camp activities while fostering a community that can support each other through shared life experiences.



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