The PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency will award the Governor’s Victim Service Pathfinder Award to Amaya Rodriguez on November 17th at 2 pm through a virtual award ceremony. Amaya is one of six recipients of this year’s Pathfinder Awards. She will be recognized as an Outstanding Student Activist. A Governor’s Victim Service Pathfinder Award is the most prestigious award that Pennsylvania gives to a victim service professional or program.
In early 2022, Amaya worked with a group of her friends to organize a sexual assault protest. Through her activism, she connected with the local sexual assault program, The Sexual Assault Resource & Counseling Center (SARCC). The President/CEO of SARCC, Ali Perrotto, nominated Amaya for this award.
During several months in the spring, Amaya transitioned her protest event to a public Student Speak Out event on April 8th, 2022 at Monument Park. She also met with school administrators and the Title IX Coordinator, County officials, and local police to share about her experience and the goals of this event and the needs of teen survivors.
In partnership with the school principal, Amaya produced a public service video educating on the basics of sexual assault, options for reporting and accommodations through Title IX, and ways that students can ask for assistance using the statewide Safe2Say program.
“It takes great courage to speak out. Sexual violence is a common and widespread issue in our community and in the state of Pennsylvania. Young people are the age group at greatest risk for violence and victimization. Yet, it is incredibly difficult for a young person to disclose experiences of abuse and sexual assault, to be believed, connected with resources, and to find support. Amaya worked hard to draw on her own experiences and those of her peers to explain the challenges faced by teen survivors,” shared Ali Perrotto, SARCC CEO.
Amaya continues her advocacy on behalf of local students serving as a student intern at SARCC. She plans to continue planning county-wide, youth-led events to bring attention to sexual violence and options for healing services locally. Sexual violence survivors in Lebanon and Schuylkill County can connect with no-cost advocacy, counseling, and therapy services by contacting SARCC at 717-272-5308.
Community members interested in attending the Pathfinder Award Presentation can use the public access link provided by the PA Commission on Crime & Delinquency.