St. Raymond’s collects money for crime victims

(L-r) CVSS victim advocate Donna DeChiaro, student Thomas Otto, CVSS executive director Joanne Cicero, student Luis Castillo, and Brother Richard Galvin F.S.C. at the presentation of a certificate of appreciation to St. Raymond Boys High School from CVSS for fundraising $880 to help crime victims. Photo by Victor Chu

Students from St. Raymond High School for Boys at 2151 St. Raymond’s Avenue outside of Parkchester went over and beyond once again to help those in need.

As part of mandatory service to the community that all students at St. Raymond must perform, $880 was raised by the young people for Crime Victims Support Services, a Morris Park-based non-profit that helps those who have fallen prey to crime. CVSS came to the school on Monday, January 12 to present a certificate of appreciation to the students and staff.

CVSS reached out to almost 20 parochial high schools in the area that have service programs, and St. Raymond High School for Boys was the first to volunteer without any hesitation. Br. Richard Galvin, campus minister for St. Raymond, said that the fundraiser served to raise awareness among the student body that there was help for those who are victims of crime.

“I am not sure the number of the boys who knew of this organization before this collection,” Galvin said. “It allowed us, for a number of days, to be aware of crime victims and organizations in the area to assist them.”

The students raised the money by having a dress-down day. This means that they were allowed to come to school in the same clothes they would wear outside of school, if they would contribute $2 to the CVSS. The Dean of Discipline had received the request from CVSS.

Galvin said that many of the students at the school have been victims of crime at one time or another, or if they personally haven’t, most know someone – friends or neighbors – who have had their lives touched by crime.

CVSS services about 650 victims of crime each year all around the Bronx, the city and state as part of a program through the New York State Crime Victims Board to provide links to services and benefits for those who are victims of crime.

“We are a conduit for the NYS Crime Victims Board – any compensation comes from the board,” said CVSS executive director Joanne Cicero. “We provide services for victims of all types of crime – robbery, assault, homicide, domestic violence, senior citizen scams – so long as they are is a police report.”

CVSS has been in existence for the past 10 years. When the World Trade Center attacks occurred on September 11, 2001, CVSS aided many of the family members by providing connections to different support services.

Cicero said she thought the students at St. Raymond High School for Boys took away an increased understanding that crime victims have rights.

“I deeply appreciate all the effort the students, campus ministry and faculty put forth to collect donations for a sincerely worthy cause – to support our organization so that we can continue helping innocent victims of crime every day,” Cicero said.

For more information call (718) 823-4925.

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