Weekly News & Updates: End of the Year Reminders!

CURRENT NEEDS Below we have a few major needs, but they are relatively easy and only take a few moments of your time. We need all volunteers to track their time and if you're an attorney, we need your updated case notes. Lastly, if you're looking for a volunteer opportunity in the new year, we need volunteer attorney help at the following intake locations: 1st Tuesdays @ Vida Nueva United Methodist Church from 4pm-6pm 1st Thursdays & 3rd Thursdays @ Aletheia Church(formally Madison Ave. Baptist Church) from 12pm-2pm 3rd Friday @La Plaza from 2pm-4pm

TRACK YOUR TIME If you've volunteered once or you volunteer on a regular basis with the Clinic, we need you to track your time! No matter what kind of volunteer you are, or how long you've been volunteering, or where you've volunteered, please track your time! It's so easy and won't take long! Please go HERE to track your time. If you've forgotten to track your time, no problem! You can track your time for past activities. We need everyone's hours for 2014 so that we can create our Annual Contributed Services Report in the new year.

CASE NOTES & UPDATES Attorneys: if you've taken a case referral from the Clinic we need to hear from you before the end of the year with an update on the case. Please email your Clinic contact with information regarding the case or cases you've taken. We need to clean up our files at the close of the year and we cannot update cases without your updates! Please email Erin, ehougland@nclegalclinic.org with any questions.

Have you seen it?

Last night the Clinic celebrated 20 years of service at the beautiful Indiana Landmarks Center.  Our annual Justice for All Celebration was a memorable night with passionate speeches, a celebration of our founders, clients and volunteers as well as a standing ovation at the end of the program. We also got the chance to launch our latest video capturing the heart of the Clinic's service in a message from our clients. Haven't seen it yet? Check it out here: 

Justice For All: Celebrating Our 20th Anniversary

Volunteers, Students and Partners:

Join us for a night of celebration, reflection and inspiration as we mark 20 years of service to the community.

The Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic cordially invites you to attend our 2014 Justice for All Celebration.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 Cocktail Hour 6:00 - 7:00 pm Dinner and Program 7:00 - 9:00 pm

 Explore the grounds of the Indiana Landmarks Centerand join us in the Cook Theater and Grand Hall for a dynamic evening you won't soon forget.

Jeffrey Pankratz, a founding member of the Clinic, and President & CEO ofJustice Ventures International will be providing our Keynote Address.

Plated dinner and open bar.  Business Attire.

On-site parking is available.  Street parking is also available along Central Avenue.


  - Marquee Sponsors -

Barnes & Thornburg, LLP          Faegre Baker Daniels          Benjamin & Abby Kuzma

- Event Sponsors -

Ice Miller, LLP          Signature Home Companions

A Message from Volunteer Attorney Stephanie Pickens: Use Your Gifts

"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards ofGod’s grace in its various forms."  1 Peter 4:10

After moving to Indianapolis in 2011, I found myself staring down the end of ten years of staying at home with my children.  My youngest was getting ready for kindergarten and I was getting ready for a mid-life crisis.   After staying at home that long, I wasn’t sure that I could function in a work environment.  My kids didn’t even believe that I had a college degree, much less a law degree and I had a difficult time believing it myself.  To maintain flexibility and determine if I “had it in me” I decided to look around for volunteer opportunities and came across the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic web site.

In the beginning, I wasn’t sure what I could help with.  My law license was only valid in Iowa so Erin (awesome volunteer coordinator) and I decided to look at the federal issues where my license would be valid.  Tax or Immigration.   I hate numbers, but love people so immigration it was.  I took a few Dream Act cases (DACA) and then started helping with the immigration intake clinic every Wednesday.   Rachel (awesome immigration attorney) was patient in training me and answering all my questions.  The front office staff was patient in showing me everything from how to work the copier to the mail stamper.   The Clinic helped me get my work groove back.  My immigrant clients gave me a new passion.


I recently received a letter from one of my Dream Act clients.  She will be heading to college this fall with a scholarship.  Is there anything more rewarding than knowing you made a difference in someone’s life?  We recently moved back to Iowa and I am hoping to take what I learned at the Clinic meet the needs of the immigrant population in Iowa.

