Change Makers: Paige Meade

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“Change Makers” highlights the people of Prince William who are making a difference in our community. This month, we feature Paige Meade.

How long have you lived in the Prince William area, and what do you most like about living here?
I’ve lived in Prince William for 31 years with a couple of short breaks for college and work. I love that Prince William has a small town feel with close proximity to a major metropolitan area. It’s kind of the best of both worlds!

What are some of your favorite things to do in the area and why?
I love the diversity of Old Town Manassas restaurants and shops, hiking the historic battlefields and the easy access to D.C. cultural activities and entertainment venues, such as Jiffy Lube Live.

How have you been involved in the community?
I fulfill numerous community service roles both in ACTS (Prince William) and also for the VA Department of Corrections. As an ACTS Sexual Assault Victim Advocate, I provide 1250+ yearly hours of on-call, community-based victim advocate services, working in partnership with law enforcement, medical providers and other allied professionals to offer hospital accompaniment services to victims of sexual assault in greater Prince William. I am also a group facilitator in the Prince William Adult Detention Center (ADC) women’s unit. I created a trauma-informed curriculum for group sessions and provide 105+ yearly hours to facilitate a weekly women’s group. The group provides peer crisis counseling with group sessions geared toward sexual abuse and sexual assault survivors. Our goal is to help individuals who have experienced sexual violence to establish healthy skills and discover paths to healing through understanding, peer interaction and education.

Additionally, I created ACTS 2017 #MeToo Sexual Assault campaign graphics and marketing materials, served on the 2018 Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) steering committee and was the 2018 Sexual Assault Services Volunteer of the Year. Commonwealth-wide, I am a guest lecturer for the Virginia Department of Correction (DOC)/U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office for Victims of Crime “Listen
and Learn: Victim Impact” program, which provides evidence-based programming geared toward helping offenders to become more aware of the impact that crime has on victims and to take responsibility for their actions.

I volunteer in Prince William because I was a victim of sexual violence in Manassas in 1992, and services such as hospital and court accompaniment weren’t available at that time. I went through the forensic exam, law enforcement investigation and eventual legal adjudication largely without support. While the Manassas City Police and the Commonwealth Attorney’s office were both incredibly helpful and supportive throughout the process, it would have been invaluable to understand what was happening and to have the
support of someone who had been through it before and could advocate on my behalf. I’m honored to be entrusted to provide Victim Advocacy services through ACTS, and I feel it’s my duty to give back to a community I’ve called home for 31 years.

If you had to give advice to someone new to the area, what would you tell them and why?
Reach out! There are so many volunteer opportunities where your skills could make a big impact, and it’s a great way to meet people and establish yourself as a part of our community. There’s a wealth of information online about different organizations and ways to get involved.

How would you describe yourself in three sentences?
Mum, victim advocate and business owner. Long-time resident of Prince William and passionate about victim rights. Helping turn trauma into resilience one human at a time.

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