What an Experience!

What an Experience!

Spending Spring Break in Biloxi, MS working with the Mississippi Center for Justice (“MCJ”) has been a great experience. Upon arriving to Biloxi, Mississippi on Sunday evening I was greeted by a beautiful beach view from the hotel with casinos and fine Biloxi dining in walking distance. For an area affected by a natural disaster (Hurricane Katrina) and a man-made Disaster (BP Oil Spill) Biloxi has a lot of great attractions to offer visitors.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Reflecting back on this amazing experience I cannot help but to think that I had the best of both worlds alternative Spring Break experience. From eating great food to evenings after work spent on the beach, but most of all the opportunity to work with MCJ attorneys and staff learning about how the Biloxi residence are still recovering from the impacts of Hurricane Katrina and the BP Oil spill.
On Friday, MCJ held a “Graduation” for the Charlotte Law Students. There, I had a chance to see the work that other students had done throughout the week on their tracks. Listening to student presentations I saw students who greatly appreciated the experience. Students spoke of how great of a guidance their supervising staff had been to them. Likewise, the MCJ staff expressed great appreciation to the students for the work that they had done.
Charlotte Law students have definitely had an impact on the MCJ and the MCJ has had an impact on the students.

-Ronniesha

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What an Experience!

cslprobonoblog:

-Ronniesha Smith

Originally posted on cslprobonoblog:

Spending Spring Break in Biloxi, MS working with the Mississippi Center for Justice (“MCJ”) has been a great experience. Upon arriving to Biloxi, Mississippi on Sunday evening I was greeted by a beautiful beach view from the hotel with casinos and fine Biloxi dining in walking distance. For an area affected by a natural disaster (Hurricane Katrina) and a man-made Disaster (BP Oil Spill) Biloxi has a lot of great attractions to offer visitors.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Reflecting back on this amazing experience I cannot help but to think that I had the best of both worlds alternative Spring Break experience. From eating great food to evenings after work spent on the beach, but most of all the opportunity to work with MCJ attorneys and staff learning about how the Biloxi residence are still recovering from the impacts of Hurricane Katrina and the BP…

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What an Experience!

Spending Spring Break in Biloxi, MS working with the Mississippi Center for Justice (“MCJ”) has been a great experience. Upon arriving to Biloxi, Mississippi on Sunday evening I was greeted by a beautiful beach view from the hotel with casinos and fine Biloxi dining in walking distance. For an area affected by a natural disaster (Hurricane Katrina) and a man-made Disaster (BP Oil Spill) Biloxi has a lot of great attractions to offer visitors.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Reflecting back on this amazing experience I cannot help but to think that I had the best of both worlds alternative Spring Break experience. From eating great food to evenings after work spent on the beach, but most of all the opportunity to work with MCJ attorneys and staff learning about how the Biloxi residence are still recovering from the impacts of Hurricane Katrina and the BP Oil spill.

I was involved with Track 2, which was the education track with efforts to Reopen Nichols Elementary. The Elementary school was closed back in 2010 and since then MCJ along side the Save Our Schools Coalition has been putting forth a great effort to reopen the school.
On Friday, MCJ held a “Graduation” for the Charlotte Law Students. There, I had a chance to see the work that other students had done throughout the week on their tracks. Listening to student presentations I saw students who greatly appreciated the experience. Students spoke of how great of a guidance their supervising staff had been to them. Likewise, the MCJ staff expressed great appreciation to the students for the work that they had done.

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Charlotte Law students have definitely had an impact on the MCJ and the MCJ has had an impact on the students.

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Reflection on my CSL Pro Bono Spring Break Trip 2014 experience

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What an amazing week…hard work but well worth it. Working this week at the Mississippi Center for Justice reminded me of just how rewarding it can be just to know that you are helping others.  I volunteered on Nichols Education track, and the ultimate goals was to collect enough signatures for a petition to get Nichols Elementary School reopen as a school.  Although at times the task at hand seemed daunting, the overall experience was great.  Sometimes it was very encouraging interacting with members of the community that are supportive of the goal; however, other times were less encouraging, like not receiving an answer at a single door on one street. Although my individual impact may be small, hopefully it will be meaningful.  Once the final goal of reopening Nichols comes to fruition, the hard work of so many will be worth it for the children that go on to receive a great education and prosper.  I hope the center continues and expands the endeavors.  It would awesome to look back and know we played a small part in the success of the project.  

