ATHENS – Gateway Domestic Violence Center’s Rosemary Stefanoff has been honored with the 2019 “In the Trenches” award, by the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence (GCADV) at the Georgia Commission on Family Violence Conference, which is occurring this week in Athens.
The “In the Trenches” award, given annually by the GCADV, recognizes one front-line advocate whose effort goes beyond the ordinary to demonstrate extraordinary dedication to safety and justice for domestic violence survivors.
Currently serving as Gateway’s Spanish Services Coordinator, Stefanoff has worked in many roles through her 16 years at the Hall County agency, including as house manager, and she has worked overnight and weekend shifts at the emergency shelter, answering crisis line calls and facilitating support groups.
“When Rosemary sees an injustice, she won’t remain silent,” Gateway Executive Director Jessica Butler said while introducing Stefanoff during the award presentation Tuesday. “She is willing to speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves.”
Some examples of “going beyond the ordinary” in her work – attending the delivery of a pregnant survivor who had no one else, helping a past client navigate breast cancer treatments and medical documents, and ensuring the children of a client experiencing postpartum depression had what they needed and that the mother could care for them.
A talented artist, Stefanoff and a dedicated volunteer oversee weekly art support groups for Gateway’s clients, planning and creating projects that will give survivors ways to manage their stress and anxiety, as well as challenge them to try new things.
“Survivors feel comfortable in her presence. She will listen as long as a survivor needs to talk,” Butler said. “Women who participate in Rosemary’s support groups often attend support groups for two years or more. She creates a supportive community that people want to be a part of.”
Stefanoff accepted the award on Tuesday morning from Christy Showalter, GCADV associate director.
“Domestic violence advocates like Rosemary do not seek the spotlight,” Butler said. “It’s rewarding to have the opportunity to show her and other advocates like her how vital they are to the most vulnerable in our community, and how we could not fulfil our mission without them.”