TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A local nonprofit is working to help the community battle substance abuse and crime prevention.
PARS, or Prevention and Resiliency Services as they’re now known, has been around for 55 years. It’s one of the only organizations in Shawnee County that specifically deals with substance abuse and preventing crime.
One of their programs includes Safe Streets, which puts on events such as National Night Out and the monthly Champion of Character awards.
Michelle Voth, Executive Director of PARS, wants people to know they’re available to help the community however they can.
“There’s often been a lot of stigma around mental health issues and substance abuse issues and it’s a disease. And you wouldn’t hesitate to go to your doctor if you had, you know, cancer or if you had some other ailment,” Voth said. “And I think that’s the way we need to look at substance abuse and mental health issues. So reaching out is really the first and best step and there’s people out there to help and you’re not alone.”
PARS has a brand new website they just launched. It’s where they offer details of their services, as well as online trainings and presentations schools or people in the community can use.
“We pride ourselves on really being a health and safety connector. And I think that is really where we stand out because we are connecting neighborhoods, we are recognizing people with our Champion of Character. People know to call us if they’re having problems,” Voth said. “Rather than calling sometimes the police department, they’ll call us with a neighborhood issue and we’ll help them try to figure out if they see something suspicious, what can they do, what are the steps, that kind of thing.”
If you’d like to donate to PARS, you can do so online at parstopeka.org, or you can write checks to the organization at 2209 SW 29th St. Topeka, KS 66611.