Tidbits and Thoughts . . .  Legal Aid's Online  News
August 19, 2015
In Observance of Statehood Day, August 21, 2015
Did you know . . .
Ka Lae
, Hawaii is the southernmost point in the 50 states and Nā'ālehu, Hawaii is the southernmost town in the 50 states.

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HIJC at Legal Aid Bowling for Freedom Fundraiser for the Iijima Fellow and Marin Scholar a success
HIJC Staff Attorney Jennifer Jung with former Iijima Fellow Kelly Morikone, 
Ashley Labasan, and Stella Shimamoto

With comments from participants, like it was "fun!", a "good time" and a "nice event once again", HIJC at Legal Aid and supporters just finished bowling their way through the 7th Annual Bowling for Freedom fundraiser.  Strikes or gutter balls, it didn't matter what we bowled as we all enjoyed the lively bowling and ono food in the company of friends.

The event raises money for a law student as a summer law clerk, our Iijima Fellow, and for scholarship funds for a Leni Marin Scholar.   The fellowship is a commemoration of Chris Iijima, a professor at the law school, active in the Pre-Admission program to assure that all Hawaii residents have an equal opportunity to enter the challenging curriculum of law school by easing them into school with preparatory classes.  He was also in a folk rock group, the Yellow Pearl, noted for its album, A Grain of Sand: Music for the Struggle  by Asians in America .  

The scholarship honors Leni Marin, formerly of the Asian and Pacific Islander Institute for Domestic Violence, nationally recognized for her outreach to immigrant populations.  With these funds, HIJC at Legal Aid can prepare these students for outreach and advocacy in public service work with immigrants and other under-served populations in our community, and help them understand the importance of accessibility in delivering legal services, in all its forms: physical, cultural and linguistic.  Former Iijima fellows include Wayne Tanaka, Jade Wong, Kelly Morikone, Lindsey Kukona, Sarah Miller, and Nadine Ortega.  Present recipient Rochelle Sugawa says, "My experience at HIJC as a Chris Iijima Fellow is unlike anything I have experienced in my law school classes. I'm receiving practical legal training, which is not emphasized in the traditional law school curriculum, and I have experienced how immigration law intersects with other areas of law such as criminal law, family law, and military law.  Through our work with domestic violence and trafficking victims, I now also appreciate the importance of collaboration with various governmental and non-governmental agencies and organizations. . . I am extremely grateful for this opportunity to give back to my community and will definitely take what I have learned at HIJC with me throughout my career.  "

The bowlers are eagerly awaiting the next event.  We invite you to join us for "good times," good food, and good company for a good cause!

And special thanks to the Hawaii chapter of American Immigration Lawyers Association ("HAILA") for their generous donation to the Chris Iijima Fellowship. Connecting our Fellows with HAILA is an important step in expanding practical justice for our immigrant communities.  HAILA equips members to be competent and professionally responsible attorneys on relevant immigration issues impacting our nation and local communities.

HIJC Bowling for Freedom 2015

Legal Aid at the 8th Annual Hawaii Conference on Language Access
Joanne Loeak, outreach advocate at Legal Aid's Hawaii Immigrant Justice Center (HIJC) was part of a panel discussion on  Service Providers and Effective Outreach to COFA Residents at this year's 8th Annual Hawaii Conference on Language Access sponsored by the Office of Language Access. The conference explored the challenges to achieving language access and social justice for Hawaii's residents from the Compact of Free Association (COFA) states.

Joanne Loeak, HIJC outreach advocate
Regarding Joanne's presentation, one attendee wrote, " It was one of the most informative ones with practical substance and recommendations among all the rest from our community."
Legal Aid welcomes visiting attorney from Sri Lanka 

Legal Aid welcomed Nishanthi Thangavel, from the Legal Aid Commission of Sri Lanka as part of the 2015 Changing Faces Women's Leadership Seminar  funded by the East-West Center. 
The seminar is a 12-day immersive, leadership and professional development seminar designed for innovative women entrepreneurs from Asia, the Pacific, and the United States to enhance their leadership skills and entrepreneurial capacity.  One way the program seeks to e nhance the leadership skills of innovative women is through facilitated community site visits. 
Ms. Thangavel spent nearly two weeks at the Honolulu office under the guidance of Legal Aid's Executive Director, M. Nalani Fujimori Kaina. Ms. Thangavel observed family court proceedings, visited court self-help centers, and learned more about poverty law and the U.S. legal system.
Legal Aid's Director of Professional Development & Compliance Angela Lovitt with Nishanthi Thangavel from the Legal Aid Commission of Sri Lanka. 
Legal Aid's AmeriCorps program completes another successful year!

