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Project Illumination

Project Illumination was founded in Aurora Colorado and is a collaborative, on-going, community-wide partnership effort to shed light on the impact of sexual violence against people with developmental disabilities and to identify tools that might be used to help eliminate this injustice. The Arc of Aurora in Colorado was awarded a $50,000 grant by the Office for Victims of Crime, U.S. Department of Justice, to continue its work on Project Illumination and to train other Arcs across the United States on how to partner with others to successfully replicate and implement Project Illumination.

Dawn Rudinski, formerly with The Arc of Pennsylvania, submitted a proposal for Pennsylvania that included information on Pennsylvania’s statewide group, the Cross-Systems Advocacy Coalition (CSAC), which had already partnered with a focus on developmental disabilities and trauma.

Seven jurisdictions throughout the United States, including Pennsylvania, were selected to participate in a training that was held on August 24-26, 2005 in Aurora, Colorado on Project Illumination. The goal of the training was establish a plan for how each state would celebrate Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in April 2006. Pennsylvania’s Project Illumination plan is described below.

Pennsylvania Project Illumination will encourage both Local Arc Chapters and rape crisis centers to celebrate Mental Retardation Awareness Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month. We will create two separate toolkits, one for each organization. The goal will be for the organizations to share specific information with each other regarding sexual violence against persons with disabilities.

The training, attended by a designee from the Arc of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse and Pennsylvania Protection and Advocacy, gave group members a chance to learn about each other’s organizations and mission. All members are excited for the potential and products that will come from project Illumination.

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