Sarah Champoux, an Oskaloosa native who is Crisis Intervention Services’ lead sexual assault advocate, has been working with Crisis Intervention Services for seven years. She began her career as an outreach advocate in 2010 after receiving a BA in Psychology and Human Services. Now, her position consists of assisting victims of Keokuk and Mahaska counties with counseling, medical support, and the criminal justice system. She also assists the sexual assault coordinator, helps other advocates with their questions, and leads team meetings when the supervisor in unavailable.
“I knew that I wanted to be a counselor,” Sarah says when reflecting upon her college career. “I ran across a CIS ad and applied for an advocate job,” and she soon grew to love her work: promoting positive social change, reaching people’s hearts, and raising community awareness as well as supporting her co-workers. Sarah states, “It’s important that the advocate and victim/client doesn’t feel defeated when results don’t go their way. Any change is good, we just need to keep pushing forward.”
Ultimately, Sarah says that she’d like to work herself out of the job, however every day she strives to give victims a voice, raise awareness, and give the community and victims the tools they need to support one another in the battle against sexual assault. She says, “It is important that the community is aware of CIS and that people volunteer because we can’t fight this battle by ourselves no matter how strong our team is.” In the past seven years of Sarah’s career, volunteerism has tripled, and Sarah hopes that it will continue to increase.
When reflecting upon her career, Sarah will tell you that she has learned from her experiences. Joining CIS allowed her to become more involved as well as aware of sexual assault. “I’m not as naïve as when I first started. I had always told myself, ‘That doesn’t happen here,’ but now I am more receptive.” Sarah encourages everyone to remain open-minded and not to shut CIS out. She says, “You may not need the services, but one of your friends or family members might.”