Tidbits and Thoughts . . .  Legal Aid's Online  News
November 23, 2016
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Dear Legal Aid, 
Before I came to Legal Aid I was terrified and scared with no help to turn to.  I had no understanding about the law.  I was dealing with domestic violence issues and I had so many questions to ask. I was being threatened by my baby's father that he would make me get arrested for kidnapping our baby if I would leave him.  The issues at home became unbearable and unsafe for my children and I was forced to leave the house.  We were very lucky and received support and housing from the domestic violence shelter.  However the threats from my ex-boyfriend did not end. I urgently needed legal help. 
Legal Aid helped to go through the custody trial which I would never be able to go by myself.  The amount of stress already put on me, living in the domestic violence shelter, and taking care of two children as a single mom including a one year old baby at the time.  It was way too much for me to deal with legal issues on my own. 
Due to legal Aid's help I was going through a one and half year custody battle with a successful outcome.  What I most appreciate is that I was not getting only legal help but the whole complex of support including emotional encouragement.  

I truly appreciate this service.  As a single mother and domestic violence victim, especially when a child is really small my choices were very limited.  Legal Aid gave me an equal opportunity to stand for my rights.  During this difficult time and especially financially I was able to go through the trial and continue to raise my children in a nurturing and safe environment.  I'm still very grateful to Legal Aid for everything they've done for me during my challenging times with  special thanks to Stacia Silva and her Kaneohe team.

Legal Aid helps residents apply for health insurance through Health Insurance Marketplace

The Health Insurance Marketplace is open for business.  Legal Aid's new managing attorney for Community Engagement  Connie Liu is working together with staff members  Jojo Peter Sepe Mongkeya Sereny Cholymay Aloma Nelson , and  Cinder Sonis to help people sign up for health insurance. 

Thank you to Olelo Community Media for their assistance in recording a public service announcement for the  Health Insurance Marketplace.

Legal Aid honors Access to Justice Room volunteer at Pro Bono Celebration 

Photo credit: Hawaii State Judiciary
L-R: Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, Representative Della Au Belatti, Arlette Harada, Legal Aid Executive Director M. Nalani Fujimori Kaina, and Justice Michael Wilson.

Legal Aid honored Access to Justice Room volunteer attorney Arlette Harada at this year's Pro Bono Celebration held at the Hawaii Supreme Court. The Honolulu District Court Access to Justice Room marked 4 years last August and over 350 attorneys have volunteered since then. Arlette has the special distinction of having volunteered for the most shifts, volunteering 54 times since taking her first shift in 2012 and is the first to break over 100 hours of service. Arlette serves as Of Counsel at Ekimoto & Morris, and has concentrated her practice in the areas of collection/foreclosure, creditor representation in bankruptcy and covenant enforcement. 
Throughout her time volunteering, Arlette has worked closely with the AmeriCorps advocates that help staff the room.  One AmeriCorps member, Cynthia Cuestas wrote this about Arlette: 
I enjoy working with Arlette whenever she is scheduled at the Access to Justice Room. She always goes out of her way to help clients, sometimes even staying a bit over her scheduled shift to help more people. I am definitely grateful for her willingness to help those who are in need of legal help and direction. She's just a great person to work with.

Legal Aid attorneys part of law school panel on disability law

Photo credit: Charlotte Mukai

Legal Aid staff attorneys Connie Liu (managing attorney for community engagement) and Christilei Hessler (Fair Housing attorney) joined a panel discussion on "Perspectives From the Field: Disability Law In Action" at the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law. 

Connie and Christi joined Louis Erteschik (Hawaii Disability Rights Center) and Dr. Patricia Morrissey (UH Center on Disability Studies) in discussing this area of law with students and the community. The panel was moderated by William Mihalke (UH Center on Disability Studies).

You shop. Amazon gives. 

If you plan on doing any online shopping this week, please remember to use AmazonSmile at smile.amazon.com. 
Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice (Legal Aid Society of Hawaii) at no cost to you.
Giving Tuesday-A Global Day of Giving

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.
Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. 
Please share and encourage others to give back by volunteering or by making a donation to the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii. Click to donate today!
In the Community

Legal Aid's Fair Housing Enforcement Program staff Shea Henson, Marissa Okazaki, and Christilei Hessler provide legal information at this year's Pride Parade outreach.

Legal Aid's Director of External Relations, Sergio Alcubilla at the Footsteps to Transition Fair on Oahu.