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The Advocate

Carrie Weeks Vorpagel grew up in the rural community of Walworth. But instead of going off to the city like some of her classmates, she wanted to return to a rural area. Today, Vorpagel lives in Elkhorn, just a few miles from where she was raised, and is making a difference working in area communities.

As a legal advocate with the Association for the Prevention of Family Violence ? a private, nonprofit organization ? Vorpagel works with people affected by domestic or sexual violence. As part of her job she contacts victims after a domestic violence arrest and often accompanies them to legal hearings or to court. She also helps victims obtain restraining orders.

Vorpagel received a bachelor?s degree in rural sociology from the College in 1999. In her work, she uses much of what she learned both in classes and on campus. The diversity on the campus gave her a better appreciation of various cultures and lifestyles. Vorpagel and seven other rural sociology students formed a group whose major activity was volunteering for community projects. Those experiences gave Vorpagel a deeper appreciation for community service and improved her ability to communicate with a variety of peo
A course on rural minority groups and the poverty cycle has stuck with Vorpagel. In the class, Gene Summers ? now professor emeritus ? explained the poverty cycle and why it is often so difficult for people to escape it. Vorpagel said the class gave her a better understanding of why it is not always easy for people to leave abusive situations. “There are so many factors involved,” she says.

A large part of Vorpagel?s job is providing direct legal advocacy with law enforcement, the district attorney?s office and other community agencies. She has spoken to local law enforcement officers about domestic violence and services provided by the Association for the Prevention of Family Violence. Although APFV primarily helps people in Walworth County, it is not affiliated with the county. Its services are available to others outside the area.

Working with people and helping them feel a sense of self-worth is what Vorpagel likes most about her job. In the future, she would like to expand her work into migrant worker and poverty issues.