I am working at Central Minnesota Legal Services in St. Cloud, MN, which serves more than twenty counties in central Minnesota. Our mission is to provide, in a highly professional manner, for the basic legal needs of families and children vulnerable to abuse, violence, neglect, homelessness or major economic disruptions in their lives. I work mainly in matters related to employment and family law. My major duties include handling correspondence with clients, the investigation of case facts, and representing clients in administrative hearings. The CSB Jackson Fellowship has allowed me to work full time for the summer to advance our mission at no cost to CMLS. This is invaluable in an era of rapidly decreasing budgets; many nonprofits are trying to find ways to fulfill goals with shrinking aid from governments while at the same time experiencing increased demand for services.
The experience I have gained in several areas related to the legal field, such as witness preparation, have given me a sizable head start in pursuing a legal career. It also has given me the reassurance that the only life worth living is one directed toward the service of others. In my work at CMLS, I have not just learned current statistics on poverty, nor read about its implications in textbooks. I have gotten a chance to experience poverty, and what it means for those whom too often go unseen, unheard, and uncared for. Were I not to gain anything else for my time at CMLS, these lessons in understanding and humility would be more than enough.