Service

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2018 Justice Games Congeniality Trophy

Outreach activities are an integral part of every successful Inn and The American Inns of Court encourages these ideals.

For the first time ever, the Justice Games will award a Congeniality Trophy to the Inn that exemplifies these ideals and gives the most back to our community.  Our charitable beneficiaries this year are Lockhart Elementary School, Shriners Hospitals for Children, and Bay Area Legal Services.  To win the Congeniality trophy, Inns will collect school supplies in a Bankers Box challenge for the students of Lockhart Elementary which has merged with Lee Elementary due to a fire at Lee, bring soda can pop tabs for the Shriner’s Hospital, and sign up for volunteer service with Bay Area Legal Services at the Justice Games.

Completing each charitable challenge will earn Inns outreach points.  The Inn with the most outreach points will be awarded the coveted 2018 Congeniality Trophy.  Information on the charitable organizations and details on each challenge can be found below.

 


One of the charitable beneficiaries of his year’s justice games is Lee Elementary School, which was consumed by flames late last year.  Here is an article from the Tampa Bay Times, which has more information on why this charitable effort is so important:

Flames consume Robert E. Lee Elementary in Tampa Heights

By: Ben Montgomery, Dan Sullivan, and Marlene Sokol

September 13, 2017

TAMPA- Robert E. Lee Elementary School is no more.

The oldest magnet school in Hillsborough County, which some school board members were trying to rename as part of a nationwide movement to remove Confederate symbols, burned down on Tuesday night as hundreds of residents watched and children cried.

“Lord have mercy, Jesus,” said Erica Claitt, whose 9-year-old niece attended the school until recently. “It’s a historical school.”

The school at 305 E Columbus Dr. was built in 1906 and was now called the Lee Elementary Magnet School of World Studies and Technology. Its 330 students and 49 staffers haven’t been in school this week because all Hillsborough County schools were closed in advance of Hurricane Irma.

The school was not used as a shelter during Irma, which residents said knocked out power in the surrounding neighborhoods. Power was restored Tuesday evening, residents said, then they saw smoke coming from the roof and fire engines racing in.

The fire was reported at 6:46 p.m., and firefighters were on scene five minutes later. The neighborhoods soon lost power again.

Crowds gathered for blocks around and watched firefighters try to tamp down the blaze from afar. They set up three water cannons on the ground and used ladder trucks to aim two more from above.

Flames could be seen shooting out of the second floor windows of the three-story building as streams of water were poured onto the crumbling roof, which was brand-new. The building also has hardwood floors, adding to the kindling.

“I’m in awe,” said Bia Harris, who was house-sitting for a friend across Columbus Drive. “It’s incredible. Devastating, but incredible.”

Tampa Fire Rescue spokesman Jason Penny said the first firefighters to arrive quickly called in more units.

“When firefighters arrived, they found heavy smoke and flames coming out of the north side roof of the building,” he said. “They started fighting the fire and the incident commander immediately decided that they needed to call a second alarm to bring in more units – in particular, aerial units, because this is a three-story, brick building.”

More fire units responded. But then the roof collapsed on the northeast side of the building, and the incident commander decided to pull back the firefighters and go into “defensive” mode to contain the blaze.

Penny said the fire did not appear to be suspicious, but the investigation had not yet started.

Tarance LeNoir, a teacher and a candidate last year for Hillsborough County School Board, was among those watching the blaze.

“I’m just concerned about all the children,” he said. “They already missed school (for Hurricane Irma) and now they’ll have to be displaced again.”

The fire began a few hours after district leaders, who had hoped to reopen schools this week, decided they couldn’t be ready until Monday. Now, on top of restarting classes for the nation’s eighth-largest school district, they will need to figure out where to send Lee’s students.

“We have investigators on scene, the fire marshal,” Penny said, “but I want to make something very, very clear – because I know that in our atmosphere this can be contentious – but indications now have nothing to do with the name of this school.”

For more information, please see:  http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/fire/firefighters-battling-to-save-robert-e-lee-elementary-in-tampa-heights/2337254 


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The other charitable beneficiary is the Shriners Hospitals for Children.  Shriners Hospitals for Children is a health care system of twenty-two hospitals dedicated to improving the lives of children by providing specialty pediatric care, innovative research, and outstanding teaching programs.  Children up to the age of 18 with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate are eligible for admission.  There is only one admissions criterion: Whether there is a reasonable possibility that the child can benefit from the services available. Acceptance is based solely on the child’s medical need; ability to pay is not a factor.

The Shriners Hospitals for Children collect and recycle the tabs from aluminum beverage cans.  How the proceeds are used varies regionally, but in all cases, 100% of the proceeds goes toward the purchase of medical and/or non-medical supplies that are used for the care of the children who are being treated at Shriners Hospitals.

Besides being much easier to collect and to transport than the entire can (a pound of tabs obviously occupies a much smaller space than a pound of cans), there is an economic advantage in that the tab is the only pure aluminum part of the can (the body of a typical aluminum beverage can is painted on the outside and is coated with plastic on the inside, so recycling the tab by itself is more efficient).  As a result, the salvage price per pound is a bit more.  The recycling company used by the Shriners in Florida donates an additional 50 cents to the Shriners Hospitals for every dollar’s worth of tabs turned in to one of its facilities.  After removing the tab, the can may still be recycled, of course.  This is a big deal in states that require a deposit on cans because the can may still be returned for the full amount of the deposit, even with the tab removed.  This doesn’t apply to us in Florida, of course, but it’s pretty nifty to know.

Tabs are collected by individuals, church groups, youth groups, schools, business, and the Tampa Bay Area Inns of Court.  The program is nationwide.  It’s easy to do, doesn’t cost the donor any money or much time, anybody can do it, and the Shriners Hospitals have more money than they would have had if the program didn’t exist.

So, we are asking each Inn to collect as many aluminum can tops as possible, and bring them to the Justice Games.  Remember, not only will the team with the most can tops win extra points for their Inn, but the tops themselves will go towards a great cause.


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Bay Area Legal Services is a law firm, with skilled, professional attorneys whose objective is helping the most vulnerable members of our community. We protect foster kids from abuse, give veterans access to mental and physical health benefits, protect seniors from scam artists and abusive family members, and ensure domestic violence victims have the legal protections they need to flee their abusers. Our clients do not have the income to hire private attorneys. In a complicated world of legalese, our attorneys provide hope, support, comfort and knowledge based representation to those most in need.

Our work contributes to the economic improvement of our community by achieving monetary gains for our clients, avoiding costly actions such as foreclosures and helping the Florida court system to function more efficiently. Our Judge Don Castor Community Law Center provides advice and transactional legal assistance to local nonprofits, thus sustaining our partners who serve low income residents.
We receive over 60,000 calls requesting services each year, but sadly, we are only able to help about 17,000 clients. This is where you come in. Bay Area has several opportunities to get involved.

No matter what type of law you practice, there is a place for you to give back. The first thing to do is sign up through our Bay Area Volunteer Lawyers Program (BAVLP) at https://www.bals.org/pro-bono-registration. The BAVLP can help you choose a volunteer opportunity that suits your interests, skills, and availability. Whether you are a litigator or a transactional attorney, a new or experienced attorney, or an attorney with limited time to volunteer, there is a pro bono project that is right for you.

For more information, view the BAVLOP Program Flyer.