VLP Newsletter | July 2021
VLP Responsive Community Operations
An update from Heidi Lee Henderson, VLP President and Chief Executive Officer
2021 continues to be a year of community, connectivity, and collaboration.

By remaining true to our core values and tapping into our pioneering pro bono model, the VLP has uniquely responded and addressed the needs of vulnerable New Yorkers by launching the VLP COVID-19 Frontline Workers and Probate Initiatives as well developing critical legal and COVID-19 health resources available on our website. We also strengthened our holistic approach by providing virtual outreach and education presentations and topical CLE trainings.

Additionally, at a pivotal time in the VLP’s organizational history, we've expanded for impact, hiring a new development staff member and further advancing board and young professionals board recruitment efforts; growing our advisory board, welcoming James L. Hallowell and Manas Mohapatra; and integrating new opportunities of engagement in VLP programmatic and fundraising activities.

The current economic climate and challenges presented as a result of the global pandemic have intensified the urgent need for civil legal services. We cannot do our work alone

We are grateful to our board, volunteers, and supporters for your steadfast commitment to the VLP and those we serve. Thank you for standing with us in helping to close the justice gap – transforming lives and strengthening communities.
New Developments in Development:
We are excited to share the news of our new hire, Melinda Garcia, who we welcomed to the team in May as the VLP’s development associate. Melinda joins us from the American Thoracic Society where she managed development operations and will be assisting us in similar capacity, playing an integral role in supporting a growing Development Department.
Melinda Garcia, Development Associate

"I've always had an interest in serving the people in my community and connecting my neighbors to resources that can empower them. What originally drew me to the VLP was their COVID-19 Frontline Workers Initiative as many of my family and friends are members of the 1199SEIU. The VLP's initiative is truly an example of an organization doing what they can to give back to a community putting their lives at risk. I am grateful to have the opportunity to join the VLP's Development team and I am looking forward to learning more about the legal needs of Brooklyn residents and sharing the amazing stories and impact that the VLP has had on our neighbors."
Engaging New Leaders: VLP Board & YPB Expansion
VLP board recruitment efforts have continued through 2021 as we seek new members who possess the combined
interests, skills, values, enthusiasm, and dedication needed to fulfill our mission, surpass our organizational goals, and strategically propel us to the next 30 years.

Please give a warm welcome to our recently elected board members:
The VLP’s Young Professionals Board (YPB) was established to support the organization’s board of directors and unites young professionals across the legal and non-legal sectors, motivated to utilize their time, experience, and diverse skill sets in service of the VLP’s mission.

Please give a warm welcome to our recently appointed YPB members:
If you or anyone you know would be interested in joining our board or YPB, please contact 
President and Chief Executive Officer, Heidi Lee Henderson at hhenderson@brooklynvlp.org.
Meet the VLP's Dynamic Summer Interns:
Alex Hyken, Brooklyn Law School, Rising 2L

"I was drawn to the VLP’s mission to provide access to justice within the legal system because I too am committed to advocating for clients from low-income communities. I am looking forward to having direct services experience and applying 1L research and writing skills in a work setting."
John LaRosa, Brooklyn Law School, Prince Scholarship, Rising 2L

"I was interested in interning with the VLP due to the variety of work the organization performs and the marginalized individuals it seeks to help. I'm hoping to gain practical skills in lawyering and be more comfortable interacting with clients by the end of the summer."
Sarah Mucha, Brooklyn Law School, Rising 2L
"I am excited to intern with VLP this summer because I want to apply the knowledge and skills I learned from my one 1L year to real world issues. Most importantly, I hope to advocate and be an ally for those who are often taken advantage of in the legal system."
Rachel Schwartz, Brooklyn Law School, Rising 2L 

"I am excited to spend the summer interning for the VLP as I love working with local communities and individuals. I hope to learn more about how the legal system works on a small scale while also providing help to Brooklyn residents. I am happy to learn about the various types of law practiced at the VLP as well as meeting and helping Brooklynites!" 
VLP & YPB Connect (Virtual Event Series)

On June 16, 2021, VLP Connect hosted a Bourbon and Whiskey Tasting event featuring Esteban Ordonez, principal mixologist and managing partner of International Cocktail Group as our expert guide for the evening.

Thank you to all our sponsors and attendees for their generosity and commitment – raising nearly $15,000, surpassing our $10,000 goal!

