Meet the Clinic’s New Board Members: Carol Hartman and John Gurchiek

Carol Hartman first learned about the Clinic after a fortuitous Internet search. “I was looking for a way to do some volunteer work that was faith-based,” she says. “I went on your website and clicked on a link to volunteer.” For years, she sought opportunities that would utilize her unique set of skills. “I’ve worked in the tax world since the beginning of my career both as a CPA and as a lawyer. And I was wondering how I could best use those experiences to advance the Kingdom.”

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Weekly News & Updates: 9/30/2014

"As we express our gratitude. we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." -John F. Kennedy

Greetings Volunteers & Partners!

Maybe you've heard about our awesome upcoming Justice For All Event, Celebrating 20 Years of Service to the Community. Well, if you haven't please check out the event page HERE and get your ticket today.  We are hoping to see more of our volunteers at this year's event, so please take note of both the discounted volunteer pricing as well as the discounted student tickets for past and present interns and student volunteers. JFA 2014 will be an excellent event and fun opportunity to support the Clinic and meet others in the community who support the Clinic's mission.

Now to the main purpose of this post: We need your help! Can you take cases? Want to help out with a phone-a-thon survey day? Can you assist at our Project GRACE Help Desk? We need all the help we can get, so take a look at your schedules and consider volunteering this fall for some of these great opportunities to help the community.

As always, thank you again for your time and support!

Sincerely, Erin Hougland Volunteer Coordinator

-Attorneys-

CASES- Please consider helping

6 Bankruptcy: We continue to have bankruptcies and need extra support! 1 Guardianship 1 Custody/Visitation 2 Divorce Cases from the Clinic's Victim Justice Project

INTAKES- in order of need. For information on locations please goHERE.

Aletheia Church*formerly Madison Avenue Baptist Church 1st and 3rd Thursday, 12pm-2pm Vida Nueva United Methodist– 1st Tuesday, 4pm-6pm La Plaza – 3rd Friday

CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION 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.

October 24th: Project GRACE CLE Exoffender Reentry 8:30am-4:30pm,  Sign Up HERE 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

ONE-DAY VOLUNTEER EVENTS FOR ATTORNEYSOctober 11th: DACA Day 9am-4pm @ the Clinic Register HERE

-Interpreters-

INTAKES La Plaza: 1st and 3rd Fridays

-Students-

Go Herefor a list of our current fall internships!

Law Students, please also note your help is appreciated at our One-Day Event coming up:October 11th: DACA Day 9am-4pm @ the Clinic Register HERE

-PROJECT GRACE: Help Needed-

Phone Surveys: Project GRACE’s three main focus areas are familial, economic, and employment stability.  We are looking for a volunteer to dedicate 2 hours per day over three separate days of your choice.  A volunteer will conduct surveys via phone with clients whose case has been resolved.

Help Desk: We need volunteers willing to give 2 hours a week or more to the Pro Se Expungement Help Desk. Want to learn more about this opportunity? Contact Jessica Cooney: jcooney@nclegalclinic.org

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.

REGISTER HERE!

  - 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.

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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!

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?

cassandra-at-work.jpg

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.

Meet Legal Intern & Volunteer Attorney William Fife

Meet William Fife our 2012 Summer Legal Intern turned volunteer in-house attorney. William was born and raised in Indianapolis and attended IU Bloomington for undergrad where he studied Public Affairs. Upon graduating, William entered the Peace Corps and lived for two years in the Kingdom of Tonga in the South Pacific ( If you're wondering, as I was, where the Kingdom of Tonga is, please check out this Map Kingdom of Tonga ).William lived on an island five miles long by one mile wide with a population of about 1,000 people. Talk about culture shock. While there William worked on small business development and grant writing with different village counterparts. He organized youth groups to do commercial farming on unused land and spent a large amount of time in his final months there doing Tongan to English document translation.

"The experience there really opened my eyes to the day-to-day issues of poverty and social justice." William found himself passionate about helping empower those in need and says, "my entire life since that time has been focused in some way on serving the under-served."

William came to the Clinic as a summer intern in 2012 to work in our Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) Program where he worked with staff attorney Veronique Beuoy to research, develop legal education and do outreach to different communities who could benefit from the LITC Program. William graduated from Florida Coastal Law School in 2013 and returned to the Clinic to work with staff attorney Rachel Van Tyle in Immigration Law where he currently works closely with refugee clients.

When I asked William what he likes about working with the Clinic he says he strongly identifies with the Clinic's mission and that being a part of an organization who is passionate about serving the under-served has been very powerful for him. "That sense of mission and spirit has been an incredible experience. One of the best, if not the best, work environments I have been in."

William informed us recently that he has accepted a job as a staff attorney at the Micronesian Legal Service Corporation in the Marshall Islands where he will be working primarily in immigration law and land disputes. Since William will literally be on an island in the middle of  the Pacific Ocean, I asked him what his favorite book, music and hobbies are: The Autobiography of Malcom X, Miles Davis and chess which he says "I am a junkie for chess". Luckily these are all things he should be able to pack in his bags when he heads to the Marshall Islands at the end of May.

William, thanks for all your hard work, passion and dedication. We loved getting to know you over the past couple of years and we are excited about your journey to come. Our prayers travel with you.