Posts Tagged: Charles River Clean Up

A Year in Photos – Public Service in 2017

From teaching a record 1,700 students through Law Day in the Schools to releasing a compelling report on criminal justice reform, 2017 was a successful year at the BBA. For highlights and our favorite photos from the year, read on to see how you and your colleagues contributed to our public service initiatives over the past year.

The 2017 Public Service Award presented at the Boston Bar Foundation’s annual John & Abigail Adams Benefit Ball honored Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall in January. Chief Justice Marshall addresses the crowd at the Museum of Fine Arts, reminding every one of the importance of being good and just in their work.

MIT Bhangra, an award-winning dance group, entertained the crowd at the Adams Benefit. 2017’s Ball raised over $650,000 in support for local legal services organizations providing civil legal services to those in need. In June, the Foundation granted $960,000 to 20 such organizations.

Each January, hundreds of attorneys travel to the State House to Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid. The Equal Justice Coalition coordinates this annual event to call on our legislators to adequately fund the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation through the state budget. Carol Starkey, 2016-2017 BBA President, highlights the importance of civil legal aid as noted in the BBA’s Investing in Justice report, which details that 2 out of 3 income eligible clients are turned away from legal services due to a lack of resources.

In response to President Trump’s Executive Order Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States, then BBA President Carol Starkey reaffirmed the BBA’s aim to “support the rule of law, as well as the core values of access to justice and diversity and inclusion, which help keep the fundamental promise that all of us will enjoy due process and equal protection under the law.” Over the course of the year, the BBA worked with many legal services organizations to connect attorneys to volunteer opportunities. Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project presented a number of Know Your Rights trainings for attorneys wishing to present to community groups about their immigration rights. Here, attorneys William Graves (Graves & Doyle) and Seth Purcell (PAIR Project) welcome over 60 attorneys to the first training at the BBA.

Paulette Brown (left, Locke Lord) accepts the Beacon Award for Diversity and Inclusion for her work as president of the American Bar Association convening the Diversity and Inclusion 360 Commission. One result of the Commission’s work was the passage at the ABA of Resolution 113, an initiative designed to increase diversity in the legal profession. In November of 2016, the BBA announced its strong support for the Resolution and is working with other partners in Boston on its implementation.

Raquel Webster (right, National Grid) introduces presenter Brian McLaughlin (McLaughlin Law) to a group of probationers at the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The BBA’s Reentry Education Program, which was developed by the Public Interest Leadership Program, engages with dozens of probationers annually on useful topics related to community reentry, including family law, reinstating a driver’s license, public benefits, and more.

Secretary Francisco A. Ureña (Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services) addresses the crowd at a Memorial Day reception hosted by the BBA’s Active Duty Military & Veterans Forum. The reception was held after the annual pro bono training for attorneys representing veterans in discharge upgrade cases. Since 2015, the BBA has worked with the Veterans Legal Clinic at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School to hose these trainings to support their Veterans Legal Clinic.

One night a year, the BBA is transformed from a meeting space to a casino floor. Seventeen organizations sponsored this year’s Casino Night for Summer Jobs, the proceeds of which support the Summer Jobs Program and support internships for high school students at legal services organizations, government agencies, and courts. Attendees at Casino Night celebrate beating the house and eagerly await the mystifying reveal of a magic trick.

Law Day in the Schools, one of the BBA’s most popular volunteer opportunities, introduces Boston Public School students to the legal profession and particular areas of the law. This year, volunteers including Jill Brenner Meixel (left) and Allison Belanger (right) of Krokidas & Bluestein introduced students to due process and the importance of having fair rules and laws for all. There were a record 15 schools and over 1700 students in the program this year.

Throughout the year, the New Lawyers Section’s Public Service Committee coordinates volunteer events with organizations throughout the city. In addition to serving food at the Pine Street Inn, attorneys also helped sort donations at Cradles to Crayons, keep the esplanade clear at the Charles River Clean-up, and other important volunteer initiatives in the area.

