Craig advocate wins state award for helping victims of domestic and sexual violence find freedom | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig advocate wins state award for helping victims of domestic and sexual violence find freedom

Immigrating to America with her daughter in 2000 to get married should have been a happy time.

When the marriage turned verbally and psychologically violent, Patricia Maradiegue de Wagner found herself needing help.

She turned to Advocates Crisis Support Services. She now works there to help others in her role as the Latina Outreach Coordinator.

"I used to call them my angels, they were listening to me and helping me. There wasn't much information about the powers of petition or the victims' act. We survived through the emotional and psychological help that we received," Maradiegue de Wagner said.

As a survivor, she learned that victims have rights and resources and began volunteering with Advocates 13 years ago. She was hired as an employee in 2007.

"I have always wanted to do this job," Maradiegue de Wagner said.

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In June she received state recognition for her work when the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault selected Maradiegue de Wagner as the 2017 winner of their Excellence in Advocacy Award.

The award was presented at the coalition's annual Colorado Advocacy in Action Conference Awards Ceremony that took place June 13 in Vail, Colorado.

Each year the award "recognizes an individual who consistently demonstrates commitment and skills in providing exceptional advocacy services, which may include prevention education work, on behalf of primary and secondary survivors of sexual assault," according to the selection letter sent to Maradiegue de Wagner by the coalition.

"She is really dedicated to the community. We care and want to make the community better, to eliminate the violence going on. What I see from Patty is her deep care and desire to change this," said Advocates Crisis Support Center Executive Director Chuck Grobe.

Working with victims can take a toll, but after 10 years Maradiegue de Wagner draws energy and comfort from her faith.

"Even when we want to cry, we try to keep a smile," Maradiegue de Wagner said. "Only God knows why things happen, and for me, he is the center of my life. He keeps me running. It has become a passion for me."

Her hope is that her clients will experience the same kind of transformation the organization once brought to her.

"I felt like a little bird in a cage that was freed. At first I was just walking, now I have spread my wings and feel like I'm flying," Maradiegue de Wagner said. "Don't hesitate to try to leave, or if you know someone who needs help, we are here."

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education

For help

If you or someone you know is or has been affected by domestic or sexual violence Advocates Crisis Support Center provides free, confidential assistance.

Call the 24-hour Crisis Line at 970-824-2400.

Or contact them by visiting, http://www.craigadvocates.org; calling 970-824-9709; or emailing acss.craig@gmail.com.