eNewsletter - July 2013

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 LAF eNews Update
July 2013 
In This Newsletter
Visit the redesigned
LAF website!
Go to www.lafchicago.org and check it out!
Meet Colleen Connolly: Protecting Grandparents and their Families  
Colleen Connolly, Staff Attorney in
LAF's Children and Families
Practice Group
Colleen Connolly is truly dedicated to the work of legal aid. She has been at LAF since 2000, and before that, she worked with Prairie State Legal Services.  With a Masters of Social Work and a JD, she is well-suited to her position as the chair of LAF’s Seniors Task Force, which focuses on maintaining our accessibility to seniors, and increasing our capacity to deal with their particular challenges.  In addition to litigation, she does presentations on many topics, including future planning for the care of child relatives. 
Much of Colleen's legal work focuses on seniors raising children, often grandchildren.  She helps the seniors with guardianships, child welfare, special education advocacy, and family stability.  As she explains, “It’s not automatic that families are functional.  When bureaucratic institutions insert themselves into a family, people often need help getting through those processes.  So I try to make the family stronger than before, so people don’t get lost.”
She told the story of Janet, who was attempting to gain custody of her granddaughter.  It should have been a straightforward case, but everything that could have gone wrong seemed to.  Janet’s daughter, the granddaughter's mother, had been abused as a child, and the perpetrator was never caught.  So when Janet went to probate court to become the legal guardian, that old DCFS report came to light when her background check was done.  Janet was under intense scrutiny on the theory of "there is no smoke without a fire."  Janet's case got bogged down, and though the accusation was not against Janet, the process was traumatic, and she felt demoralized, demeaned, defeated, and violated.  Colleen believes Janet would have walked away from the whole thing, leaving behind her granddaughter, but for the help and support LAF was able to give her.  Because Colleen was there to help Janet navigate the court processes and the DCFS procedures, Janet was able to keep her granddaughter, and that child was able to maintain her relationship with her family.  
Visit the redesigned LAF website!
and check it out!
Contribute to LAF Now!
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Support LAF today with a
tax-deductible donation
A special message
from LAF
Executive Director
Diana C. White
Summer is in full swing here at LAF!  It may be a time of vacations in other offices, but our work pushes on and we're as busy as ever.  
This month, we brought together our summer law student interns and our Young Professionals Board, to thank them for their service to LAF.  Colleen Connolly worked tirelessly to help families of grandparents and their grandchildren through their legal problems.  Dennericka Brooks helped Dawn and her family find a home in the face of eviction and homelessness.  And we're preparing for our fourth annual Golf Outing, coming up this fall.  You can get your tickets for that event here, and don't forget your raffle tickets!
You can keep up with our work on Facebook and our new blog, and, you can support the work LAF is doing every day to help the most vulnerable people in our community.  Your investment in us is an investment in people who get clients back on their feet by providing first-rate legal help.
Diana C. White
LAF Executive Director
Visit the redesigned LAF website!
Go to www.lafchicago.org and check it out!
Contribute to LAF Now!
Donate Button
Support LAF today with a tax-deductible donation
Get Your Tickets Now for LAF's 
Fourth Annual Golf Outing
Join us at the Chicago Highlands club on September 9th, 2013!
Get Your Tickets Today!
LAF Fourth Annual Golf Outing
Monday, September 9, 2013
Chicago Highlands Club, Westchester, IL
10:30 Registration - 11:00 Lunch - 12:00 Start
The early bird gets the worm...and the tee time!  We are offering special Early Bird pricing on golf foursomes and individual tickets until July 31: $250 per ticket and $1,000 per foursome.  Prices increase on August 1, 2013 so don't delay - get your tickets and sponsorships today by clicking here!  
We are also introducing a Best Ball Format, where the top two scores for each foursome will count towards the team's score. This new format will enable golfers to experience full play at this magnificent course!  
And Don't Forget Your Raffle Tickets!  Our Grand Prize winner will enjoy one week at a private Condo in Maui, plus receive $1000 towards airfare, and golf plus dinner for two!  The Grand Prize Drawing will be held November 2013.  Winners need not be present to win.
Summer Intern Networking Reception 
McDermott Will & Emery and LAF's Young Professionals Board hosts Summer Interns 
On Tuesday, July 16th, the Outreach Committee of the LAF Young Professionals Board hosted a special reception at McDermott Will & Emery  for LAF law students and interns to thank them for their service to LAF. 
Todd Solomon,a partner at McDermott Will & Emery, and a member of the LAF Governing Board, spoke powerfully about the importance of engaging in pro bono work, and the obligation of the private bar to support legal aid.  He encouraged the guests to keep agencies like LAF in mind when they have settled into their practice, noting how critical it is to support legal aid not just with hours but with dollars as well.
A special thank you to the Reception Co-Chairs Megan Thibert-Ind and Erica Gholson, of McDermott Will & Emery, for hosting this year’s festivities.  
A family threatened with 
homelessness makes a new start
LAF's Dennericka Brooks takes on a landlord's devious schemes 
Dawn was living a relatively normal life with her disabled husband and their children, the oldest of whom is a football player already being recruited by colleges and offered scholarships -- when everything fell apart.  They had a Cook County Housing Choice Voucher and were all set to move into a new home in Oak Lawn, when her landlord told her, in remarks laced with racial slurs, that he was no longer willing to rent to her. 
Threatened with homelessness, the family managed to move into the new home, but the landlord set about spreading rumors about Dawn and her children in the neighborhood and at the children’s school.  Unbeknownst to Dawn, the landlord had never submitted his paperwork to the Housing Authority to receive the subsidy payment he was entitled to.  After a few short months, the landlord filed an eviction against Dawn and her family for failing to pay the full market rent on the home.  If they were evicted, they would be disqualified from the Housing Voucher program and have their voucher terminated.  They would have lost the ability to purchase a home, under another special program for certain voucher holders. 
Dennericka Brooks, DLA Piper, and LAF took the case.  Dennericka got the eviction dismissed, and pro bono partners at DLA Piper helped Dawn and her family close on a new home under the special program.  Now they are back to living happily -- just down the street from Dennericka! 
Visit the redesigned LAF website!
Go to www.lafchicago.org and check it out!
Contribute to LAF Now!
Donate Button
Support LAF today with a tax-deductible donation
Each year, LAF impacts 40,000 lives by providing free legal help to resolve issues like domestic violence, consumer fraud, and unfair evictions. We make equal justice a reality and get people back on track.  We rely on private donations to fulfill our mission.
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