It has been an exciting year working as an AmeriCorps fellow starting a new project with MHAS working with veterans. There have been challenges and victories along the way and I have learned invaluable lessons on client management and effective advocacy.
Perhaps one of the most important things I have learned is how a seemingly small change in an individual’s life can provide that person with renewed energy and sense of purpose in achieving their personal goals.
I have worked on many types of legal issues for my veteran clients over the last year, from obtaining reasonable accommodations from landlords so clients could remain in their housing, to helping clients with Social Security overpayment problems so their incomes stabilize, to resolving tickets, fines and warrants.
I have written in previous blogs about the work I have done to resolve clients’ tickets. It has been an interesting learning experience for me in a number of ways. I have learned how to be creative in my advocacy, modifying my arguments and strategy, depending upon the municipal or judicial authority I am approaching and depending upon the client’s unique situation.
I have learned that one of the critical aspects of effective advocacy is tenacity—not giving up at the first road block. Perhaps the most important thing I have learned is that, for my clients who face tremendous physical and mental challenges each day as they cope with potentially debilitating barriers to completion of basic tasks—no income, no car, no support system, and sometimes no consistent treatment of their conditions—being freed of the emotional burden of owing the government or a court hundreds or thousands of dollars is liberating in ways I could not have imagined. The gratitude my clients have expressed when they no longer have the specter of these obligations hovering over them has made my work very rewarding.
This project is generously supported by an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Veterans Legal Corps Fellowship. To fully fund this project, help us reach our fundraising goal of $25,000.
Amount raised as of 11/28/2017