Victim Services Toronto counsellors are so busy caring for victims of tragedy and trauma that they seldom get the opportunity to sit back and appreciate their valuable service.
Monday, November 23 was one of those rare days.
A total of $260,612,44 was raised at last month’s Chief’s Gala.
“This is a day to be celebrated,” said Executive Director Bonnie Levine. “We are so busy supporting others that it’s very overwhelming when we have such incredible generosity, supporters and people who care about us and support us.”
This is the eighth year that a Toronto Police Chief has lent his support to the multi-service organization that also operates case-management programs focused on domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking; restores, rebuilds and enhances victims quality of life; provides programs that educate and prevent re-victimization; conducts community education; supports individual, family and community initiatives and operates closely with the TPS.
Bill Blair, who started the ball rolling before he retired, and is now an MP, attended the event.
Mark Saunders, who succeeded him, hosted the gala for the first time.
“You are one of the most vital tools for the healing process of those that are traumatized,” said Saunders, to assembled Victim Services staff. “Without you, we would not be the great city that we are.”
Levine said it costs $90 to support a person who is traumatized by crime or sudden tragedy.
“The money helps with having crisis counsellors on the scene; providing practical and emotional support, follow-up services, referrals, linkages to long-term counselling and community programs; helping victims of crime access financial resources; developing comprehensive safety plans, case management support and administrative costs associated with delivering services,” she said.
A total of $56 from provincial and municipal governments funding is used to support a victim.
“That means we need to raise $680,000 to reach the needs of the 20,000 victims we will help this year and every year,” Levine added. “A total of over $260,000 for one night is a huge accomplishment and we are thrilled because it brings us more than 40 per cent closer to this year’s goal.”