Finding Our Voices, the grassroots, Camden-based nonprofit, has won a national award for its bookmarks featuring the faces and voices of 43 Maine survivors of domestic abuse.

Last year, the group won the same “Outstanding Awareness Campaign” award for its posters, which have papered every county in Maine and in the past month returned to Boothbay Harbor, Northeast Harbor, Southwest Harbor, South Portland, Biddeford, and debuted in Lincoln and Portland’s Old Port. Survivors on the print domestic abuse awareness-outreach range from 18 to 82 and include an incarcerated woman and Governor Janet T. Mills.

Patrisha McLean, founder, and president of Finding Our Voices said “It is tremendously validating for our ground-breaking campaigns marshaling faces and voices of domestic abuse survivors to be recognized by experts in the field. And it is extra validating for our activity in Maine to be recognized at a national level.”

More than 25,000 Finding Our Voices bookmarks have been distributed across Maine since the campaign launched two years ago, including by police on their domestic violence calls, advocates in District Attorney offices, food pantries, medical and beauty clinics, and public libraries and bookstores.

The Purple Ribbon Awards is run by experts in the domestic violence field and, according to, “is the first comprehensive awards program honoring the countless heroes of the domestic violence movement, including advocates, programs, shelters, survivors and members of the community support system.”

Mary Lou Smith, the senior survivor-star of the posters and bookmarks at 82-years-old, also won a 2022 Purple Ribbon award for Volunteer of the Year for her work with Finding Our Voices. Safe House out of Saco won 2022 Purple Ribbons for Outstanding National Organization, Program/Shelter of the year, and also Outstanding Service Launch for its free, national phone app directing people in crisis to resources. Eliza Conley-Lepene, founder/CEO/president of Safe House, is one of the survivors on the Finding Our Voices bookmarks and posters.

The awards put Finding Our Voices and Safe House in the running for $30,000 of prize money, with the selection announced at the virtual Purple Ribbon Awards celebration on Sept. 21.

The Finding Our Voices multi-media exhibit featuring Patrisha McLean’s photo portraits of Mary Lou, Eliza, Christine, and forty other Maine survivors, as well as documentation of the abuse the women transcended, is at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center in Belfast through October. For more information about the exhibit and Finding Our Voices visit