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Crossing the Commonwealth

When Karen Baker became the new Chief Executive Officer of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape on March 1, she set a goal to visit each rape crisis center in the Commonwealth to learn more their communities and the unique work being done at each location.

Over the next several months, we will highlight where Karen has been and what she is learning at each center.

SPHS Center STTARS Program

Washington and Greene counties

On June 29, Karen visited SPHS Center STTARS Program serving Washington and Greene Counties. She met with Joanna, Kellie, Rachel, Kristen, and Haley. Their program is part of a larger healthcare, behavioral health, and social service provider network that meets the needs of clients in a holistic and integrated way. They have recently developed a program serving individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Even with limited resources, the staff successfully balances multiple demands including advocacy, services, funding, reporting, and community outreach.


Crime Victims Council of Lehigh Valley, Inc.

Lehigh County

Karen learned about the community outreach efforts taking place at Crime Victims Council of Lehigh Valley, Inc. during her visit on May 30. Executive Director Suzanne Beck highlighted a fundraising campaign CVC organizes in which the staff sells roses at area college graduations. They will hold a conference on Human Trafficking on June 27.

For more information about the Crime Victims Council of Lehigh Valley, visit


Women's Resources of Monroe County, Inc.

Monroe County

Karen traveled to the Delaware Water Gap on May 30 to meet with Women’s Resources of Monroe County, Inc.’s Executive Director, Lauren Peterson. Peterson, a member of the PCAR Board of Directors provided a tour of the center’s office and shelter which were designed and furnished with a trauma-informed perspective. Staff at the center also highlighted the community support they receive for their events throughout the year.

For more information about Women’s Resources of Monroe County, Inc., visit


YWCA Lancaster

Lancaster County

Karen continued her PA center visits on May 23 with a stop in downtown Lancaster where she met YWCA Lancaster staff to learn about some of their great initiatives such as adding a sexual assault counseling center and creating affordable housing units. The center recently hosted their 20th Race Against Racism, and they organize the Keys for the City program which places decorated outdoor pianos throughout the city.

For more information about YWCA Lancaster, visit


Transitions of PA

Union, Snyder, and Northumberland counties

Transitions of PA hosted Karen on May 4. She met with Executive Director and PCAR Board Member Susan Mathias and participated in the center’s staff meeting. She also learned about a number of the center’s projects including their expansion into new office space and their partnership with Susquehanna University as part of an Office on Violence Against Women Campus Grant.

For more information about Transitions of PA, visit


Crime Victim Center of Erie County, Inc.

Erie County

Karen visited Crime Victim Center of Erie County on April 26-27, attending the center’s annual Speaker Series which featured Tommy Williams and Erin Merryn. She also participated in the center’s annual conference making the opening remarks and met with community leaders including board members, the Chief of Police Dan Spizarny, District Attorney John Flynn and Senator Daniel Laughlin at a special reception following the conference.

For more information about Crime Victim Center of Erie County, visit


Center for Victims

Allegheny County

Karen recently traveled to Center for Victims in Pittsburgh, PA where she met with Laurie McDonald, CEO, Tracey Provident, Chief Program Officer, as well as other senior staff. She learned about their innovative counseling, soon-to-open interactive trauma exhibit and their canine advocacy programs.

For more information about Center for Victims, visit


Women's Services, Inc.

Crawford County

While visiting with staff from Women’s Services, Inc. on April 20, Karen learned about the staff’s involvement in the local school districts at all grade levels and the work the center is doing in prisons.

For more information about Women’s Resources, Inc., visit