High school students convene with Chief Justice Melvin S. Hoffman (U.S. Bankruptcy Court) after listing to a mock hearing in bankruptcy court. This session, which teaches students about the consequences of filing for bankruptcy is part of the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program, which began in 2005. Since it began, over 5800 students statewide have been introduced to the importance of budgeting, understanding credit, and financing a large purchase.

Over 1,000 attorneys came together for this year’s Law Day Dinner in Back Bay. Congressman Seth Moulton provided keynote remarks and highlighted the importance of lawyers and upholding the rule of law now more than ever.

This year’s Thurgood Marshall Award, honoring an attorney in private practice in Greater Boston for their extraordinary efforts in enhancing the human dignity of others by providing legal services to Massachusetts’ low income population, went to Elaine Blais (Goodwin). Blais volunteers with both the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project and Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) representing both children and adults in various immigration cases.

Anne Mackin (Greater Boston Legal Services) accepts the John G. Brooks Legal Services Award, an award presented to professional legal services attorneys for their outstanding work on behalf of indigent people in the Boston area. Mackin has worked in legal services for nearly 30 years, and joined GBLS’s Immigration Unit in 2013. Since then, she has helped people from all over the world who have witnessed or experienced unspeakable tragedies and faced severe persecutions. Her efforts have ensured that many who are fleeing extreme discrimination and danger are able to seek justice and safe harbor.

Members of the Society of Fellows experience a tour of the Museum of Fine Arts’ summer exhibit, Matisse in the Studio. Each Fellows pledge supports the work of the Boston Bar Foundation’s many public service initiatives. The growing number of Fellows, now over 400, learn about the work their gifts support, including programs supporting Boston’s youth and grants to legal services organizations, at events throughout the year.

Boston Public High School students stand with Natashia Tidwell (center left, Collora) and Mark Smith (center right, BBA President, Laredo & Smith) on the morning of the first day of work with the Summer Jobs Program. The program, a partnership with the City of Boston and the Boston Private Industry Council, employs students in internships at legal offices across the city. In 2017, 52 students gained valuable office experience and were given insight into the legal profession.

Attorneys network surrounding the chocolate fountain, a staple at this year’s Boston Bar Foundation Summer Fundraiser. Guests at the event are treated to delicious dishes from area restaurants while learning about the public service programs their contribution supports.

The Public Interest Leadership Program’s class of 2016-2017 hosted their symposium, Constitutional Battlegrounds: Civil Rights in a Changing Landscape, earlier this year. The event’s speakers addressed a number of issues recently in the national spotlight, both in the media and the courts. Nearly 100 attorneys and interested members of the community packed the BBA to hear insights from the panels of experts.

This fall, the 14th Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) started their term. Twenty attorneys were selected for the program based on their experience and dedication to public service and civic engagement. The program now includes nearly 200 alumni who’ve gone on to serve the BBA in other capacities and carry their passion for serving the public interest into the community.

Piper Kerman, author of Orange is the New Black, addressed the audience at the BBA’s Annual Meeting. Kerman, a former prisoner, discussed her work bringing prison issues to the forefront of national conversation. She also acknowledged the BBA’s report No Time to Wait: Recommendations for a Fair and Effective Criminal Justice System, which was released this fall. The report commends the reforms proposed earlier this year by Massachusetts leaders based on research by the Council of State Governments (CSG), but strongly urges lawmakers to enact broader reforms designed to further reduce recidivism, and make the criminal justice system fairer and more cost-efficient.

Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) staff attend the Massachusetts Conference for Women to introduce the public to the services it offers. Thousands of requests come through each year and referrals are made out to experienced attorneys practicing nearly 350 areas of law. The LRS also houses a dedicated Military Legal Help Line, which connects veterans, military personnel, and their families with lawyers and other legal resources appropriate to their needs.

