We’ve been celebrating National Volunteer Appreciation Week on Facebook by sharing old stories from the blog about some of our best and hardest-working volunteers. This month, we shared a new story about a volunteer attorney named Tim Fox, who is always committed to going “Above and Beyond” for our clients. We then met a recent employee of the Clinic, Jim Floyd, who started out as a volunteer for the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic.
March Madness Brackets-for-Good style was full tilt this year! #TeamJustice made it to the Supported Sixteen for the first time thanks to your generous support! During the Clinic’s 3-week run, we raised more than ever to provide free legal services to our low-income neighbors: $35,004! If you missed a chance to support us during this competitive-giving tournament, you can still donate to the Clinic here. And don’t forget to check out our Brackets-for-Good playlist to watch the videos we released each week!
This April, we explored the idea of Abundant Wisdom, with Chris providing our introduction at the beginning of the month. We then took an especially close look at how wisdom applies to financial matters. We learned more about our Building Wealth program and about what to do if you get an examination letter back from the IRS. We also met a woman who was given a second chance thanks to the hard work of Project GRACE.
Over the years, things started looking up for Debra and she was eventually able to turn her life around. She found a job. She got married and then had two children, leaving her old life decades behind her. In fact, when she came to our office seeking assistance with sealing her criminal record, Project GRACE staff attorney, Carlton Martin, says, “She had not committed a crime in almost 20 years.”
Looking for a fun way to get your family involved in helping the community? Head out to Broad Ripple Ice Cream Station on Thursday, April 21st to support the Clinic! BRICS has generously agreed to donate 10% of each sale on that day so that more of your low-income neighbors can have access to justice. There’s nothing better than ice cream and social justice! We hope to see you there! In the meantime, whet your appetite by perusing their menu.
When someone faces an issue with the IRS, Dee Dee says, “The first thing we have to do is get them in filing compliance so they can access some of the programs that the IRS has to deal with what you owe.” Ultimately, the cost of not resolving these issues can be very high. “Sometimes we’ve found out when someone owed and then didn’t file for years, it was actually erroneous and by not filing they didn’t get refunds that they could have gotten.”
Ultimately, Lisa was surprised by how much she learned, although originally she was hesitant to participate in the Building Wealth program. She says, “I felt like I had a lot of advantages that I had squandered and here I am in this situation.” She admits to feeling ashamed of needing help in the first place, but acknowledges her delays in seeking assistance only made her financial recovery that much harder. “The sooner you realize you are about to go off that cliff, you should pick up the phone and call. If you think it’s hard now, it does get worse,” she says. “If you can head it off at the pass, it makes it easier.”
What we fear determines what we worship—worship being what we actually do with our thoughts and emotions and body. If I fear being alone, I will do everything in my power to make sure I have companionship. If I fear not having enough money, I will do whatever it takes to make sure I get and keep all that I can. If I fear what people think of me, then I will do whatever it takes to manage my image. We are fearful-beings; we will fear something. The Bible simply tells us to fear God, the only Being worthy of our fear.
This rainy month of April we spent time ruminating on how our faith compels us to acts of compassion. In lock-step with this theme, the Clinic’s semiannual Refugee Adjustment Day* took place on April 25th. On that day, 24 volunteers from College Park Church (as part of their annual SERVE day), plus 9 additional volunteer attorneys, worked with our staff to help 62 immigrants apply for Legal Permanent Residence. All in one day!