The Shippensburg Community Resource Coalition (SCRC) announced that Sonja Payne, SCRC coordinator, is the recipient of two awards in recognition of her commitment, dedication, and advocacy work for healthy communities in the Shippensburg and surrounding communities. Sonja received the Healthy Franklin County ‘Community Health Outstanding Young Professional Award’ and the Partnership for Better Health ‘Champion for Better Health Award’ in October.

Sonja has worked with SCRC for over 5 years and has held the SCRC coordinator position since December 2020.  The awards  highlight her ability to strengthen the health capacities of organizations and groups to collaborate and engage in strategies to improve health by supporting decisions, conditions and systems that enable people to live healthier lives in their schools, workplaces, homes, and neighborhoods.

Liz Fisher, SCRC director and professor of Social Work at Shippensburg University, stated “Sonja’s work increases equitable access to health services, strengthens health capacities AND builds healthy communities…She has planned, implemented, and evaluated numerous free workshops over the years covering topics such as social determinants of health, diversity /equity/ inclusion, and tenant/landlord relationships, and mental health.”

Sonja received the award from Healthy Franklin County on October 20, 2022, during the Franklin County Health Summit. This event is open to the public with pre-registration. She received the Partnership for Better Health award on October 27, 2022 at an event with other awardees.

When asked about her work and the awards, Sonja said, “What I do at SCRC is my dream job – assessing communities, seeing their strengths and areas of concern, and then working with the community to celebrate their strengths and enhance their overall well-being. My goal is to have a community in which everyone can thrive. I am honored and humbled to receive these awards but must recognize and thank the community members and other community organizations for their part in increasing the health of our community! It was and continues to be a team effort!”

The SCRC is a community-university partnership and a Shippensburg University Center for Excellence. It is a collaborative effort to provide quality social services and youth programs that are accessible and safe and that recognize the dignity and worth of each person. The SCRC’s goal is to help community members reach their full potential. For more information, please visit