The three award recipients at November’s Beacon Award for Diversity & Inclusion stand with members of the Beacon Award Selection Committee. Brent Henry received the Voice of Change Award for his work recruiting and retaining diverse legal talent while at Partners Healthcare. The Empowerment Award went to Iván Espinoza-Madrigal for his work on civil rights issues, including racial justice, immigrant rights, and LGBT/HIV equality, as the Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice. Susan Alexander accepted the Corporate Champion Award on behalf of Biogen. Biogen’s legal department has developed a system of diversity metrics which the legal team uses when choosing outside counsel.
Above, left to right: Brent Henry (Mintz Levin), Iván Espinoza-Madrigal (Lawyers’ Committee), Susan Alexander (Biogen), Sarah Kim (Treasurer and Receiver General of Massachusetts), Kate Cook (Sugarman Rogers), Stephen Hall (Holland & Knight), and Damon Hart (Liberty Mutual).

Hosted at Suffolk University Law School, the annual Pro Bono Recruitment Fair and Open House connects law students and attorneys to volunteer opportunities across the state. Over 25 organizations recruited at the fair this year.

BBA President Mark Smith (right) met with Principal Danladi Bobbitt of the John D. Philbrick Elementary School in Roslindale. As a participant in the Principal Partners event, hosted by Boston Public Schools, Boston Plan for Excellence, and Bank of America, the BBA President has the opportunity to visit a school and engage in meaningful conversations about the role of education in our society.

One-Time Volunteer Opportunities Throughout the Spring

With temperatures hitting 60 degrees this week, we can’t help but dream of the warmer weather to come. Looking ahead to spring, the BBA has a number of one-time volunteer opportunities working with various community and environmental organizations. We hope you’ll sign-up for one (or more!) of the below events to give back to your community while meeting other BBA members!

Volunteer with The Greater Boston Food Bank
Saturday, March 11, 2017 9:30 AM to 12:00 PM
Greater Boston Food Bank – 70 South Bay Avenue, Boston, MA

Volunteer at Cradles to Crayons
Saturday, March 25, 2017 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM
Cradles to Crayons – 155 North Beacon Street, Brighton, MA

Annual Charles River Clean Up
Saturday, April 29, 2017 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Charles River Esplanade, Boston, MA

Volunteer on the Farm: The Food Project Serve & Grow
Saturday, May 6, 2017 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM
Lynn Farm – 1 Collins Terrace, Lynn, MA

Spring Woodland Restoration Event at Allandale Woods Urban Wild
Friday, May 19, 2017 9:30 AM to 12:00 PM
Allandale Woods Urban Wild, Roslindale, MA

Last year’s crew at the Annual Charles River Clean-Up enjoying some sun and beautifying the Esplanade.

A Year in Photos – Public Service in 2016

From teaching over 1,500 students their Miranda Rights to instituting a Bar Exam Coaching Program, 2016 was a successful year at the BBA. For highlights and our favorite photos from the year, read on to see how you and your colleagues contributed to our public services initiatives in 2016.

Over 1,000 guests attended the 2016 John and Abigail Adams Benefit at the Museum of Fine Arts. Each year, our premier fundraiser provides support for the legal services organizations in our community. We're grateful for the over $600,000 raised in 2016.

Over 1,000 guests attended the 2016 John and Abigail Adams Benefit at the Museum of Fine Arts. Each year, our premier fundraiser provides support for the legal services organizations in our community. We’re grateful for the over $600,000 raised in 2016.

Molly Baldwin, Executive Director of Roca, accepts the 2016 Public Service Award on behalf of the organization. Roca was recognized for their work reducing recidivism and improving employment rates for young men in Massachusetts.

Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, addresses the crowd at Walk to the Hill for Civil Legal Aid. Each year, hundreds of private attorneys and civil legal aid advocates converge on the Massachusetts State House to demonstrate their support for state funding of civil legal aid.

Anuj Kheterpal, Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, leads a session of the Reentry Education Program at the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts. Presenting on topics ranging from family law, affordable housing, and CORI sealing, the Reentry Education Program provides useful information and resources to probationers in our community.

