Advocacy group honors volunteers who help crime victims -- Gazette.Net


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Claudia Poole of Camp Springs has been helping crime victims in Prince George’s County since she retired from teaching at the Isaac J. Gourdine Middle School in Fort Washington in 2005.

Thankful for her more than 730 hours of volunteer work, Community Advocates for Family & Youth, a Largo nonprofit that helps crime victims, will present her with its Presidential Volunteer Gold Award.

The award, which recognizes consistent volunteerism, will be given to Poole at CAFY’s annual awards and fundraising dinner on Thursday at the Glenn Dale Golf Club in Glenn Dale.

The award is one of four that will be given to seven people at the event that will also include entertainment, a silent auction and a raffle.

Poole, who declined to give her age but said she’s older than 60, said she grew up a minister’s daughter serving in the church and that she loves working with people.

“The more you do for people, the less you think about yourself,” said Poole, who is also on the board of the Camp Springs Civic Association and is vice chairwoman of the police citizens advisory council for police District 5 in Clinton.

It was through her work on the police advisory council that she heard about a 40-hour training class offered by CAFY in how to help victims of crime.

“If someone is hurt, there’s nothing like having a grandmother sit with them while the investigation is going on,” said Poole, who joined CAFY in November, 2010.

As a CAFY volunteer, she visits the District 5 county police station once a week to collect contact information for victims so that she can send information to them about CAFY’s services, which include advocating for victims, accompanying them in court, referrals to other agencies offering help, training in how to be a witness and educating victims about their rights.

Poole said she also works with CAFY’s court education program for youth, helping children understand the court process and how to become effective witnesses.

“She has always gone the extra mile to serve and show such compassion for each individual she touches,” according to a statement from CAFY.

One of the victims of crime who is being recognized at the dinner is Joe Brown, 35, who preferred not to say where in Prince George’s County he lives.

He is one of three victims who will be receiving the Inspired to be Empowered award, which recognizes victims who have overcome the trauma of the crime and call themselves survivors.

Brown said CAFY’s services were much appreciated after four men with guns kicked in his door before Christmas in 2009 and robbed him and his family of money for rent and the holidays.

“I felt another human being understood my immediate need and helped me to organize my life, which was in crisis,” said Brown, who said CAFY provided a food basket and help with a move to another location.

“It inspired me to want to give back,” said Brown, who wants to help other victims of crime and has suggested that CAFY organize a support group for victims of home invasions.

Also being recognized is Mitchellville resident Barbara Davis, part-time grants manager at CAFY, who has helped more than double the organization’s revenue from $152,000 to $358,000 since she was hired in February 2010, said Arleen Joell, founder and CEO of CAFY.

Davis will receive CAFY’s Governor’s Citation Award, which is awarded to people who have contributed significantly to their organization.

“I was completely surprised,” said Davis, who preferred not to give her age, about the recognition. “I know the advocates work very hard, and I try to do my part to try to find funds for the organization.”

Davis said she has brought in nearly $510,000 in grants to the organization since she began working there.

”Her part-time work as our grants consultant has provided a significant contribution to our growth, sustainability and contribution to the community,” Joell said in an email.

The dinner will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Glenn Dale Golf Club, 11501 Old Prospect Hill Road.

Tickets are $35 and can be purchased by visiting www.cafy2012awards.eventbrite.com or by calling 301-390-4092.

For more about CAFY, visit www.cafyonline.org.

vterhune@gazette.net