My point is this: If you want to be a part of a community of believers that is more about doing than talking, more about helping than judging, take your gifts and head straight to Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic.  I am so thankful that I did!

Weekly News & Updates: 9/2/2014

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more,

do more and become more, you are a leader."

~ John Quincy Adams

Hello Everyone!

Last week we said goodbye to our fearless leader, Executive Director Josh Abel. Josh began his time at the Clinic as a legal intern and then spent nine years with the Clinic as a staff attorney.   Five of those years were served as Executive Director, and what an impact he has made on this organization in that role. Josh took the Clinic to new places, with intentional programming, holistic approaches to helping our clients and building friendships with our strategic partners in the community. Josh was an excellent and fun leader and he will be missed.

While Josh served nine years as an employee of the Clinic, Josh began his work as a volunteer. It was through his dedicated volunteer service as a legal intern that he started his role at the Clinic, a true testament to the power of volunteers and their relationship with this organization. Josh loves volunteers and has been a huge advocate for their involvement with the Clinic over the last five years. He knows the  impact of volunteerism because he has been a volunteer himself, and will continue to serve in a volunteer capacity as a member of the Clinic's board.

Remember that each volunteer helps make this organization more effective in the community and we can't serve the needs of this community without your help. Please consider helping with the needs below and let me know if you have any questions.

Click Hereto see the Press Release

Thanks for your time and dedication,

Erin Hougland

Volunteer Coordinator



4 Bankruptcy: We continue to have bankruptcies and need extra support!

1 License

1 Guardianship

1 Custody/Visitation


For information on locations please goHERE.

Vida Nueva United Methodist– 1st Tuesday, 4pm-6pm

First Presbyterian Church of Noblesville – 4th- and 5th Thursday, 12pm-2pm

Aletheia Church*formerly Madison Avenue Baptist Church – 1st and 3rd Thursday, 12pm-2pm

La Plaza – 3rd Friday


Please be sure to go to the Upcoming Events page or to the Clinic's website to learn more about our upcoming CLEs. Here's a taste of what's coming soon. Be sure to sign up and reserve your spot! CLEs are free for those who are Program Volunteer Attorneys.

September 23rd: Immigration CLE on UVisas @ Ice Miller LLP, 2pm-4pm Sign Up HERE

September 26th: Immigrant Justice CLE, Waivers @ Ice Miller LLP, 2pm-4pmSign Up HERE

October 24th: Project GRACE CLE Exoffender Reentry 8:30am-4:30pm, Location TBD

November 7th: Consumer Justice  Tax Law CLE: Offers in Compromise 2pm-4pm @ Ice Miller LLP Sign Up HERE

November 14th: Immigration CLE on Asylum 8:30am-4:30pm @ Fagre Baker Daniels Sign Up HERE

December 5th: Victim Justice CLE 8:30am-4:30pm, Location Barnes & Thornburg LLP Sign Up HERE


September 13th: UVisa Day 9:30-3:30pm @ the Clinic Register HERE

September 20th: Refugee Adjustment Day 9am-4pm @ the Clinic Register HERE

October 11th: DACA Day 9am-4pm @ the Clinic Register HERE


We are also looking for Spanish speaking volunteers who can assist as interpreters for volunteer attorney case referrals. This work can be done online or over the phone and is flexible enough for people who have busy schedules. Please consider helping out with your second language skills. For more information contact Erin.

We are in need of Spanish language interpreter support at our intake locations. 2 hours a month, on a regular basis:

John Knox 4th Thursdays from 6pm-8pm

Shepherd Community Center: 3rd Saturdays 9am-11am

La Plaza: 1st & 3rd Fridays 2pm-4pm


Click Here to view our Fall Internships 2014


Interested in joining us in praying for our clients and partnering agencies?

Want to be a part of our prayer list? Email ehougland@nclegalclinic.org

A Message from the Staff: Cassandra Sanborn on Vision

  After I graduated from college, I started working as an AmeriCorpsVISTA member at another nonprofit in Indianapolis.  I loved what I did—writing grants and fundraising letters, researching best practices in donor management, and more.  The longer I was there, though, the more I found myself thinking only about the details of my day-to-day work.  How could I create the best grant budget?  How could I write a fundraising letter that would really connect donors to our mission?


