Congratulations Ellen Sklar!

April 14, 2014

The week of April 6 to 12 was National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. In Vermont, after a week of workshops, seminars, and other activities, the Vermont Center for Crime Victims hosted an awards ceremony on Friday, April 11, to acknowledge advocates, survivor activists, and others for their exemplary contributions on behalf of crime victims. One recipient was our own board member Ellen Sklar, who received the Patrissis Award for her years of service as a Victim Services Advocate during her tenure for the Vermont Department of Corrections.

I first met Ellen Sklar in 2005 shortly after my daughter Laura was murdered. She was the designated liaison between my family and the prison system. Ellen provided advocacy by helping us understand the DOC system and by keeping us informed of system developments related to Laura’s case.  Ellen’s steadfast presence in court during the long 2-year process of hearings was reassuring and comforting. I also recall her driving me to Montpelier for a Crime Victims Rights Ceremony and Awards event and how easy conversation was during the trip and how comfortable and encouraged she made me feel. Then, when we were at the State House, she went about introducing me to former Governor Douglas, lawmakers, and others and made me feel further supported during a very difficult time.

After we had established the Laura’s Fund and Laura’s murderer was sentenced, Ellen joined our board of directors and continued her advocacy in a different way. We rely on her advice, candor, experience, and wisdom to guide us. Besides helping to plan and execute all our events, in her official board capacity as a Community Outreach Delegate, Ellen has facilitated introductions to community leaders and organizations and has helped promote LKW Fund events and also the Fund’s visibility. Ellen has represented the LKW Fund at numerous functions related to the prevention of sexual violence. More recently, she participated in the planning of Burlington’s International Women’s Day Celebration on March 8, 2014, and she continues to represent the LKW Fund at community meetings to address and prevent violence against women.

Congratulations, Ellen, for a much-deserved award!