This month’s client story was written by one of our new volunteers, Nam Mee Cho. After three weeks in the office, she writes:
The lasting impact of Just Neighbors’ work is evidenced by our clients’ multi-layered success stories. Following is an example of how our services to an underserved, extremely indigent population have triggered economic security for many more.
Ms. S was an immigrant victim of crime who came to Just Neighbors with little to no means of support upon leaving her abusive husband. Just Neighbors attorneys helped Ms. S obtain a U visa and employment authorization, which enabled her to lawfully work a minimum wage job with benefits that provided just enough means to keep her from falling back for support from her abuser.
Three years later, Just Neighbors is providing legal representation for Ms. S’s application for a green card (Lawful Permanent Residence) and has learned that she and her children are thriving. Ms. S states that she is in the beginning stages of starting her own cleaning business and that she has been granted a business license, obtained insurance, and hired workers. With employment authorization obtained through Just Neighbors, Ms. S came out of the shadows where so many indigent immigrants exist and was able to work for a legal minimum wage with labor rights and benefits.
Now, Ms. S is herself employing other needy persons and providing them the means to begin to change their lives. She is contributing to the community by paying wages, taxes, permit fees, and insurance. No longer fearful of the government because of the specter of deportation, Ms. S is becoming a productive member of society and engaging with civic and local authorities in a way not probable before she obtained legal services from Just Neighbors.
Such experiences inform our clients’ views that they can be in control of their destiny and the economic future of their families and communities. The trickle down effects of this confidence are clear, and equally apparent is the contention that this process is possible because of the successful initial assistance by Just Neighbors. By committing to helping only the very poorest in our community, Just Neighbors is privy to experiencing the greatest rewards.