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Community Outreach

Crawford County’s framework for creating a healthy community is based on the premise that understanding and addressing the impact of trauma on populations and communities are powerful and effective public health innovations to support holistic healing and recovery. The initiatives and programs described below are examples of our accomplishments on the pathway of creating a community of health that is equitable, impactful, and replicable to other communities.

H.O.P.E. - Trauma Informed Community Development

Women’s Services, Inc. is trauma-informed and collaborative. Foundational to our programming is understanding the impact of trauma on individuals and communities.  Individual trauma is often rooted in Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and community trauma affects populations subjected to interpersonal violence, poverty, racism, sexism, and other structural violence.  Programs that emphasize safety, trust, peer support, collaboration, voice, and choice can be powerful public health innovations for healing and sustained recovery from violence and trauma.

HOPE, an acronym that stands for health, opportunity, place-making, and engagement, is Women’s Services’ initiative to prevent and heal community-level trauma. We work with local residents in communities that have experienced underinvestment in infrastructure, higher crime rates, lack of economic opportunity, and access to improved health. We strive to build trust, social support, a sense of community ownership, and engagement that will enable individuals and families to become healthy enough to access and sustain opportunities for improved health, safe housing, food security, education, and employment. HOPE is currently working in Meadville’s 5th Ward and looks forward to expanding to other communities in Meadville and Crawford County in the coming months and years. Read more about HOPE in our Year in Review report.

Crawford Clean Slate

Helping to improve access to employment and safe housing. Individuals with criminal records face significant challenges in securing safe and affordable housing, access to funding for education and job training, and securing employment in jobs with opportunities for long term financial security.  Women’s Services is the first point of contact for community members who are seeking an opportunity for relief from past criminal charges.  We then connect people with the Crawford Clean Slate initiative, which provides a pathway for many individuals with past records of non-violent crimes to seal or expunge their records as provided by Pennsylvania law; and when relevant, to apply for pardons.  Applicants must have satisfied criteria for elapsed time without other criminal offenses, paid fines, and otherwise satisfied the terms of convictions.  Individuals seeking more information may call Women’s Services at 888-881-0189 or 814-333-9766   Staff members will ask for some basic contact information and refer callers  to trained Clean Slate volunteers who will follow up, assist with determining eligibility, facilitate access to legal services, and work with individuals throughout the process of removing barriers to greater economic mobility and security.

Prison Outreach Program

Many women in prison are victims of trauma from sexual assault and domestic violence. National data indicates that as many as 86% of women inmates have experienced sexual assault and that 77% have experienced intimate partner violence. Unfortunately, the prison system lacks the expertise and resources to help these women heal from their trauma and abuse and live healthier lives.


Women’s Services has provided counseling services in SCI Cambridge Springs since 2015, and our services have grown to include accompaniment for women who have been sexually assaulted in prison, and individual and group counseling that has been provided to hundreds of women. Programming includes a range of topics that help women understand that they are not alone in their abuse and that healing is possible. Women’s Services is a key partner in a new trauma unit, the House of Healing, a voluntary 6-month program staffed by a prison psychologist, a drug and alcohol specialist and Women’s Services. Women completing this program are demonstrating significant improvement in how they handle stress and trauma.


While we cannot always prevent the crimes and violence that result in imprisonment, Women’s Services is demonstrating that services and support provided during incarceration can help women to become healthy enough to lead safe and productive lives when they are allowed to return to their families and communities.

Community Gardens

Although it may not be inherently obvious, there is an intersection between preventing violence and promoting healthy eating and physical activity. In 2013 we started to explore the correlation between food security and violence prevention and planted our first vegetable garden.  We believe that by creating activities around healthy food access we are actively engaging all age groups in community stewardship and strengthening community bonds. By fostering a sense of pride and ownership in the gardens we’re not only deterring violence, but also providing increased access to healthy, affordable food, enriching neighborhood aesthetics, cultivating (pun intended) community collaboration and strengthening the fabric of our community by building social capital. There is mounting evidence that promoting social connections and trust among neighbors contributes significantly to a decrease in violence and crime.  That’s why we’re encouraging our neighbors to plant a community garden today to squash violence tomorrow!

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Golfer Information

Individual golfer fees are $125 and cover cart and greens fees, brunch, hole prizes, snacks and beverages on the
course as well as appetizers at the awards ceremony. If you have any questions, please contact Julie at
Women’s Services 814.724.4637.

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