On July 28, Geminus Community Partners, Region One, the Lake County Department of Child Services (DCS), and Crown Point Fire Rescue teamed up to help the community prepare for the upcoming school year and stay safe by hosting the Lake County Backpack Giveaway.
Hosted at the Lake County DCS building in Gary, Geminus and Lake County DCS employees organized and lined up hundreds of cars to receive school supplies. This event is usually held at Wicker Park in Highland, but Geminus changed venues this year to get more people involved.
“We brought this event down to DCS to give it a different location and to target another population that maybe we wouldn’t target when we were in Highland,” said Kristin Chamberlain, Director of Family Services for Geminus.
This year’s Backpack Giveaway featured 1000 backpacks filled with school supplies to be distributed to people drive-through style. The only requirements were to have a valid Lake County ID and have your children with you in the car.
Giving back to the community is an important responsibility of Geminus. It strives to get out into the community, and in return, give back in a big way.
“We try to make sure that all of our children are prepared for going back to school,” said Douglas Thames, Program Manager for Community Partners Region One. “We understand that some of our community is underprivileged, so we want to make sure we give them the best foot forward to start the school year. Most importantly, we want to make sure they are prepared to learn.”
Lake County DCS jumped at the idea of working with Geminus to help equip the community with school supplies. Events like this are a preventative measure for Lake County DCS.
“An event like this is tremendously important,” said Twan Stokes, Regional Manager of Indiana Department of Child Services Lake County. “If we can empower families and equip them with the resources they need, then it is much less likely that they’re going to be involved in our services and walk through DCS doors.”
After receiving a backpack that was custom-picked out for each child’s age, families were invited to a free car seat fitting station hosted by Crown Point Fire & Rescue. At the station, parents learned about what kind of car seat their child should have, how to properly install the seat, and how to safely fashion their child in the seat. They even provided car seats to families that needed them.
“Car seat safety saves lives,” said Michael Parks, Crown Point Fire Division Chief. “Kids improperly installed in car seats are subject to injury or even death.”
If you would like to have a car seat fitting, Crown Point Fire does this at its station in Crown Point. Please call 219-662-3248 to schedule an appointment.
Lake County DCS would like to remind everyone that Lake County is a resource-rich county. To learn more about its services, please visit the website: https://www.in.gov/dcs/contact-us/local-dcs-offices/lake/.
Geminus Community Partners is a free prevention program that serves all of Lake County. To learn more please call its hotline at 866-641-7181 or visit the website at https://www.geminus.care/.