(Back row standing, L-R): Officer Mike Pace, Capt. Tommy Moncrief, Michael Dunaway, Sgt. Judd Kennimer, Rachel Gordon, Emily Fessler, Kadence Coward, Pastor Mike Waldrop, Ella McCain, Anyah Butler, Elizabeth Lawyer, Noah Lawyer, Ella Hicks, Jessica Toth, Velma Guadiana, Yvette Mulally(Sitting, L-R): Hailey Hernandez, Rachel Allen, Baila Walker, Cara Saenz, Shania Bonvillain, Hannah Hall, Makayla Vaughan, Isabella Parker, Alyssa Smith(On knees, L-R): Joshua Norris, Ryan Stephens, Shariah HInes, Alphonso Hines, Cole Maclan, Easton Kulas, Chrisma Roach, Audrey Kim(Sitting on floor, L-R): Emily Confair, Caleb Winkelman, James Ford, Nathaniel Kinoneon, Evelyn Allen, Paula Portillo
Fellowship Bible Church, located at 1720 Broadway, holds Vacation Bible School every summer. Kids learn about Jesus, sing, play and do special projects. This summer’s VBC project for upper elementary/middle school ages was to help with the “Survival Pak Project” for Pearland Police Department’s Crime Victims Unit.
The Project is the brainchild of Crime Victim Liaison Velma Guadiana. “Parents come to us or have to go to court or receive other services and a lot of times, the kiddo is sitting there with nothing to do,” said Guadiana. “The purpose of this project is to provide kids with backpacks full of age- and gender-appropriate things that will help keep them busy and provide some sense of normalcy while their parents receive services.”
Pastor Mike Waldrop is also a Chaplain for Pearland Police Dept. and, along with VBC teacher/coordinator Elizabeth Lawyer, came up with the idea to have the kids design t-shirts they could sell.
The blue shirts with black text are simple, but powerful. The front reads, “Ask me what my shirt did.” The back has an excerpt from Matthew 25:40, “…Helping the least of these…”
The shirts are for sale for $15 each, $5 of which goes toward purchasing supplies for the backpacks.
On Friday (June 19), the kids presented the full backpacks to representatives of the Pearland Police Dept. and loaded them into Officer Mike Pace’s Tahoe for transport to the Public Safety Building.
“The kids had the best time stuffing the backpacks,” said Lawyer. “They put blue or pink tags on them and indicated what ages each one was for by writing on a piece of duct tape stuck to each pack.”
Noah Lawyer takes a “selfie” with Officer Pace.
The kids enjoyed having uniformed officers there, and one outgoing young man even asked for a “selfie,” for which Officer Pace gladly posed.
The Survival Pak Project is ongoing and donations of supplies, money and backpacks will be accepted at Fellowship Bible Church as well as at the Pearland Police Department.
“Ask for Jessica [Toth] or myself,” said Guadiana. “If we are not available, you can leave your donations at the Records window in the lobby.”
The t-shirts will also continue to be for sale at Fellowship Bible Church.
“The goal of the Victim Assistance Program is to assist victims of crime, protect and advocate the rights of victims, provide necessary information, and prevent further victimization. Crime victims who make a police report are subsequently contacted by phone, mail or in person. The liaisons inform victims about police procedures, community resources, and available programs that will assist victims during the aftermath of a crime. The liaisons are also on call to respond to after-hour emergencies, and to provide assistance.
“Oftentimes, crime victims want to know what will happen next, and the liaisons are available to answer those questions. Crime Victim liaisons provide case status updates, information about the criminal justice system, court and hospital accompaniment, and emergency transportation to women shelters.
“Depending on the type of crime that has occurred, victims can receive information on shelters, counseling services or referrals to support and social service agencies. The liaisons can also assist with information about parole notification and assist with a parole protest.
“The liaisons may also contacts crime victims to determine their eligibility for financial assistance when they have exhausted their own financial resources. The Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund – paid out of court costs generated by criminal convictions – provides for medical bills, counseling, lost wages, funeral expenses and other crime related expenses without any cost to taxpayers,” according to the website.
For more information, visit http://pearlandtx.gov/departments/police/divisions/crime-victims-liaison, call Guadiana at 281-997-4330 or email VGuadiana@PearlandTX.gov.