Clark State’s Van Noord receives Project Woman’s Chrysalis Award

Melinda Van Noord, Clark State College’s director of counseling services, has received this year’s Project Woman’s Chrysalis Award.

Project Woman is dedicated to ending domestic violence and sexual assault by providing services and programs to protect, educate and empower. The nonprofit, founded in 1974 by community volunteers, operates a full range of rape crisis and domestic violence services and is accredited by the Council on Accreditation.

“As a counselor, I have found that most of the individuals I have worked with have faced trauma, especially abuse,” Van Noord said. “One of the most valuable roles in my job is helping survivors find stability and a sense of connection through their engagement at Clark State. I understand how important Project Woman’s mission is for our community, and I have the greatest respect for their efforts to provide safety and empowerment for survivors.”

Chrysalis Award recipients demonstrate attributes of advocacy within the community, in partnership with Project Woman, on behalf of survivors, or stepping up and beyond barriers to create change related to domestic violence and its impact.

Laura Baxter, executive director of Project Woman, said Van Noord demonstrates the attributes of an advocate.

“She has stepped into gaps to make sure survivors get connected and are not facing the trials of trauma alone. She has been creative in establishing and sustaining programming at Clark State and within the community,” she said.

Van Noord was nominated by Emily Parsons, community advocacy and empowerment coordinator, and on behalf of Clark State students. Project Woman has a nominating committee that reviews nominations and makes final award decisions.

“Melinda has believed in the mission and has supported us on behalf of the college. She has always made sure students have access to resources. As a counselor, she is a wonderful support system for students in need,” Parsons said.

The college also has a sexual violence prevention team that plans, coordinates and provides sexual and domestic violence awareness and prevention programming on campus, where Project Woman plays a valuable role.

During Domestic Violence Awareness month in October and Sexual Violence Awareness month in April, Project Woman provides trainings related to supporting survivors, provides resources for The Clothesline Project, and the college hosts their What Were You Wearing? exhibit, a display which defeats victim-blaming myths.

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