Tidbits and Thoughts . . .  Legal Aid's Online  News
March 2, 2016
Did You Know?
Elderly clients in Kahuku have named a bush after Legal Aid's Fair Housing Civil Rights Advocate,  Madonna Castro Perez  after she got one of their Reasonable Accommodation
Requests approved. 
"Building a Just Society"
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Legal Aid helps mother regain SSI benefits for daughter
SSI assessed an overpayment against a young mother and her 3 year old daughter who was born with Down syndrome. With the help of Paula Boyer from the Kona Legal Aid office, the case went to a hearing before a judge and the mother was issued a fully favorable decision. The entire overpayment was waived as the judge considered the mistake wasn't their fault and reinstated the daughter's full SSI.

Before I came to legal aid I didn't really know what to do about our situation. I tried writing a letter to the SSI office asking for an appeal but other than doing that I didn't know what my options were or who to talk to who could help. 
Legal Aid helped me file all the necessary paperwork and gather all the proper documentation that was needed for my case. 
With Legal Aid's help I was able to go to court and submit my case to the judge. He looked at all the evidence and ruled in our favor!
What I want people to know about a legal aid is that they are a group that is there to help. Especially when legal representation can be so costly, they provided the representation that we so desperately needed. Our Legal Aid rep Paula Boyer was caring and knowledgeable. Even though I know she had many cases and people to represent, I always felt like we were the number one priority when we were in her office. I am so thankful for the help we received through the Legal Aid Society! 
Legal Aid Executive Director honored by Hawaii Business as part of 20 for the Next 20

Congratulations to Legal Aid's Executive Director, M. Nalani Fujimori Kaina for being named to Hawaii Business magazine's 20 for the Next 20. The magazine recognizes 20 distinguished leaders poised to influence and significantly impact Hawaii for the coming decade.
Congratulations to the recipients of Legal Aid's Po'okela Awards
Ahuwale ka po'okela I kāu hana iā ha'i
"It is through the way you serve others that your greatness will be felt."

The Legal Aid Society of Hawai'i's Po'okela Awa rds recognizes the exceptional performance of its staff members. Po'okela is not easily translated, but in essence it means outstanding and being at one's best. 
Glenn Carvalho
Hilo Paralegal-GA-SSI

"Glenn is truly the "uncle" of the Hilo office. He is dependable, resourceful, creative and a true team player.  His dedication not only to his clients and LASH, but also to the numerous community boards and organizations in which he participates define him as a superb advocate."
Susan Chon
HNL Paralegal-Family 

"Susan is deserving of special recognition due to her exceptional work ethic.   She runs the scheduling for the Court Assistance Project, she answers questions for Intake, and she is our resident expert on posting notice as well as a notary."
 Barbara Glesener
Leeward Oahu Paralegal-Social Security

"I have observed how patient and empathetic she is with her clients.  Some of her clients are in such dire situations:  they are disabled and distressed and have no one to turn to or who will listen to them.  They are very anxious and stressed.  Barbara listens to them and makes them feel better."
 Anne Reynolds
HNL Paralegal GA-SSI

"Most GA-SSI advocates carry 60 - 90 cases, with certain offices having a higher number of clients, including Honolulu, Leeward, and Big Island. During this time period, the GA-SSI program experienced an unexpected and drastic loss of advocates . . . . She and the other advocate in Honolulu had to absorb those cases, in addition to their own.  While it was an expected part of her job duties to receive the transferred cases, Anne actually volunteered to take more than her alloted share of the transferred cases."
Michelle Horton
Windward Oahu AmeriCorps Advocate

"She is extremely patient with her clients and they seem to appreciate her very much. Michelle has really blossomed in her work in the last six months becoming quite experienced in the family law area.  She is not afraid to take on new and different work and recently has done extensive work in the area of Social Security overpayments, in one case working effectively to get a $10,000 overpayment reduced to $3000."
Sarah Robert
HNL Accounting

"From mid-November through December, Sarah did double duty in accounting due to [staff absence and departure] from the organization in mid-December. Sarah continues to do a great job and help the organization beyond her normal duties."
Alex McFarr
HNL Intake Paralegal

"Alex is one of the top five individuals of hundreds I have supervised, mentored, taught or counseled in my career.  His ability to identify legal issues would make even the most feared law school professor proud.  Daily legal aid employees are challenged with managing client expectations and this is particularly true on intake.  Alex goes out of his was to make a client feel heard and respected even when he has to tell a caller they have no legal issue or that we cannot provide assistance."
In the Community

AmeriCorps Advocates Cheryl Bellisario, Makana Gomes, and Ka Lā (Makana's dog) Pause for Paws Outreach at Campbell High School in Ewa Beach on Oahu.