As we move into some of the coldest months here in New England, we have been reflecting on some of the bright spots over the past year. For example, last summer, ten Boston Public high school students had paying jobs at non-profit legal services organizations, government agencies and in the courts. One student told us about her experience -“I have been exposed to brilliant people who shared their experiences with me, and helped me form an idea of the career path I might want to take.”
With the help of hundreds of volunteers, the US Bankruptcy Court and the Boston Public Schools, we have impressed the importance of prudent financial management upon young minds through the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program. This program not only helps teens see how they might be able to save for a car, but hopefully can help them avoid bankruptcy later in life.
And in the Housing Court, BBA volunteers assisted more than 1,000 individuals struggling to navigate a complex, overburdened court system. This program gives hope and relief to pro se landlords and tenants at a time in their lives when one of their basic needs is at stake.
What do these programs have in common? They are all run with funding provided by the Boston Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the BBA.
The BBF is perhaps most well-known for its role in granting funds to legal services organizations in our community. These Boston-based programs operate in all areas of need – from giving children access to equal education and life opportunities, providing counseling and advice to homeless and at risk veterans, and helping thousands of families facing foreclosure learn their legal rights and fight displacement. But what many people don’t know is that the BBF is also providing a helping hand on the community service front, and working with the BBA to improve lives and strengthen neighborhoods.
As the holiday season approaches, the BBF will be launching its Annual Campaign to help support this work. The tax-deductible donations made to the Annual Campaign help provide a solid base of support as the BBF renews its commitment to increasing access to justice for those who need it most, providing opportunities for young people and engaging lawyers in the kind of projects that improve the lives of those in our community.
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