Sunday, January 8, 2012

joan renner: local hero

Congratulations to Joan Renner, who was recognized as a Local Hero during the November 29th Bank of America Neighborhood Excellence Initiative Awards. Bank of America introduced the Awards in 2004 to strengthen and support communities by recognizing and rewarding community-based organizations, local heroes and student leaders working to improve their communities. Joan, Director of the Sexual Assault Program at ywca clark county was one of five individuals receiving the Local Heroes Award. She was recognized for her dedication to eliminating sexual violence in Clark County, and for impacting the community profoundly by inspiring the individuals, families and community she serves.

Joan became involved in anti-sexual violence activities in 1979 while working at the Women’s Resource Center and the ywca Domestic Violence Shelter. At that time there were no resources for victims of sexual assault, yet the need for free, comprehensive advocacy was great. Knowing this, Ms. Renner helped found the Sexual Assault Program at ywca clark county in 1980, where she created the framework for victim services and collaborated with local partners to help eliminate the stigma of sexual assault, extend services to marginalized communities, and develop prevention education opportunities. Currently, the program is the only provider of free, 24-hour crisis intervention and advocacy for sexual assault victims in Clark County. Joan also created a training program to prepare community members, law enforcement and social service employees with the tools needed to provide advocacy and crisis intervention. In addition to her career, Ms. Renner dedicates her time to social change activities including serving six terms as a board member for the Washington Coalition for Sexual Assault Programs, leading the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Taskforce, and helping to create the Children’s Justice Center.

Besides fame and glory, Bank of America awarded a $5000 grant to a non-profit of Joan’s choice. ywca clark county was the proud recipient and will apply the funds directly to the Sexual Assault Program. With businesses like Bank of America and heroes like Joan Renner we can achieve peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

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