Young crime victims get scholastic legal aid

A cautionary note for those entering the Crime Victims’ Center of Chester County this week: You did not mistakenly walk into a Staples.

Peggy Gusz, executive director of the Crime Victims Center, surveys the school supplies destined for child crime victims.

Peggy Gusz, executive director of the Crime Victims Center, surveys the school supplies destined for child crime victims.

Proof that school is starting, one room in the agency’s West Chester office is stacked high with boxes of student supplies, ranging from backpacks to pencils. In another, CVC staffers have begun the sorting process, stacking notebooks and lining up writing implements.

Peggy Gusz, CVC’s executive director, said that within the next week, the items will land in the hands of about 120 child victims.

“Lots of people help us at Christmas with presents for the children,” Gusz said. “But for many of our young victims, the start of school can be very difficult, both emotionally and financially, depending on their circumstances.”

An assortment of notebooks, paper, and writing implements will be distributed to young crime victims.

An assortment of notebooks, paper, glues and writing implements will be distributed to young crime victims.

Gusz said the agency is fortunate to have the services of Amy Y. Coral, the office administrator for Pepper Hamilton LLP's Berwyn and New York offices. For more than a decade, Coral has orchestrated the school supplies drive, soliciting donations from her law firm as well as many others in Chester County as well as Philadelphia.

The initiative started out with just school supplies, but now it's evolved into even more, said Gusz, explaining that Coral also gets gift cards that can be used for back-to-school purchases like shoes and clothing.

“What she does is so wonderful,” said Gusz. “It really makes a big difference for these kids.”

In 2005, CVC awarded Coral its John J. Crane Allied Professional Award. CVC established the award in 1998 as a memorial to Crane, a nationally recognized advocate for crime victims - especially children. The award honors individuals or groups who are not directly involved in victim services but who exemplify the extraordinary commitment to victims that Crane exhibited for nearly three decades.

For more information on the Crime Victims Center and its many programs and services, visit http://www.cvcofcc.org.

 

 

 

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