Contribute to the WLALA Foundation's 8th Annual Giving Campaign
The year-end brings a flurry of holiday parties, elaborate meals, shopping and gift giving, a hurry to finish outstanding projects and hopefully lots of time to relax with family. However for many women and families living in Los Angeles the holidays are nothing more than another day to worry about finding food, shelter and much needed legal services. As lawyers we are in a unique position to give back to our community by providing free legal services to those who otherwise cannot afford it and who desperately need it.
Los Angeles has many fantastic organizations that provide free or low cost legal services to underrepresented women and children but between the demands of thriving law practices, families and much needed downtime many of us feel that we do not have enough time to volunteer. I, like many of you, entered law school with aspirations of changing the world and bringing justice to the poor but sometime during law school I realized I would graduate with over $100,000 of student loans and that I had to find a job that would cover my monthly payments. In the ten years I have been on the WLALA Board I have had the pleasure of interviewing dozens of applicants for the WLALA Law Student Scholarship and every year I am amazed by the applicants' passion, dedication and willingness to serve the underserved populations of Los Angeles. But each of these applicants face the same dilemma: the ability to work in a legal clinic while facing mounting law school debt.
The WLALA Scholarship program provides tuition assistance to law students who have dedicated themselves to helping disadvantaged women and children in Los Angeles County. Through the scholarship program we help aspiring public interest lawyers achieve their dreams by lessoning the burden of their student loan debt.
So maybe you don’t have time to volunteer at a local legal aid clinic but do you have time to donate $10.00? Maybe $100.00? WLALA proudly has almost 1300 members this year. If each member donated just $50.00 we could give out $65,000 in scholarships next year! Can you imagine the impact that could make in our community? $50.00 probably does not seem like much but collectively we can make a difference. Collectively we can help aspiring lawyers like 2014 Scholarship recipient Danielle Gersh who spent the two years prior to law school teaching U.S. History in South Central Los Angeles and who as a certified law student volunteers at the Loyola Juvenile Law Center; or recipient Justine Schneeweis who spent her summer volunteering with the ACLU Immigration Rights Project; or recipient Jasmine Phillips who split her Summer between researching the intersection between race and female incarceration in South Africa and interning with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.
So this holiday season can you take a minute to give back? Its as simple as clicking here and making a tax deductible* donation to the WLALA 2014 Annual Giving Campaign. The minute it takes will help make an impact for good in our community.
Sarah de Diego
Scholarship Committee Co-Chair