Friday, December 16, 2011

DA's office: A warm fuzzy

Posted By on Fri, Dec 16, 2011 at 2:17 PM

There's no shortage of heartwarming stories at the holidays, but you don't necessarily expect to hear one come out of the criminal prosecutor's office. But there is one.

The dozens of folks who work in the Fourth Judicial District's District Attorney's Office all pitch in to make sure the underprivileged have a good Christmas. For example, the office provides a happy Christmas for children chosen from the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program. This year 11 kids were chosen and each one got a new bicycle, as well as other gifts.

"They were so adorable," says DA's communication officer Lee Richards. "I was crying."

Some of the gifts are provided through the juvenile diversion program and adult services program, which requires restitution through agreements in lieu of prosecution.

Walking through the hallways, every wall, window and door is adorned with holiday fare. It's really quite impressive. Every nook and cranny has a tree.

Two trees have loads of unwrapped gifts beneath them. One is dedicated to TESSA, the agency that provides services to victims of domestic violence. Snowman tags state what's needed, and employees pick one up and fulfill the need. Here's Nancy, left, a special TESSA advocate, with Donna Billek, a senior deputy district attorney, who's responsible for all the decorations and gift coordination.

Nancy and Donna at the TESSA tree.

If you go down the hall from here, you'll soon encounter another tree dedicated to Safe Passage, which helps abused children begin to heal. Program director Wilene Lampert, right, stands with Donna in front of that tree, which harbors an array of toys beneath, also provided by DA personnel.

Donna and Lampert.

Happy Holidays one and all!

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