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October 28, 2017 1:15 am

Yogurt Sales Support Victim Services

Sunday, December 6, 2015 @ 4:01 AM
Crisis Response and Therapy Dogs Grimmus (left) and Max at Menchies on Saturday.  (photo 250 News)

Crisis Response and Therapy Dogs Grimmus (left) and Max at Menchies on Saturday. (photo 250 News)

Prince George, B.C. – The Prince George RCMP’s Victim Services Section teamed up with a local business on Saturday to raise money for the volunteer-based program.

The owner of Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt at Parkwood Mall, Margaret Jex, says one of the Victim Services volunteers whom she met through the Relay For Life and has worked with before “approached me about doing this.”  Jex says she feels Victim Services is a very valuable resource.  “Oh definitely, I mean you never know if you’re going to be the victim of something and they’re there to support anybody who needs it.”

With that she committed to donating 20% of the day’s sales to the program.

Victim Services Coordinator Krista Levar explains that “most of the funds that we get through fundraising go to two different things: either to supporting victims of crime and trauma in emergency situations, so if there’s food that needs to be purchased we would purchase it or if you needed an emergency hotel room that might be an option as well.”

“And funds also go to volunteer training.  Our program is run 24/7 and there are 2 paid staff, but everyone else in our unit is all volunteer.  So we have 28 volunteers and two full-time staff, plus we have our two therapy dogs (Max and Grimmus).  So we’re a thriving big unit and to keep everybody up to date on everything that’s happening in the community can be a big job.  So that money goes towards providing funding for those sorts of things and any opportunities that we have to do team-building activities and just strengthen our base and make ourselves a little stronger.”

The money for the paid staffers comes about 50/50 from the province and the City of Prince George.  That pays for wages and running the program.  Longer-term support for victims comes from the provincial Crime Victim Assistance Program.

Levar says Victim Services provides crisis support to people in the community both in an initial, on-scene capacity “along with the police officers to provide emotional support and then they do kind of a follow-up.  So if there’s a scene and it’s not appropriate to have us there on that scene, then you would still potentially want assistance for those victims but just not in that moment and then we would follow up.”

That can be in the form of counselling, emotional support, helping people get back on their feet financially or helping people navigate through the court process which Levar says “can be so confusing for people.”

She notes that Therapy Dog Max “in April had his first court case where he helped a victim testify, and just last month he was in Supreme Court for the first time and he was the first dog in B.C. to be in a courtroom without a screen or any other stuff going on around him, just in the courtroom helping a little girl.”

“So there are some powerful things that we get to do in this community and get to be a part of so, it’s pretty awesome.”

Levar says the program’s other Therapy Dog, Grimmus, “doesn’t do court work he does on-scene work “cause he’s kind of a boisterous, loud guy and he likes loud noises.  Max is more of a quite, officey, mellow kind of guy whereas Grimmus is out there being loud and having a good time.”

Both dogs were on hand Saturday to meet patrons of Menchies.  Levar says “it’s so nice that a business in our community would be willing to do something like this for us.  We are so impressed with all of the support we get in the community, from businesses, from people.  We’re touched because it’s just such a nice thing to have people do for us.”


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