Shannon Conrad Wokojance and Alexandra Potter, Victim Assistance Program advocates assigned to the Akron Police Department, room 935, received the National Organization for Victim Assistance 2017 Exceptional Victim Advocate Award for community-based advocacy.
The advocates’ photos and nominating information was posted on the NOVA web page during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.
Shannon recently celebrated her third year anniversary with Victim Assistance Program. Alexandra will celebrate her first anniversary in August. Both were excited to receive the letter from NOVA, informing them of the recent honor.
“I’ve always thought advocacy was my calling,” Shannon said. “My aunt always said I would be the one in Washington, fighting injustice.”
She said she is pleased that her three years of hard work has been nationally recognized.
“I’m so grateful for the opportunity to work here,” Shannon said. “This is my second home and everyone here is my family. I wouldn’t get through the day if I didn’t have the people sitting next to me.”
Alexandra knew she wanted to work in the criminal justice field. She wasn’t sure how until she was offered an advocate job with the Rape Crisis Center of Summit and Medina Counties.
“I didn’t join this field with an exact plan,” she said. “I just knew I wanted to make a difference.”
Before joining Victim Assistance Program, Alexandra worked with the Rape Crisis Center and Battered Women’s Shelter of Medina and Summit Counties.
After joining Victim Assistance Program, Alexandra worked with Akron, Cuyahoga Falls, and Barberton police departments, Akron General Medical Center, Summa Health System, and the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office to develop the PATH (Providing Access to Healing) Center at Akron General Hospital. The PATH Center provides “quality, trauma-informed, compassionate care to victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, elder abuse and neglect for Summit and surrounding counties, while ensuring the quality of evidence collection,” according to the PATH Center website.
“Anyone who works in the field of victim services knows that our job is often selfless and thankless,” Alexandra said. “We don’t do this work for the recognition, the money, or an award. In all reality, the hours are sometimes long and erratic, the stories are heart wrenching, and vicarious trauma is inevitable.
“Despite the obstacles we face, we will always meet that one person, that one family, that one colleague who re-ignites the fire inside of us to keep striving for better- not for ourselves, but for those we serve,” Alexandra said.