Our mission at Denny Civic Solutions is simple: to help make the communities for which we work a far better place for all. With that in mind, we’d like to spotlight a Pennsylvania organization that shares that mission, and embodies its purest definition through its work.

PASSAGES, Inc. is a sexual violence prevention and service agency located in Clarion that serves the residents of Clarion, Clearfield, and Jefferson counties. It was founded on the campus of Clarion University in 1980 as The Rape Crisis Center in Clarion County. In 1995, in order to better encompass its work in the community, the center changed its name to PASSAGES, an acronym for Prevention And Services for Sexual Assault through Guidance, Empowerment, and Support.

The staff and volunteers at PASSAGES, Inc. truly embody the spirit of giving we associate with the holiday season. That’s why – in the name of our incredible clients and their own tireless efforts to better our communities – Denny Civic Solutions and longtime collaborator Donna Malpezzi of DMMConsulting are joining together to make a holiday donation to PASSAGES, Inc. You can do the same by clicking here.

As our own John Denny puts it: “Championing the underdog – it’s what both PASSAGES and Denny Civic Solutions strive to do every day.  PASSAGES works to turn ‘victims’ into strong, powerful survivors, and we’re proud to support their work.”

For her part, Donna Malpezzi knows that supporting the work of organizations like PASSAGES is more important than ever this time of year, saying, “PASSAGES truly engenders the holiday spirit.  Caring for and empowering us to be better people sets a barometer of kindness that DMMConsulting is proud to support.”

Under the leadership of executive director Marlene Austin, the staff and volunteers at PASSAGES work tirelessly to raise awareness in their community about the dangers of sexual assault faced by people of all ages. The organization’s two Prevention Education Coordinators have conducted more than 700 prevention programs in three counties in under a year, and their three counselors have seen approximately 500 clients this year. PASSAGES also has a corps of 20+ volunteers who work on a rotating on-call basis, and who are trained to work with sexual assault survivors in hospitals or police stations. Meanwhile, their Legal Advocate helps survivors throughout the entire court process, from preliminary hearing to sentencing.

PASSAGES also works to eliminate all forms of sexual violence through prevention education. They provide education programs that target young children all the way through adulthood because, as PASSAGES Prevention Education Coordinator Ben Thompson puts it, “Prevention starts when you are young. It starts with building self-confidence to set boundaries and learning to respect the boundaries of others. We are giving each individual through empowerment the tools to make changes.”

Thank you PASSAGES, for your work and for being a champion in your community. We leave you with the words of PASSAGES’ own Marlene Austin: “When we no longer need additional educators and counselors, and we no longer need to do this, then we have done our job. Then our work is finished.”