Thankfully, I had an excellent supervisor.  She told me that sometimes when you have a deadline looming over you or when you’re worrying about a funder, it’s easy to forget why your work matters and what you’re really trying to do.  She reminded me to take the time to periodically think about our clients.

Thankfully, when I came to the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic, I realized that even though I still have a tendency to get caught up in minutia, I am surrounded by people who make it hard to forget why we do the work we do.  Our staff members and volunteers care deeply about our clients and their wellbeing—they really want to see our clients thrive.  I am fortunate to be surrounded by a group of empathetic people who are seeking to live out the instructions found in the Clinic’s vision statement, Psalm 82:3-4: “Defend the cause of the weak and the fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.  Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

I am grateful for my coworkers and for all of the volunteers that I see who demonstrate patience and compassion as they work to make a difference for our most vulnerable neighbors.

Weekly News & Updates: 5/20/2014

 We have so many fun things planned for the summer! Not only do we plan to fill up our offices again with 20 Summer Interns, we plan to celebrate our 20th Anniversary by doing some pretty awesome stuff.  To start things off we will be having a Tastings & Trivia night, Monday June 9th from 7pm to 9pm. Before that, go to one of the three great restaurants we have picked out in Fountain Square and have 20% of what you purchase donated to the Clinic. To get more details and to sign up GO HERE . And then come and join us Friday June 13th for a good old fashion night of fun at an Indianapolis Indians Baseball game. Last year we had a blast with those who could attend. Be sure to sign up again and don't miss out on the fireworks! To get your reduced-price tickets GO HERE.

Bring your friends and family to these events, the more the merrier. We love serving, doing justice and celebrating our mission and vision with you.

As always, please see our current needs below. We especially need help in the areas of Family Law and Bankruptcy Case Referrals, Interpreters and Attorneys at Intakes. Let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you for your continued time and support.

Sincerely, Erin Hougland Volunteer Coordinator ehougland@nclegalclinic.org

Attorneys:5 Bankruptcy Cases need volunteer attorney support. 8 Family Law Cases, 4 Divorce, 1 Protective Order, 2 Custody and 1 Paternity case- all  family law case referrals are from our partnering service agencies.

Please consider taking a case referral in one of these areas, Bankruptcy and Family Law.


St. Vincent – 2nd Monday

Noblesville – 4th and 5th Thursday

Madison – 3rd Thursday

Vida Nueva – 1st Tuesday

*All Intake locations and times can be found here: http://www.nclegalclinic.org/IntakeSchedule.aspx

Interpreters: We are also looking for Spanish speaking volunteers who can assist as interpreters for volunteer attorney case referrals. This work can be done online or over the phone and is flexible enough for people who have busy schedules. Please consider helping out with your language skills. For more information contact Erin.

We are in need of Spanish language interpreter support at our intake locations. 2 hours a month, on a regular basis:

St. Vincent –All Mondays

La Plaza – 1st and 3rd Friday

Madison – All Thursdays

Noblesville – All Thursdays

Southeastern – 1st and 3rd Thursdays

Nehemiah - All Tuesdays

*All Intake locations and times can be found here: http://www.nclegalclinic.org/IntakeSchedule.aspx

PrayerPartners: Interested in joining us in prayer for our clients and partnering agencies? Email: ehougland@nclegalclinic.org

Meet Nikki Ledgerwood: Volunteer Paralegal

I am happy to introduce to you one of our wonderful volunteers, Nikki Ledgerwood. Nikki has been volunteering for over a year as an immigration paralegal with Victim Justice Staff Attorney Aimee Heitz and Immigration Staff Paralegal Noemi Gallegos. Nikki came to the Clinic in the middle of her Paralegal studies program at IUPUI, a program she hopes to complete next spring 2015. Nikki initially got involved with us at the Clinic because she wanted to get more experience in the legal world and over time has continued to volunteer because she loves giving back to her community. "It's so rewarding to give back and feels great to help others."

Nikki has a big heart. She's been working in the mental health field for 18 years as a case manager and counselor. Nikki's parents, her father a public defender and  her mother a psyche nurse, have been particularly influential in Nikki's life and her passion for social justice. While she is currently in a paralegal studies program and volunteering with the Clinic, Nikki continues to do work in the mental health field.