The BBA’s Military and Veterans Committee works throughout the year to both address the legal needs of our veterans community and also provide a space for attorneys who have served or are serving in the military the chance to connect. Luncheons held throughout the year provide an informal, conversational means for veteran attorneys to connect.

One of the most anticipated events of the year is always the BBA’s Casino Night for Summer Jobs. Inside the BBA, the rooms are transformed into a functioning casino spaces for guests to enjoy throughout the building. All proceeds from the event support our Summer Jobs program. Specifically, donations allow high school students the opportunity to work at legal services organizations, courts, and government agencies that may not otherwise have the resources to hire a student.

For over ten years, the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy program has taught high school students financial responsibility. Above, students from Peabody Veterans Memorial High School visit Judge Joan N. Feeney’s courtroom to learn the consequences of filing for bankruptcy.

Members of the Boston Bar Foundation’s Society of Fellows gaze at an exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts last spring. The Society of Fellows is a group of over 400 attorneys who’ve pledged their support for the BBA’s public service initiatives.

An active group within the BBA, the New Lawyers Public Service Committee plans nearly monthly volunteer events for attorneys to give back to their community through direct service. Here, BBA volunteers are working with the Charles River Watershed Association to clean-up the banks of the Charles River.

As part of the annual Law Day activities each spring, the BBA hosts its Law Day in the Schools program through which attorney volunteers introduce students in kindergarten to 12th grade to the legal profession and legal issues. In 2016, Law Day in the Schools focused on Miranda Rights, which seemed especially to resonate with students during a year marked by discussion of the balance of power between law enforcement and citizens.

At the 2016 Law Day Dinner, former BBA President Jack Regan, WilmerHale, was presented the Thurgood Marshall Award for his commitment to public service. Regan has tirelessly worked to support pro bono services for military personnel, veterans, and their families.

The John G. Brooks Legal Services Award was presented at Law Day Dinner to Daniel Nagin, founder of the Veterans Legal Clinic at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School. Nagin also helped start the Low Income Tax Clinic at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School.

Pairings: A Gourmet Evening for Public Service supports all of the public service programs of the BBA. Guests of the event are treated to delicious dishes from area restaurants while learning about the programs their contribution supports.

Throughout the year, the BBA hosts numerous pro bono trainings on a range of practice areas. We partner with many legal services organizations to connect our members to their pro bono opportunities. Above, attorneys lead a training on how to volunteer for the Family Law Court Clinic at the Court Service Center.

Massachusetts State Senator Jamie Eldridge addresses the audience at the BBA’s Juvenile Restorative Justice Program. The symposium focused on restorative justice initiatives in the Commonwealth as particularly related to the state’s youth. This event was the culmination of the 12th Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP) class’ 14-month program. PILP promotes civic engagement and public service by advancing the leadership roles of new lawyers. Throughout the program, the class examines various issues facing our community and concludes with a symposium of entirely their design.

Summer is a beloved time at the BBA because it means that law firms, courts, government agencies, and legal services organizations across the city will host high school student interns as part of our Summer Jobs Program. Students gain valuable insight into the legal profession and office work experience as they intern during their summer break. Students are also provided Enrichment Seminars, which enhance their experience and provide exposure to various legal careers, the workings of the Supreme Judicial Court, and more.

Janet Bostwick, Janet E. Bostwick, PC, was acknowledged this past year for her devotion to the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program. Bostwick was appointed head of the Financial Literacy Committee by her dear and late friend, M. Ellen Carpenter in 2004 and has since grown the program to teach over 500 students a year. Bostwick stepped down from the Committee after 12 years and we’re thankful for her service.

Law students and attorneys met with various legal services organizations and government agencies as they browsed the Pro Bono Fair & Open House in October. The event draws scores of people each year and provides organizations the chance to attract new volunteers.

BBA President Carol Starkey, Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP, meets with Katy Buckland, principal of UP Academy Boston. The BBA President participates in Principal for a Day each year to gain insight into the day-to-day activities of the students many of our public service programs impact.

 

Thank you for a wonderful year, we can’t wait to kickoff 2017 with you!

