The Boston Debate League teaches Boston Public High School students valuable skills, such as public speaking and critical thinking.
Are you a former debater looking to get more involved in the community? Beyond the Billable has the perfect volunteer opportunity for you — the Boston Debate League (BDL) is seeking mentors for the 2013-2014 program year. As a mentor, you will attend a weekly, after school debate practice and work with debaters to cultivate public speaking, critical thinking, and analytical skills.
So why get involved? Academic debate teams have a significant impact on the future of the participants. According to BDL, nearly 100% of students who participate in an urban debate league graduate from high school and more than 80% graduate from a four-year college.
Beyond the Billable reached out to current BBA mentor Stephanie Hoeplinger for a firsthand perspective of this volunteer opportunity.
What was your experience volunteering as a Boston Debate League mentor?
“I originally chose to volunteer as a mentor because I wanted to get more involved in the community. I am a big proponent of public schools, so I thought it would be a great fit. I think that, for me, it was a great volunteer experience because I got to see the kids grow and develop over the debate season, so for others looking for a long-term volunteer activity it is a great choice, as the ability to work with a group of kids throughout the year is really rewarding.”
Why do you think lawyers make good debate mentors?
“Lawyers are uniquely qualified to serve as mentors because of our skills as debaters — it is basically what we do in court on a daily basis. Students argue their side and even to cross-examine the other team. I think lawyers, in particular, can help them to think of good questions to ask and can push them to think about the issues in varying ways.”
For more information on how to volunteer, please contact Katie D’Angelo, Public Service Programs Coordinator, at [email protected].
David Rozenson taught the Summer Jobs students about car loans and the cost of purchasing a car as part of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program.
This morning, BBA Summer Jobs students participated in “Buying a Car,” a module of the BBA’s M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program. This module is just one session of the four part program, which teaches high school students about the importance of making informed decisions regarding their finances. The program has set records this year, reaching more than 1,300 students across Massachusetts. Here’s another incredible stat: the program provided financial literacy education to more students during the 2013 program year than it reached in all of its previous years combined, 2005-2012. This incredible growth is thanks to the BBA’s volunteers and the quality of its programming.
Raenelle Teesdale, a recent graduate of John D. O’Bryant School who is interning at Chu, Ring, and Hazel LLP this summer, has been thinking about buying a car.
Here is what she had to say about this morning’s session:
“The session had me thinking about all of the possible expenses when buying a car including gas, insurance, and the payments. I’m not saying I won’t buy a car, but I now know that I need to be more financial stable before purchasing one.”
In mid-August, the Summer Jobs students will visit the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the final module—Consequences—to learn about the repercussions of poor financial decision-making.
Alexandra Williams, a 2008 Summer Jobs alum, is interning with the BBA’s finance department this summer.
After her sophomore year at Boston Latin School, Alexandra Williams landed her first office job as a summer intern at Holland & Knight through the BBA’s 2008 Summer Jobs Program. Now a rising senior at Georgetown University majoring in operations and information management, Alexandra again connected with the BBA to procure a summer job – but in a new role. She is interning with the BBA’s finance department this summer, compiling data for the Statewide Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Aid in Massachusetts launched by BBA President J.D. Smeallie earlier this year.
Beyond the Billable sat down to talk to Alexandra about her Summer Jobs experience and the impact of the program. She explained that was the first time that she worked in a professional setting with adults:
“I remember being scared before my first day because it was my first office job working with adults. [The Holland & Knight employees] treated me like a regular employee. It gave me more confidence because no one was treating me like a child anymore. That confidence not only helped me that summer, but as I went on to college and worked at other jobs and internships.”
Alexandra is yet another example of the lasting impact of the program on the students’ professional experiences—even outside of the field of law. After another legal internship, Alexandra decided that becoming a lawyer was not the right career choice for her. Nevertheless, the program helped prepare her for her future professional and academic endeavors by giving her confidence early in her career.
