Attorneys Ellen Shachter (Greater Boston Legal Services) and Julie McCormick (Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School) presented on public benefits to participants in the Community Reentry Readiness Program.
Yesterday, BBA volunteers and public benefits experts Ellen Shachter (Greater Boston Legal Services) and Julie McCormick (Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School) stopped over at the Moakley courthouse for the first Community Reentry Readiness session of the New Year. As you know, volunteer attorneys are able provide probationers with legal advice to support their reentry process. This session’s topic, public benefits, proved to be a valuable subject matter to the probationers in attendance.
In an intimate roundtable discussion, the volunteers were able to address individual questions and debunk some common myths about public health and housing benefits. Ellen and Julie gave probationers tips on how to manage and negotiate the system to help them receive the max amount of benefits that they are entitled.
Beyond the Billable reached out to Ellen to learn more about the session. Here’s why she thinks this session is particularly relevant to the participants:
“As individuals transition from incarceration into the community it is critical that they are provided with the skills and information necessary to successfully obtain critical benefits such as health insurance coverage and food stamps. The BBA’s benefits workshop provided just such information to those reentering the community both through direct oral presentation and in written materials. The benefits workshop also provided a safe forum for participants to ask questions and raise concerns about their own experiences in attempting to navigate complicated benefit program requirements.”
Stay tuned for next month’s session on housing.
Our regular readers have heard us brag about our amazing Summer Jobs students all summer long. However, it’s always a wonderful to hear how our students are applying their summer experiences once they’re back at school.
We received an email from Rose Delorme, the PIC Career Specialist at Boston Latin School, who shared a story about one of our former Summer Jobs students, Kylie Webster Cazeau. Kylie, who was a Boston Bar Foundation funded student who worked at the Federal District Court through the 2014 BBA Summer Jobs Program, is a member of the club B.L.A.C.K. (Black Leaders Aspiring for Change and Knowledge) at Boston Latin School.
After the grand jury verdict for the Michael Brown case was announced, the club hosted an emergency meeting to discuss the situation and brainstorm on ways to support the cause. The students were very confused on what the indictment verdict actually determined, and they were under the impression that it was a not guilty verdict. Using knowledge gained from her summer job, Kylie took the initiative to teach her peers what the difference is between an indictment verdict and a not guilty verdict.
According to Rose, “It was a moment that I think she was very proud of, and I was also proud that she had the knowledge to be able to do that. When I speak to Kylie about her BBA experience she raves on how much she learned in such a short period of time. She talks about how attending court hearings fueled her passion to pursue a career in the justice system.”
We reached out to Kylie to hear her side of the story. Here’s what she had to say about how her summer experience prepped her to understand the process:
“While working at the courthouse this summer I also got to work in the jury office, so I learned a lot about not only what happens in that office but what a jury does as well. About every week or so, the grand jury would be called in to review cases and decide whether or not they were going to indict someone. I also watched many cases where before the trial the prosecution would present all the evidence they have on the defendant to the judge, similar to how they would a grand jury.”
Your legal office could be the next to make a difference in the life of a Boston teen. Click here to learn more about hiring a BBA Summer Jobs student.