Spring into Public Service

Give back to your community and expand your professional network by volunteering for these upcoming public service opportunities.

Give back to your community and expand your professional network by volunteering for these upcoming public service opportunities.

16th Annual Charles River Clean Up 


Saturday, April 25, 2015 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Come join members of the New Lawyers Section as we partner with over 3,000 volunteers from various neighborhood, school and professional organizations to help clear trash, debris and other harmful items from the banks of the Charles River. A picnic will follow the event at 1 pm.

Click here to register

Spring Woodland Restoration Event at Roslindale Urban Wild 


 

Friday, May 8, 2015 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Five years ago, members of the Environmental Law Section’s Public Service Committee established a tradition for our community of performing ecological restoration work and planting trees in a local Boston Urban Wild. Join the tradition, enjoy nature and the company of your colleagues while also serving the community. This year, in partnership with the Boston Parks and Recreation Department’s Urban Wilds Initiative, we will perform trail maintenance, invasive plant control, and pruning of 2008 restoration plantings at the Roslindale Urban Wild. Participants should bring work gloves and water. Children with parental supervision are welcome! Space is limited, so pre-registration is required.

Click here to register

Volunteer on the Farm: The Food Project Serve & Grow 


 

Saturday, May 30, 2015 9:15 AM to 12:30 PM

Join your BBA colleagues for a morning outdoors working on the farm and supporting The Food Project. The Food Project is a non-profit devoted to promoting sustainable food systems. The Food Project Serve & Grow Program is focused on growing food for hunger relief organizations and local distribution. Volunteers should bring a water bottle, sunscreen, work gloves, and rain gear (if necessary). The Food Project will supply all tools necessary to work in the field.

Click here to register

New Lawyers Begin Public Service Journey

The Charles River Clean Up is one of the many volunteer opportunities that the New Lawyers Public Service Committee has planned for the upcoming year.

The Charles River Clean Up is one of the many volunteer opportunities that the New Lawyers Public Service Committee has planned for the upcoming year.

Last night, law students, young attorneys, and recent graduates awaiting bar results gathered at 16 Beacon to learn how to get more involved in public service activities across Greater Boston. The meeting/information session allowed participants to meet the New Lawyers Public Service Committee Co-Chairs, Sara Farnum (Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General ) and Margaret Caulfield (Partners HealthCare), learn more about the New Lawyer’s public service calendar of events for the year, and ask questions about opportunities to gain more legal experience through pro bono work.

Beyond the Billable asked the co-chairs why New Lawyers should take the time to volunteer. Here’s what Sara Farnum (Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General ) had to say:

“Public service activities are a great way to get to know other members of the BBA, who are also members of your lawyer community in Boston. It is nice to have an excuse, once a month, to network with others in a different setting and also extremely rewarding to feel more connected to the areas we all work in. The public service activities that are planned in the New Lawyers Section of the BBA are often outside, on the weekends, involve minimal time commitment, and are fun! “

While the calendar is still being finalized, here is a look at some of the organizations and events you can volunteer with this year through the New Lawyers Section:

Check back for more information on the events throughout the year.

Volunteers Get Their Hands Dirty at Environmental Clean Up Events

The Environmental Law Pro Bono Committee and the New Lawyers Public Service Committee have been busy coordinating environmentally focused volunteer opportunities in honor of Earth Day last month. Twenty-one volunteers put on their work gloves to help remove debris and trash from the banks of the Charles River on April 27th for the 14th annual Charles River Clean Up. A week later, eight volunteers spent the morning of May 5th at the Gladeside Urban Wild, one of the largest undeveloped areas in Mattapan. Volunteers helped to maintain this open space by removing invasive plant species, preparing the land for future plantings, and performing spring cleaning.

Here’s a look at the two volunteer days:

Volunteers Sara Farnum (Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General), Smita Deshmukh (Sullivan & Worcester LLP), Stephanie Pan, and Margaret Caulfield (Partners HealthCare) helped remove litter and debris from the banks of the Charles River as part of the 14th annual Charles River Clean Up on April 27th.