Congratulations to the 2014-2015 AmeriCorps Members for another successful year! Legal Aid AmeriCorps members staffed statewide court self help centers, helped advocate for clients at the Center for Equal Justice, and did outreach and education for homeless and vulnerable groups in our community. Many AmeriCorps members have chosen to stay another year while some will continue on to law school and other endeavors. 

Thank you for your service!
(Back L-R): Makanalani Gomes, Michelle Horton, Shea Henson, Nicolette Trevenen
(Front L-R): Janessa Maddox, Kara Doles, Angela Lovitt (Legal Aid AmeriCorps Program Director)
Legal Aid staff recognized for excellence
The Pookela Awards are chosen to recognize Legal Aid staff members who have gone above and beyond to help our clients through the legal system. Nominated by their colleagues, staff members who received the award this quarter were:

Stacey Casco, Maui Office/Seniors
"Stacey is awesome with her clients but this one particular client stands out in my mind. This client is really trying hard to do things herself but always seem to stumble on a roadblock. Stacey has assisted this client by contacting her doctors, and finding out why her knee surgery has been put off. She has advocated for her client with everything she has. Stacey has continuously helped this client by driving out to Lahaina on her own time and meeting with her, . . . driving to Lahaina on a Sunday to drive her client to the airport so that her client can fly out to Oahu to do her surgery. Client had surgery done and seems to be doing well. Stacey is a very caring person and is amazing at what she does."

John Kaaihue, Honolulu Office/Homeless Outreach
"John has graciously and patiently taken on over four score social security clients originally assigned to the Leeward Oahu office.  As the CYRCA referrals continued to flow in to the office . . . John agreed to take on the work in addition to his homeless outreach duties.  We at the Leeward Oahu office thank John for his generosity of time."

Joanne Loeak, Hawaii Immigrant Justice Center/Domestic Violence, COFA Outreach
"Joanne has made much progress in her position as an outreach paralegal for domestic violence victims.  She takes the responsibility of outreach to her community, the Marshallese, and the education of the public about her community, very seriously. A recent example of this was the success of Marshallese Education Day. We brainstorm almost weekly of new places to go and new people to meet. She has spread her outreach territory from Kuhio Park Terrace to Palolo Housing and is always looking for more locations. She regularly visits homeless encampments in the late afternoon and evening, the best time to meet people. She is very empathetic to the people she meets at outreach, who readily become clients; she strives to provide them competent advocacy, supervised by an attorney."

Joni Domingues, Honolulu Office/Consumer Unit
"In addition to handing her cases with poise and excellence, Joni has been supporting other staff members in the Asset Protection Unit, can and will help in any cases when needed, and is now spearheading Legal Aid's efforts around helping students affected by the Heald College closing.  The closing of the trade school . . . potentially affect thousands of students in Hawaii and potentially millions in student loan debt. However, this is not an area anyone at LASH has practiced in many years.  Joni has led the efforts to learn about the available remedies for these students to discharge their student loans and pursue claims in the school's bankruptcy.  She has also organized and is leading a team to address our strategies for how we will serve clients, get the word out to potential clients, and networking with mainland legal service providers.  No one had to tell or ask Joni to make these extra efforts. She saw the need and she stepped up with determination, grace and excellence."  
Thank you to our summer law clerks and volunteers! 

(L-R) Kiel Rice, Elliot Wall, Rochelle Sugawa, Caitlin Hatakeyama, Laurie Gardner

A big thank you to our 2015 summer law clerks and volunteers for all their hard work! Our law clerks and volunteers helped with legal research and memos, worked on access to justice projects, interviewed clients, and were a big help to our management staff and attorneys. 

Thank you to our summer law clerks and law volunteers:
Chantrelle Wai'alae, 2L Richardson: Leeward Office
Elliott Wall, 2L Richardson: Honolulu Fair Housing Office 
Laurie Gardner, 1L Richardson: Honolulu Family Unit 
(former AmeriCorps member at our Honolulu District Court Self-Help Center)
Charlotte Mukai, 1L Richardson:  Honolulu Public Benefits
Rochelle Sugawa, 1L Richardson: HIJC at Legal Aid
Mark Haines, 2L Richardson: Honolulu Family Unit Volunteer
Evan Fu, 1L Richardson: Honolulu Volunteer

Thank you to our summer volunteers:
Bennett Wong
Alyssa Garcia
Kayla Caliboso
Kiel Rice
Caitlin Hatakeyama 
Yun Kim