For the record, Alexandra stills calls Holland & Knight her favorite job and highlighted the benefit of participating in the program’s enrichment seminars while working throughout the summer.
After hiring Alexandra this summer, the BBA can personally attest to the quality of the students that the program produces.
Dan Forster (Simmons College) discussed the financial aid process with the Summer Jobs students.
After their first three days of work, the 58 Summer Jobs students returned to 16 Beacon for their first enrichment seminar on student loans. Daniel Forster, the Director of Student Financial Services at Simmons College, spoke with the students about the financial aid process, sources of aid, and how financial need is determined. The students had the opportunity to ask questions about their own financial aid packages and financial concerns.
When asked why the segment was helpful, Allysha Pierre, a Summer Jobs student interning at Wolf, Greenfield, & Sacks and rising college freshman, explained that “you don’t know what you’re getting into when you go to college. The more information you know about students loans, the better prepared you can be for the future.” After talking to Forster about her specific financial aid situation, she told Beyond the Billable that she feels better prepared to contact her financial aid advisor and discuss how to lower her unmet need.
Like Allysha, many of the students in the program will be attending college in the fall or plan to attend after they complete high school. In combination with the financial literacy sessions, this seminar aims to prepare students to make educated financial decision about paying for their higher education.
This past year, Christina Miller (Suffolk District Attorney’s Office) and Ed Gorman (Law Office of Ed Gorman) served as mentors for the group of Boston Public High School juniors and seniors who have been selected to represent their neighborhoods in the Mayor’s Youth Council. In their role as mentors, Miller and Gorman helped guide students thought their program goals and develop skills in various capacities including executing and leading meetings. The BBA has co-sponsored the Mayor’s Youth Council with the Mayor’s Office and Northeastern University since 1994.
The Mayor’s Youth Council, a partnership between the BBA, Mayor’s Office and Northeastern University, gives young people the opportunity to reach out to other Boston teens. The BBA provides the Mayor’s Youth Council lawyer-mentors.
Beyond the Billable asked Miller about her favorite moment of the year. Here’s what she had to say:
“I have so many favorite moments that it is difficult to pick just one. If I have to pick, it would be the time I conducted a mock interview for a student who is on the Mayor’s Youth Council. She came across as shy at first and minimized her achievements. Instead of minimizing, we worked on her maximizing her experiences. She worked on positively presenting her work and how that work contributed to the public and made her a better leader. We worked on her handshake and posture, as well as other markers of confidence. She reported that she felt great about the interview and felt more confidently about herself – focusing on maximizing! It felt great to help her find the confidence within herself.”
For more information on the Mayor’s Youth Council, please contact Katie D’Angelo, public service programs coordinator, at [email protected].
This morning, students, families, and employers packed into 16 Beacon street to hear from Mayor Thomas Menino and BBA leadership to celebrate the beginning of the 20th annual Summer Jobs Program. This year’s event marked an all-time high for the program with 58 student positions thanks to commitment from 41 firms and law offices. Highlights of the program featured a keynote speech by Tavares Brewington (Prince Lobel) encouraging students to find their vision and an award presented by BBA President J.D. Smeallie (Holland & Knight) to Mayor Menino to honor the Mayor’s longstanding commitment to the program.
Here’s a look at today’s event:
Mayor Menino addressed the crowd of students, their families, and employers about the importance of this summer jobs experience.
Tavares Brewington (Prince Lobel) discussed his own path, from South Florida, Western Mass, College of the Holy Cross, playing pro football in Europe, the US Attorney’s Office and Prince Lobel, while encouraging students to find their own vision and achieve it.
Kharlita Chambers-Walker (Charlestown High School) and Julian Smith-Sparks (English High School) will be working at the City of Boston’s Office of Corporate Counsel.
After the event, the students headed off to their first day of work. Please stay tuned for more on the students’ experiences throughout the summer.