Volunteers Sara Farnum (Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General), Smita Deshmukh (Sullivan & Worcester LLP), Stephanie Pan, and Margaret Caulfield (Partners HealthCare) helped remove litter and debris from the banks of the Charles River as part of the 14th annual Charles River Clean Up on April 27th.

Phelps Turner (Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.) and Staci Rubin (Alternatives for Community & Environment) planted a tree in Gladeside Urban Wild in Mattapan.

Phelps Turner (Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.) and Staci Rubin (Alternatives for Community & Environment) planted a tree in Gladeside Urban Wild in Mattapan.

Volunteers Jennifer Rushlow (Conservation Law Foundation), Danah Tench (Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection), Pamela Harvey (Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection), Phelps Turner (Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.), Ben Ericson (Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection) and his son, Staci Rubin (Alternatives for Community & Environment), Michele Hunton (Lawson & Weitzen, LLP), and Lisa Goodheart (Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C. )and her daughter helped clean up Gladeside Urban Wild in Mattapan on May 5th.

Volunteers Jennifer Rushlow (Conservation Law Foundation), Danah Tench (Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection), Pamela Harvey (Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection), Phelps Turner (Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.), Ben Ericson (Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection) and his son, Staci Rubin (Alternatives for Community & Environment), Michele Hunton (Lawson & Weitzen, LLP), and Lisa Goodheart (Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C. )and her daughter helped clean up Gladeside Urban Wild in Mattapan on May 5th.

For more upcoming weekend volunteer opportunities , please contact Katie D’Angelo, Public Service Programs Coordinator, at [email protected].

Helping Out(side) of 16 Beacon

Are you looking for a fun, one-time volunteer opportunity on the weekend? Sign up for one of the BBA’s upcoming community service outings.

IMG_0326

Volunteer Christina Miller (Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office) joined other BBA volunteers for last year’s Charles River Clean Up.

(1) Join the New Lawyers Section and the Environmental Law Section for the annual Charles River Clean Up this Saturday, April 20th from 9 am-12 pm. Last year, an estimated 15-20 tons of rubbish was collected from along the river and its surrounding area. Click here to register.

(2) Do you want to help alleviate hunger in Boston? Volunteer at the Greater Boston Food Bank on May 11th from 9:30 am-12 pm. Volunteers will work together as a team to inspect, sort and pack food and grocery products. Click here for more information.

IMG_0325

Volunteers from the 2012 Charles River Clean Up helped remove rubbish and debris located in the river and on its banks.

(3) Clean up the Gladeside Urban Wild, one of the largest undeveloped areas in Mattapan, on Saturday, May 4th from 9 am-12 pm. Attendees will help to maintain this open space by removing invasive plant species and preparing the land for future plantings. Please email Jenny Rushlow at [email protected] for additional information.

(4) Get your hands dirty on Saturday, June 1st from 9:15 am-12:30 pm at the Food Project. Plant, harvest, and tend fresh vegetables for support hunger relief organization and local distribution. Click here to register.

 

For more information about these opportunities, please contact Katie D’Angelo, Public Service Programs Coordinator, at [email protected].

BBA Volunteers Help Clean Up the Charles

On Saturday, April 21st, 25 volunteers organized by the BBA’s New Lawyers Section joined in an effort to clean up the banks of the Charles River.    This event ties in with the BBA’s Task Force on Environmental Sustainability, a group charged with expanding the BBA’s public service capacity to include volunteer opportunities that benefit the environment. To read more about the work of the Task Force, please visit The Sustainable Lawyer, the BBA’s blog dedicated to issues of environmental sustainability.

The event, coordinated by the Charles River Watershed Association, marked the 13th Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup.  It’s estimated that some 4,000 volunteers from Milford to Boston removed 15-20 tons of rubbish from alongside the River and the surrounding areas. 

BBA Members Gather to Volunteer for the 13th AnnualCharles River Clean Up.

BBA Council member, Christina Miller hard at work