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Training program for advocates of domestic-violence victims to receive ASU Presidential Medal


Survivor Link, Arizona State University, AmeriCorps, School of Social Work

Members of Survivor Link wrap donated children's books in January for distribution at Valley domestic violence shelters as part of the MLK Day of Service. Photo by Mark Scarp

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June 18, 2020

Survivor Link, a team of Arizona State University educators, students, faculty members and community volunteers who work to promote healthy relationships and provide domestic violence interventions in the community, will receive the 2020 President’s Medal for Social Embeddedness at a ceremony to be held this fall.

The medal recognizes ASU faculty and staff who have worked as departmental, interdepartmental or transdisciplinary teams that have demonstrated excellence in embedding ASU in the social and cultural fabric of the university’s surrounding communities.

“This recognition is such an honor. It speaks to the hard work of staff, community partners, and students who are working every day to reduce violence in our communities and to provide evidence-based interventions for survivors,” said School of Social Work Professor Jill Messing, who also directs ASU’s Office of Gender-Based Violence within the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions. Survivor Link is one of four recipients being honored with this year’s presidential awards.

According to its website, Survivor Link aims to build networks of support by training domestic violence advocates and placing them in social service agencies throughout Arizona.

Through a diverse set of AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA service opportunities, Survivor Link strives “to build capacity to promote healthy relationships and reduce gender-based violence in our community.” Survivor Link members work under the guidance of the AmeriCorps mission "to strengthen communities and build leaders through team-based national and community service,” according to the website. 

Messing said that over the past five years, Survivor Link has engaged 340 ASU student interns in service-learning opportunities. These students have been trained as victim advocates, engaged in over 186,000 hours of service across 70 community partners, earned nearly $1.2 million in scholarship funding from Survivor Link, and implemented 961 risk-informed safety plans with domestic violence survivors.

Survivor Link has also provided training on the most up-to-date, evidence-based practices to over 1,000 community-based professionals, Messing said.

The past recipients of the award are:

  • 2019 – ¡Viva Maryvale!, a solution-oriented, multilevel, multisector collaborative approach that leverages social, cultural and community-level resources to support health promotion and diabetes 2 prevention among high-risk Latino families living in the west Phoenix neighborhood community of Maryvale. 
  • 2018 – ASU America Reads Program, which partners with community organizations to offer tutoring to children living in low-income areas. 
  • 2017 — CarePRO (Care Partners Reaching Out), an evidence-based, psychoeducational skills-building intervention for family caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. 
  • 2016 – FitPHX Energy Zones: A Partnership for Health, which works with local community services to provide nutrition education and physical activity to youth at high risk for obesity.

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