The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil,
but because of those who look on and do nothing.

~~~ Albert Einstein

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Side Note, With a Request

While I try to make it a rare occurrence, sometimes I feel the need to ask for readers to look at something, and then do whatever they may be motivated to do to help out. I try to reserve requests for help- because I don't want to ever appear as if I am imposing upon anyone. And, given the current state of the economy- I want to assure you that I've given much thought to asking for assistance on this... there's nothing requiring anyone to help, and no expectation of what that help should be if you find yourself willing and able.

That being said... here it goes.

For victims, finding a friend within the criminal justice system can be a blessing like no other. Having someone there to offer support, to stand beside you at your greatest time of need- and to remain there willing to be a shoulder to lean on even years later, is one of the biggest comforts imaginable.

I can honestly say that without the support of organizations such as Crime Victims Services, many victims would fall through the cracks of the justice system, would remain in a state of feeling lost... My local Crime Victims Services couldn't possibly ever be praised enough for the support they have given countless people in our community, including myself.

Sadly, their work doesn't come without a cost- and due to recent economic pressures- their budget has been greatly reduced. This reduction in income impacts victims, along with the employees at CVS who have dedicated their lives to "being the voice" for victims everywhere.

SOURCE "The cuts were from Lima/Allen County, so we kept [our] cuts and position reduction in Allen County," Voth said.

The Prosecutor's Office will take over the required notifications, but Voth said that doesn't pick up other work the agency does.

"Even though [victims] will get a notice, they won't have a person they can call to help them walk through the system and support them emotionally."

Further budget cuts included eliminating raises for the seven employees at the Lima office and four at Ottawa's office ($11,000) and cutting training and travel that is not job-required ($5,000). In all, the agency has slashed $43,000 from its budget. Through donations and an unexpected state grant, $22,000 was added to the budget, working out to the $30,000 deficit.

"At this point I'm waiting to make more cuts to try to figure out if we can get more grants, more donations or the stimulus money and not have to make more cuts," Voth said.

He said a decision would come in about 30 days.

"I need to balance the budget, because if I don't, I'm using up money I may need next year," Voth said. "There's a limit to the amount of money I can spend that I don't have. We will not borrow money. ... We'll just cut until we stay within our budget."

I spend a lot of time reading and talking about the suffering that victims all to often encounter, first there is the actual crime committed against them. Sadly, it rarely ends with just the crime itself. Too many times, victims are forced to relive their suffering as they work their way through the justice system. For them, being able to have someone reach out and offer support, to listen to them, to carry the burden with them- is the one think that makes it more bearable. When you have someone who has been there before, who knows the process most importantly is willing to reach out and help it can bring the first steps in the healing process. Every single victim deserves the services that Crime Victims provides- and I know many that probably wouldn't be where they are today, had Crime Victims not been there to help. In fact, one of the reasons why I'm writing this now- is because I was once one of those victims and I have experienced first hand the wonderful work that they do.

With that said, I'd like to ask that those of you who might have the means and the desire to, take a moment and consider making a donation. I know, economically times are difficult for people everywhere, and so this is a big request that I'm making. However, I'm holding out hope that a simple request might be able to make a difference in the lives of those who deserve it most- even in these difficult times.

For those able- and no one is required to- and willing to donate, information can be found here. And please accept my heartfelt thanks in advance.