2021 Advocate of the Year 

2021 Sr. Rose Marie Nigro 

Advocate of the Year


Stephanie Elbert


Stephanie Elbert has dedicated almost two decades of her career to providing support, validation and support to victims of domestic violence and crime.  Upon learning of her selection, Stephanie stated, “I feel incredibly blessed and loved to be chosen for the Advocate of the year award.  The support I received as a survivor of domestic violence changed my life and I knew I wanted to do the same for other survivors. I have been blessed over the years with so much support, education, guidance, and friendship from the Emergency Support Shelter staff, administration, Board of Directors and volunteers. I am grateful to everyone for their passion in changing our community and letting every victim know they are loved,valued and not alone.”


Stephanie Elbert is pictured holding the Advocate of the Year award as well as a purple Hands are Not for HurtingⓇ bear.  Thousands of people in our community have taken the pledge to “I WILL NOT USE MY HANDS OR MY WORDS FOR HURTING MYSELF OR OTHERS”® thanks to Stephanie’s visits to classrooms, assemblies and community events.


Join us in congratulating and thanking Stephanie as the recipient of the 2021 Sister Rose Marie Nigro Advocate of the Year.

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2021 Advocate of the Year Nominations


I am nominating Jill for the advocate of the year award.  Even though helping victims of domestic violence is part of Jill’s career, the heart and care that she has put into making sure that people know they are heard and not alone is above and beyond.  Jill truly cares about the people she serves at Emergency Support Shelter and has touched the lives of hundreds of people whose journeys have been impacted by domestic violence.  I admire Jill’s tenacious commitment to the mission of ESS and for being a role model of hope for survivors.

Jill Mathews


Stephanie Elbert

I am nominating Stephanie Elbert for the advocate of the year award because of her cumulative impact on our community over many years. Stephanie has been an advocate for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, vulnerable adult abuse, and many other crimes for 17 years at the Emergency Support Shelter. She helped build and establish key programs that exist today and serve thousands of people each year. She herself provided direct advocacy services to thousands of primary and secondary victims of crime and abuse. She is very well known by her coworkers, colleagues at other agencies, and community members as a model of consistent kindness, tenacious problem solving, and a person who would also speak up and stand up for the silenced and powerless. People from every walk of life know her as someone who would be available to them when they didn't know where to turn. She could hardly walk into any business or public space in our community without people recognizing her and going out of their way to thank her, let her know how they were doing, or just say hello. This is because she was always willing to go out of her way to help and support them. There are few people that I have met who were as respected and admired as Stephanie. The work she dedicated her life to has made an impact that cannot be measured. 


Sister Anne Hayes

I would like to nominate Sister Anne for the ESS Advocate of the Year award! Sister Anne has been a supportive advocate for ESS for many, many years.  She has a heart of gold and has worked hard to help ESS support children and parents out of domestic violence situations.  Sister Anne is one of the first people to volunteer to do her part for advocacy either through special committee work, being a board officer and helping to solicit funds for ESS or spreading the word about the important work ESS does for the community.
Sister Anne always has this most gracious smile, giving spirit, kind heart and wise words to support ESS staff and community.  She is precious not only to ESS, but to the community at large.  I believe this nomination is perfect for the Sister Rose Advocate of the Year Award.

I would like to nominate Nancy Westlund at the Cowlitz County Prosecutor's Office for “Advocate of the Year”. Nancy has a difficult & challenging job providing advocacy & coordination for victims and works with all police agencies, prosecutors, and other resource entities within Cowlitz County.  Nancy’s hard work consists of coordinating victim/witness schedules, meeting with prosecutors, defense attorneys, and victim/witness preparation for the adjudication process.  Nancy’s kindness, compassion, and formidable diligence combined with incredible communication skills and system knowledge exemplifies what is needed to advocate for victims/witnesses during this traumatic and terrifying process.  She is truly a tremendous asset to our community.

Nancy Westlund