 

-Franchel

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HITTING THE PAVEMENT

This week has had a cloud of hopelessness over it when I looked at the final number of petitions needed, around 13,000, compared to the about 500 signatures that have been collected so far. This feeling at first overtook me when going out door to door to convenience citizens of Biloxi that this is something they should believe in. As we went house to house with either no one at home, being run away from, or getting a flat no that feeling started to grow. But, then you get the people like Mr. Kettering who when I talked with him today I was able to give him information about what is actually going on because he didn’t know that the school issue hadn’t been resolved yet. Its meeting and talking to citizens that puts a sense of hope that, even slowly person by person, we are making a difference in the community.

The people we meet each day out of the streets are the ones that we are doing this for it’s the people of Biloxi that were screwed over by the closing of Nichols School. They deserve their brand new school to be open and used whether as a high school, middle school, or elementary school. After paying so much money to build the school and the costs every day to maintain the up keep for the building it should be reopened and used for its intended purpose. This sentiment has been matched by every person that I have met and talked with this week

It’s this hope by the people we have met that have kept my spirits up this week and kept us moving along house to house, street to street.

Jessica

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Last Hours in Biloxi

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Wow. What a great week we have had thus far. Trying to put this experience into words is a difficult task, but let’s see if I can try to sum up this rewarding opportunity. 

As we branched off into our different tracks, I had the opportunity to work with the BP oil spill/explosion recovery where I was tasked with several interesting duties. While reviewing medical claim forms from victims of the BP oil spill, some of whom were clean up workers or residents near the explosion and were exposed to the chemicals, it opened up my eyes to the real effects of the disaster. While watching the news about the spill, you don’t really see or feel its true effects until you are actually in that place of disaster or work with individuals that were affected. Being able to review these medical claims and see the damage that was done made me work even harder to help get these claims filed to ensure that the victims get the justice and closure that they deserve. This week I have also had the opportunity of interviewing two clients and taking steps to successfully file several claims that have been pending for over four years now since the blast. Working on this track has been a very rewarding experience and I feel a sense of accomplishment in working on these claims for a disaster that is a piece of history. I now feel a part of that history. 

Outside of the office has also been a very exciting time, as we have all had the chance to explore Biloxi and try new things. I was able to have my first crawfish experience, eat authentic Thai food as the Vietnamese culture is prevalent here, and watch the sunrise and sunset on the beach. Walking along the gulf coast, trying new restaurants, and just simply talking with the locals has been an experience I will never forget. I have made so many new friends on this trip, experienced new things, and have had the chance to work under the supervision of two great attorneys and give back to the community. I truly have enjoyed and am thankful for this opportunity to help serve the underserved!

-Erin 

 

 

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Sunset on Biloxi

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We arrived at the Mississippi Center for Justice on Monday morning, and no one was quite sure what to expect.  I know, for me, a million unknown thoughts swirled through my head: “what will our supervising attorneys be like”; “am I really skilled enough to be doing legal work”; “I wonder if we will get to meet any clients”; “how much time are we really going to get to spend on the beach”.  Even though, by 1:15pm on that very same day, there we all were: working through whatever tasks we were assigned, and trying our hardest not to continuously bombard the attorneys with our questions.  

For the most part, everyone quickly regained their footing.  We have discovered that our supervising attorneys are not only fun people, but they are also amazingly passionate about the work that they do.  There is not a single person I have worked with at the MCJ that has not been inspiring in the passion they give to their work.  In fact, at times it’s a little intimidating.  I can only hope that, when I am a practicing attorney, I will continue to be as passionate as these people are, and that I will find an area of law that will bring that out in me every day.

Beyond everything else, however, are the people.  In my track, almost every student has met with at least one client throughout the week.  In fact, some of us met with them very early in the week, causing terror in us law students who have not dealt with anything more lively than a casebook yet.  I think it’s very easy in law school to forget that legal work is all about the people affected.  The cases that we read become impersonal data that we store away, and work so hard to remember the day of a test.  We forget that these cases were simply about people, and it has been amazing to experience people this week.

As I look forward to tomorrow, our last day in Biloxi, I am overwhelmed.  First, because this has been an extremely intense week of work and I am overwhelmingly exhausted, but also because this has been an absolutely brilliant experience and I am overwhelmingly grateful.  I will be sad to see the sun set on our trip in Biloxi, but will take back an amazing amount of knowledge and some really amazing memories.

Thank you Biloxi.

Amanda.

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