Just weeks after the Sexual Trauma and Abuse Care Center celebrated 50 years serving Lawrence, its executive director has announced she is leaving for a new position.
Chrissy Heikkila, who has served at the Care Center for 13 years, will leave her role effective Nov. 18 and join Heartland Community Health Center as its grants director.
“I am grateful to have been able to support this work at such a critical period of time in understanding and addressing sexual violence,” Heikkila said in a news release Monday. “It has been an honor of a lifetime to walk with survivors, and their experiences have humbled me, kept me going, and given me more hope and recovery in this work than I could have imagined.
“Sexual violence is devastating but healing is possible, and The Care Center proves that every day,” she continued. “I am honored to have shared this journey with so many passionate staff, board members, volunteers, and clients along the way. I am so excited for the agency’s next chapter.”
The Care Center is anticipating serving 1,000 clients this year, and plans to move its Lawrence office to 330 Maine St. by the beginning of the new year.
Aletra Johnson, president of the Care Center’s board of directors, said that Heikkila’s dedication to this challenging work “leaves a legacy in our community that will not be forgotten.”
“We are very thankful for her thoughtfulness, integrity, professionalism, her admirable grit, and determination over the years,” Johnson said in the release. “Chrissy’s blueprint for successful direction will offer the next Executive Director of The Care Center a good platform to take the center to the next level of service for Douglas, Franklin, and Jefferson counties.”
Heikkila started at the Care Center as an outreach coordinator. She held several roles before accepting the executive director position in 2013. The center’s board of directors has begun conducting a search for a new leader.
“(D)uring this transition period it is a priority to find the best individual to lead, while still maintaining a stable and effective organization,” the release stated.