Thank you again to our Platinum Sponsor – Lisa Braun, Gold Sponsors – Caroline Conway and Walshe Birney, Adam Shepherd and Leah Campbell; and our Silver Sponsors – Lynn Judell and Steven Wolf, Mark Bibi and Shari Teitelbaum, and Marilyn Weitzman.

And a special thank you to our co-chairs Lynn Judell and Adam Gilbert for making this evening a success!

On March 24, 2021, the VLP Young Professionals Board hosted their inaugural YPB Connect fundraiser. Thank you to our YPB Event Committee co-chairs, Jack Aldrich and Ryan Buffkin for organizing this event and to all supporters who together, raised nearly $8,500!
Thank you to our Platinum Sponsors – Joe Gordon and TSG Reporting, Gold Sponsors – Nancy Karch and Bruce Martin; and Silver Sponsors – Smita and Shyam Dighe, and Sheppard Mullin. We are so grateful for your generosity and commitment to those we serve.

And a big shout out to the talented and hilarious Emily Wilson, comedian and bartender extraordinaire, for the best guided Tequila tasting and margarita mixing adventure!
To learn more about upcoming events and giving campaigns contact
Senior Director of Development & Strategic Initiatives, Melissa Starr at mstarr@brooklynvlp.org.
At our core: VLP Continuing Legal Education 
On March 17, 2021, the VLP hosted a virtual CLE: Advance Healthcare Directives and Upcoming Changes to the NYS Power of Attorney Law presented by Sidney Cherubin, VLP Director of Legal Services along with Rosanna Roizin, Rosanna Roizin Law. Attendees gained valuable knowledge on advance healthcare directives such as healthcare proxies and living wills, and powers of attorney for personal and financial affairs as well as the upcoming changes to the New York State Power of Attorney Law set to take effect on June 13, 2021.

On May 25, 2021, the VLP hosted an additional virtual CLE: The Basics of Uncontested Divorce presented by Sidney Cherubin, VLP Director of Legal Services, and Joanne Reece, VLP Staff Attorney, Family Law. This training covered the basics of uncontested divorce from start to finish, including preparing the paperwork, jurisdiction and grounds for divorce, how to commence the action and complete service, and submission and Entry of Judgment. The training also addressed how Kings County Supreme Court Procedures have changed as a result of COVID-19.

Most recently, on June 15, 2021, the VLP hosted another virtual CLE: Child Support Calculations in Uncontested Divorces presented by Sidney Cherubin, VLP Director of Legal Services, and Joanne Reece, VLP Staff Attorney, Family Law. Attendees reviewed child support calculations when drafting uncontested divorce pleadings and step-by-step instructions for completing the forms.

For more information about upcoming CLE's and additional trainings, please contact 
Pro Bono Director, Anne O'Grady at aogrady@brooklynvlp.org.
Do you or someone you know need legal help? Call the VLP's intake line at
(718) 624-3894 or start an online intake here.
Senior Outreach: Creatively Connecting
From telephonic conference calls to online presentations, our well-respected National Grid Foundation Senior Legal Education and Assistance Program (NGF Senior LEAP) is expanding delivery of information to seniors borough-wide!

On May 10, 2020, VLP Staff Attorney Peter White joined the American Society on Aging for a special ASA Live presentation on "What the End of the Foreclosure Moratorium Could Mean for Older Adults."

On June 24, 2021, the VLP hosted an NGF Senior LEAP Webinar on Wills and Advance Directive presented by Joanne Reece, Staff Attorney, Family Law.

Determined to continue to provide seniors with community-based legal education and ongoing advice and counsel in grave areas of concern, we strengthened partnerships with local senior centers, including Mill Basin Center for Active Adults and Philip Howard NORC, and reimagined delivery of accessible programming amid the pandemic.

For more information or to schedule a presentation, please reach out to VLP Legal Assistant Eloy Ruiz at eruiz@brooklynvlp.org or (718) 473-9207. 
VLP Emergency Response Campaign: Stand with the VLP
During this ongoing global health crisis, the VLP’s services are more essential than ever. As a result of the immediate and increased need for rapid response initiatives and programs, the VLP launched the VLP Emergency Response Campaign in efforts to strengthen organizational capacity through the unrestricted support of generous individual and corporate donors.

Brooklyn Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project | 718-624-3894 | info@brooklynvlp.org | www.brooklynvlp.org