Victims Rights Week celebrated in Baldwin

BALDWIN — Several of Lake County's most well known organizations banded together on April 24 to commemorate Victims Rights Week.

Organized by the Lake County Prosecutor's Office, the event was designed to extend a helping hand and educate the public on the programs going on in the community.

"We are celebrating Victims Rights Week to promote awareness for victims and show the community what services are offered," explained Assistant Prosecutor Belinda Barbier. "We have a lot of organizations taking part today: Michigan State Police, COVE, The Children's Trust Fund, DNR, Staircase, Great Start and even the Baldwin Fire Department and Lake County Sheriff."

The event was kicked off by a run/walk which began at at Baldwin Schools. The runners and walkers made their way through downtown Baldwin to Hollister Park where the participating organizations had set up displays and activities for the kids.

"One true blessing of Lake County is the organizations here really do work together," said Lake County Prosecutor Craig Cooper. "This is the first year we've done this type of event and brought all these resources into the public light. When you work with the community and meet people face to face, it helps them work with the court system and law enforcement."

Members of Staircase were providing face painting, the Sheriff's Department was showing off some of its equipment, there was a sign-up for a baseball league and even a bounce house. Despite the fun, each of the groups in attendance hoped people would gather something useful from the day which might help them in life.

"Today is about awareness, so we really want people to know we're here as a resource," said Chris Turnbull of COVE.

Victims Rights Week is hosted across the country from April 19 through 25. Each year, communities all over America come together to teach people they have options and have the means to better themselves despite challenges and setbacks.

"Hopefully people will walk away from today knowing they don't have to be a victim," said Barbier. "There are services out there to help you and let you know you're not alone."