This morning, 58 Boston Public High School students traveled to 16 Beacon Street for the annual BBA Summer Jobs Program orientation. To help prepare students for their first day of work on July 8th, the orientation included sessions on workplace professionalism, as well as two financial literacy enrichment modules, on personal finance and budgeting and credit cards.
Here are a few photos from the morning:
2003 Summer Jobs Alum Emmanuelle Renelique (Wilmer Hale) spoke with the students about her own experience as a Summer Jobs intern.
Melissa O’Berg (Rocket Software, Inc) taught the Financial Literacy module on using credit and credits cards to the 58 Summer Jobs students.
Please stay tuned for more highlights from the program throughout the summer. For more on the Summer Jobs Program, please contact Katie D’Angelo, public service programs coordinator, at [email protected].
Last Thursday, BBF supporters crowded into 16 Beacon to mingle and enjoy delicious treats – featuring four chocolate fountains scattered throughout the building — at the BBF’s annual Justice Is Sweet event. With the help of the 250 attorneys who attended and the 32 firms and companies who sponsored the event, the BBF raised over $31,000 to support its charitable mission. Fundraisers like Justice is Sweet help make the BBF’s work possible – including their funding of a number of our public service programs such as the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program, Lawyer for the Day in the Boston Housing Court, the Summer Jobs Program, and Law Day in the Schools.
Here are a few photos in case you missed the event:
Attendees enjoyed chocolate foundations, jazz, and good company at Justice is Sweet.
Vanessa Ebode-Messi (Boston College Law School), Alida Bogran-Acosta (Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.), and Manleen Singh (Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P.).
Lisa Jacobson (O’Brien & Levine Court Reporting Services), Christopher Somma (Goodwin Procter LLP), and Richard Stanley (Goodwin Procter LLP).
To learn more about how the BBF supports several of the BBA’s public service initiatives, please visit the BBF’s new website here.
On Tuesday evening, mentees and mentors from the Diversity & Inclusion Section’s Group Mentoring Program braved the sweltering heat to celebrate a successful year of group mentoring at the BBA.
Steven Joseph (MA Office of the Attorney General), Caitlin Peale (Conservation Law Foundation), Chuck Walker (MA Division of Professional Licensure), Jason Savageau, and Tai Antoine.
The program brings together diverse Boston-based attorneys in mentoring groups composed of 10 new lawyer mentees and 2 seasoned mentors, for monthly meetings designed to address the common professional development challenges that all new lawyers face while fostering supportive professional relationships. If you are interested in participating in the program in the upcoming year, contact Susan Helm at [email protected] for more information or see the program handbook here.
As the BBA thanks and congratulates PILP 9 for their service over the past 14 months, Beyond the Billable is reflecting on their experiences in the program.
Here’s what a few of the class members had to say about their time in PILP:
Christopher Saccardi, The Law Office of Christopher T. Saccardi
“I enjoyed most of all the opportunity to meet and work with a group of interesting colleagues with whom I may not otherwise have crossed paths. It was gratifying to see that participants came from a wide cross-section of the legal profession, from small to large firms, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. I have made lasting friendships that I know will be of both personal and professional importance to me throughout my legal career. I also found the opportunities to hear from so many interesting and influential speakers to be a very worthwhile and interesting experience.”
Julia Devanthéry, Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School
“What I appreciate most about PILP is that I got the opportunity to work on a social justice project that truly addresses an unmet need in the community. It was really exciting to be a part of imagining and then implementing a new program, and doing that work alongside a group of like-minded peers (many of whom I may not otherwise have had the chance to work with) was a great experience.”
Benton Bodamer, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
“PILP was a jolt of amazing access to resources. From the BBA staff and volunteer attorneys, to my PILP colleagues, to the judges and community leaders with whom we met, each meeting was an opportunity to sample the very best of Boston’s incredible public service community.”
For more information on the Public Interest Leadership Program, please contact Susan Helm, Member Programs Coordinator, at [email protected].