In her job and her volunteerism Nikki has had the opportunity to see the multiple sides of trauma people suffer. Nikki feels that her passion lies in helping individuals transform their lives after the pain they may have experienced in their past, whether it be as a counselor or an immigration paralegal.  "At the Clinic I get to meet courageous clients who have been through so much in their lives and their stories give me courage and hope."

When asked what social justice means to her, Nikki states, "It means making sure everyone, everyone, has equal rights and access to the legal and justice system." We at the Clinic couldn't agree more.

In her free time Nikki hangs out with the many pets she has rescued, loves doing yoga and looks forward to running the Zombie run in June. We are happy to report that Nikki will be spending even more time with us this summer in her position as an immigration paralegal intern. Nikki, thanks for your big heart and gentle spirit. We love having you as part of our volunteer team.

Erin Hougland
Volunteer Coordinator

A Message from the Staff: Matt Gaudin on Compassion

 “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;his mercies never come to an end.” - Lamentations 3:22

I never thought my occupation could aid my walk with Christ.  However, when I examine my time at the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic I cannot deny that God has used this job to grow me spiritually.  I would like to take some time to discuss one area that demonstrates this growth.

Feelings and compassion have never been dominant attributes of mine.  When problems arise I tend toward cold logic rather than warm comfort.  My wife, Shannon, can surely attest to this!  I often ignore or fail to “pick up on” others’ feelings.  When others show emotion I can become uncomfortable and retreat to my logically controlled mind.  Rational thought is not a negative.  It is almost always a positive.  When stressful situations arise, I normally remain cool and collected.  I normally am able to see all angles of a problem and craft the best solution.  A logical mind, however, without a compassionate heart leads to an unhappy life and unfulfilled relationships.  An individual needs both.  In fact God requires that we love him with our heart and our mind.  See Mark 12:30 (“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”).

God’s compassion is evident throughout the Bible.  Psalm 78:38-39 says, “Yet he, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath. He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and comes not again.”  Lamentations 3:22 states, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;his mercies never come to an end.”  The greatest and ultimate demonstration of compassion was when God sent his son Jesus to save us from our sins.  See John 3:16 (“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”).

Working at the Clinic, I am constantly bombarded by injustice and heartbreak.  It may be a tenant whose landlord refuses to provide legally required necessities, like heat and water.  It may be a man without health insurance who was struck by medical tragedy and now has no money to pay creditors.  These individuals need legal advice.  They need me to use my rational mind to fashion a legal solution.  However, they often need more. They need me to listen with open ears and a caring heart.

The Clinic has forced me to develop more compassion in my life.  I now more clearly see suffering in the world.  I now try to use a rational mind and a compassionate heart to serve clients holistically.  I truly work at an awesome place.

Matthew Gaudin
Staff Attorney

A Message from the Staff: Rachel Van Tyle on Asylum

Depending on your life experience and profession the word "asylum" can connote many different meanings.  Maybe it makes you think of a mental hospital, a la One Floo Over the Cuckoo’s Nest;  me – it makes me think of the wonder and greatness that a country can offer to an immigrant.  Webster’s dictionary defines asylum as “protection given by a government to someone who has left another country in order to escape being harmed.”  To me, this is an overly simplified definition.  But then again, I’m a lawyer.

Asylum is complicated, challenging, engaging, frustrating, and heart breaking.  Asylum can be a person’s only hope to escape the sure-death that they will face if they are forced to return home.  But as terrifying as it is for the client, it is one of my favorite parts of my job.  At the Clinic, asylum work is an opportunity for me to be creative, to think on my feet.  And it is incredibly rewarding.  When that approval comes and the client takes their first sigh of relief knowing that they are safe, there is no greater reward.

To those who know me, they know I LOVE my job.  I get up every day excited about the prospect of helping people.  But the problem is that the Clinic is one of the only organizations in central Indiana that will do asylum work for free.  It can be incredibly time intensive and requires, at a minimum, one trip to Chicago.  To me, that makes the work we do here at the Clinic all the more important.  My hope is that through the work I do, I can share the love of Christ with each and every client.

I’ll leave you with a client quote (and a contact email, in case you are interested in assisting on an asylum in the future), “By your ministry, people can see God’s love and can know that there are Christians that really care for them.”

That, my friends, is what it is all about.

Rachel Van Tyle
Staff Attorney, Immigrant Justice Program