Announcing New Attorney Hire
We are happy to share with you that the Northeast Justice Center has hired Camila R. Valenzuela as a Staff Attorney to work in our clinics in Lawrence and Lowell. It is our understanding that she will also staff the Woburn clinic. After a few weeks of orientation at the Justice Center, Camila attended her work at the Lawrence clinic on Monday, February. She will be meeting with our volunteer attorneys, Winnie Okoye and Melissa McNamee who have helped us to get our clinics started in November, December, and January to review the files of the clients who visited our clinics in those months.
Thank you Winnie and Melissa and welcome Camila.
Client Status to Date
The Lawrence/Lowell JFON Leadership Team and volunteers have continued to provide legal clinics for low-income immigrants while waiting for the Justice Center to hire their new attorney. Clinics were held on Monday, January 28th and Wednesday, February 13 and were located at Centralville UMC and Christ UMC, respectively. Thanks to Attorneys Winnie and Melissa we have seen over twenty clients, six of whom were children and youth under the age of eighteen, and some as young as 12.
The clients are from countries such as Ghana, Cameroon, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Their needs range from securing status as unaccompanied minors (who are supervised by Health and Human Services through a special court system) to clients who are looking for help with green card applications and asylum status. Now that Camila is onboard, she will review the paperwork on these clients to determine how we might be of help, keeping in mind the need for choosing cost effective ways of helping.
Conference Wide Fund Raising
Pastors should have received a mailing form New England JFON regarding a special challenge offering that will be taking place at the United Methodist Annual Conference Session in June. The offering was established by a resolution from one of our lay members and established a goal of $30,000. We hope to exceed that goal so that we can continue the existing clinics in Springfield, Woburn, Lawrence and Lowell as well as look to new clinics in 2020. Please email Sharon G.W. Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or need help with fundraising ideas.
Save the Date
On the Saturday evening of May 18, West Chelmsford UMC will host a Chocolate Lover’s Night to benefit the Lawrence and Lowell Justice for Our Neighbors Clinics. We hope that you might be willing to support this effort, enjoy some good company, learn more about JFON, and enjoy some wonderful chocolate delicacies. All of our best bakers are choosing their favorite chocolate specialties and are willing to share recipes with you. More details to follow.
If you would like us to publicise your fundraising efforts for JFON please send information to Sharon Jones at email@example.com.
Immigrants' Day at the State House on March 4th
Please think about joining Massachusetts Immigration and Refugee Association (MIRA). Here is the agenda for the day:
- 9-10: Table Setup and getting groups through security
- 10-11: Registration, pick up packets, and Optional Lobbying 101 Training
- 11-12: Speaking Program in Hall of Flags (featuring: Congresswoman Pressley, Senate President Spilka, ACLUM Director- Carol Rose, immigrant leaders, and other elected officials)
- 12:30-1: Thematic Breakout Lobbying Groups (Safe Communities, Driver's Licenses, Higher Ed Equity, ESOL/ABE funding, and Cover All Kids)
- 1:15-2: Regional Hubs Lobbying Groups
If you have friends or know other organizations that still want to join, have them register here.
Continuing to Look for Volunteers
Currently, we have about 30 volunteers working with the Lawrence and Lowell Clinics and we continue to look for persons who would like to be trained as Intake Volunteers or who have language skills to make it possible for them to volunteer as Interpreters. In addition, if your church or group would be interested in acting as host for a clinic please be in touch. Our Volunteer Coordinator is David Troughton and you can contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the Lawrence and Lowell JFON clinics move forward in our partnership with the Northeast Justice Center, we are transitioning to three coordinators. Becky Mantz (from Bedford UCC) has decided to move to volunteer status doing Intake and Interpretation as needed. Pam Brewster (Aldersgate UMC) is our Clinic Manager, David Troughton (West Chelmsford UMC) is our Volunteer Manager and Sharon Jones (retired elder, New England Conference, UMC) is our Clinic Coordinator. All three are cross-trained to fill in for each other during planned or unplanned time away from the clinics. We hope that this monthly newsletter is keeping you informed about our activities. If you have questions about fundraising opportunities or other concerns, please stay in touch with us. Feel free to share this information or print and duplicate for supportive, interested members.