Sarah Deatherage, Champion for Change

Published: April 18th, 2015

Category: Featured, Student News

Sarah DeatherageSarah Deatherage, a master’s in public health student in the social and behavioral sciences track, received a 2015 University of Florida Champions for Change award presented by UF’s Office of Sustainability and Healthy Gators. The award recognizes individuals or groups in the UF community who have made significant contributions in the areas of sustainability and health.

Deatherage, who graduates this spring, has worked with a number of local and campus organizations, including UF’s STRIVE, a peer education group that is involved in outreach, education and advocacy related to the prevention of interpersonal violence.

“Probably the most unique part of Sarah’s achievement is the breadth of impact she has had in Alachua County and at the University of Florida,” said Rita Lawrence, Deatherage’s supervisor and an interpersonal violence prevention coordinator with GatorWell Health Promotion Services. “At each of the organizations with which she is/has associated, she has distinguished herself with her level of commitment to that organization’s mission.”

Deatherage volunteers with the Alachua County Crisis Center and is a crisis intervention consultant for UF’s Housing and Residential Education where she provides emotional support to students experiencing crises after hours. As an intern at the UF Police Department’s Office of Victim Services, she supervised peer advocates and responded to victims of violence, linking them to available services and offering crisis intervention and safety planning. At STRIVE, Deatherage develops and delivers presentations and activities related to sexual violence prevention, and mentors volunteers. She also organized and created content for STRIVE’s website redesign and produced a social marketing campaign on consent to sexual activity.

“In her years working with me as a lead peer educator for STRIVE, Sarah sets the bar very high in both the level of work she takes on and in its quality,” Lawrence said. “She worked and re-worked presentations about consent to sexual activity and sexual violence bystander intervention until they met the unique needs of groups of UF students, such as fraternity members and members of the LGBT community. She created interactive learning activities that students rave about to each other, thus spreading STRIVE’s reach as word-of-mouth ‘advertising’ results in more demand for our presentations.”