KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Saturday marks the end of National Crime Victims Rights Week, but a local agency doesn't want people to stop talking when the week is over.
Healing Pathway Victim Service Agency invited family and friends of crime victims to the Gregg/Klice Community Center. One mom in attendance lost her boy to gun violence and is now lending a hand to those who know the same tragedy.
Michelle Stephenson still feels the pain of losing her 16-year-old. Colby Stephenson was killed Dec. 18, 2017, one week before Christmas.
"This has been the hardest time of my life. It's been definitely a journey," Stephenson said.
With an unsolved case - the journey is far from over. "We are now waiting on some cellphone tower pings that just came in. So they're about to review that evidence," Stephenson said.
Stephenson said the community events Healing Pathway puts on help.
"We have not forgotten about your loved one that has been lost to that tragic situation," Agency Executive Director and Founder Monica Roberts said.
The event not only focuses on the victims, but also the survivors. "We have to still, in that process of grieving, slow down and then take care of ourselves," Roberts said.
Community members took time for themselves with the bouncy house, healthy food, face painting and free massages. The event also included a basketball game between Kansas City police officers and firefighters. It was all in fun. We're told the police force came out on top with the win.
"To be able to see children that no longer have parents to be able to laugh and smile with the Easter bunny and Elmo and all those cold things," Roberts said. "It means a lot to those families."
It means a lot to friends, too. Kapriel Rose lost two loved ones to violent crimes, "Sarah mentored me a lot with life problems and things like that and Pat was one of my best friends," Rose said.
She and her sister set up a walkway with posters, obituaries and pictures of crime victims and a prayer tree to help show people they're not alone, which Stephenson knows can make all the difference.
"It actually helped me, it's helping with the healing process," Stephenson said.
Now, she reaches out to others through an organization called, Justice for Angels, because that's what her angel would have wanted
"I love being able to help other people. That's what Colby was kind of about," Stephenson said. "He was always there for people so I want to live his legacy on and I want to do the same and help people."