On the blog this month, Executive Director Chris Purnell urged us to fight with love and compassion, and we got to know Low Income Taxpayer Clinic Paralegal Kim Smith. We took a close look at our partner, Brookside Community Development Corporation, and the work they're doing to serve their neighborhood. We also introduced you to our Financial Counseling program, run by our Financial Counselor Angie Simmons. And, in honor of National Crime Victims' Rights Week this April, we shared the story of a client we are assisting through our Victim Justice Program.Read More
One day, Marta returned from work to find him and their baby missing. When he finally came home, he didn’t have the baby with him. “He was super drunk and just kept saying, ‘She’s gone,’ over and over again,” says Erica. Desperate, Marta contacted the police, and a search began—but they never found the baby. Marta’s abuser was charged with the murder of their child. “They interviewed him multiple times and his story kept changing,” Erica says. “[Marta] cooperated with the police and testified against him.” He was eventually convicted.Read More
“[Her abuser] would force himself on her and would tell her that, ‘You’re my girlfriend—this is what you’re supposed to do,’” says Grecia. “She thought it was okay and she blamed it on herself because one incident did occur in front of her daughter.” According to Grecia, Josefina became even more wracked with guilt when her daughter, who was very young and who loved her father, begged her, “Please don’t send Daddy to jail.”Read More
This month, the Hearts4Justice blog moved to its new, permanent home on the Clinic website, alongside all of our other media. Be sure to connect with us, if you haven't done so already! We also enjoyed a fun Trivia Night at Bent Rail Brewery, with former Executive Director Josh Abel serving as emcee. Team "I Mustache You A Question" were the champions and took home some gift cards and Clinic swag!
Through the blog this July, we learned more about a harrowing client story from our Victim Justice Program and how she fled abuse and fought to get her child returned to her. Also, Executive Director Chris Purnell shared his thoughts on on our verse for the month, John 15:4.
Check back this August as we share more client stories, and compelling updates on a couple of our partner organizations.
So long, July!
She contemplated taking her two children and leaving him, but this option was fraught. “Her husband threatened her that if she ever left and took their son, he would track her down, kill her, and kill anyone who helped her leave,” says Kelsey Raves, Clinic Victim Justice Program (VJP) Staff Attorney.Read More
Alexis Bullock found the Clinic through Career Services at Franklin College, where she'll enter her senior year in the fall. "I love the intersection of nonprofit work with legal services," she says. This summer, she'll be assisting Project GRACE and loves having the chance to connect the work she wants to do with her faith. "There's so much more that the Clinic does for this community that I didn't even know about and I'm really excited to help," she says.Read More
Due to recent events, the Clinic hopes to clarify and provide information to the public and our supporters regarding refugees. In the upcoming days, we’ll be sharing stories of just a few of the clients we have come to know and appreciate on social media, so be sure to like us on Facebook. We’ll also be sharing more information about why the Clinic serves refugees and why we believe this work is an important part of our mission.Read More
The newest addition to the Victim Justice Program (VJP) came to the Legal Clinic by way of the Prosecutor’s Office. For the past several years, Annie Anderson prosecuted major felonies and worked some jury trials, with cases involving crimes like kidnapping, confinement, and armed robberies. While she enjoyed seeking justice for victims in the courtroom, she found herself wanting to work more directly with those in need.Read More
Happy New Year! Above is a look back at the Clinic’s photo highlights from 2016–an abundant year filled with abundant life! In partnership with Outreach, Inc., we launched our Homeless Youth Justice Program this year, which allows us to provide free legal services to one of Indianapolis’ most vulnerable, and often-underserved populations. We also expanded our Victim Justice Program thanks to a VOCA grant through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, helping us to better meet the great need in our community.Read More
What considerations must be made when working with victims of violent trauma? How can service providers help them feel safe and empowered? What are the potential pitfalls? Join host Ashley Caveda as she discusses these questions, the long-reaching effects of trauma, and more with Legacy House Executive Director Michael Hurst and Victim Justice Program Immigrant Advocate Noemí Gallegos.Read More
Brandon Fitzsimmons, who serves as the Program Manager for IJP, acknowledges the hardships faced by immigrants who come to this country. He says, “There is a sacrifice taking place on the side of the client, because they are leaving their homeland, the place where they were born and have their earliest memories and deepest cultural sensibilities.” Considering the hardships faced by immigrants helps to spur on their work, day by day. Rachel adds, “I like to remind people of how hard working immigrants are—that they are not taking advantage of our system. They’re not criminals; they’re not rapists; they’re not horrible people. They’re just trying to make a better life for themselves.”Read More
Kelsey says, “In church and devotionals, the message that kind of kept coming up is that God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called. So I feel like that’s been a comfort to me, just trusting that I do feel like God has brought me here. Trusting that I’m going to do the work that He wants me to do. And that’s kind of a prayer that I pray just about every day: Let me serve my clients the way that He wants them to be served.”Read More
The last straw came when Leslie’s husband graduated from hitting her to hitting their children. One day, she came home from work to discover that he had beaten their three-year-old daughter, Samantha*. This small child looked up at Leslie and told her that she was scared of her father. Leslie knew the situation was untenable. And so, a few days later, while her husband was out of the house, Leslie made her move. She packed up some belongings and she and her three children fled to the Julian Center.Read More
Such upsetting cases can be difficult to see everyday, so Patti and the rest of the VJP staff try to remember the higher purpose behind their work. Patti says, “This population is what I would consider the most vulnerable, especially the immigrants and human trafficking victims. So just knowing that we’re called to help the vulnerable, I would say that really, when it’s hard, you just reflect on that. These are the people who need help the most.”Read More
Every day at the Clinic, we encounter new clients who are seeking refuge in our country. Though their reasons for leaving their homeland may vary, they are often in need of legal services. As a legal services agency, we are committed to assisting these individuals, but oftentimes the need is greater than the resources that are available. That is why we're asking other attorneys to equip themselves with vital information regarding Immigration Law and to consider taking on a volunteer case with the Legal Clinic.Read More