Update from the Miami-Dade County

Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers

The Back-To-School Supply Drive, co-sponsored by Miami-Dade FAWL and the Dade County Bar Association (“DCBA”) was a great success!  The month-long drive benefitted hundreds of underprivileged students in Miami-Dade County, collecting more than $10,000 worth of donations and supplies with the support of the local legal community.  The drive was spearheaded by MDFAWL member Latoya Brown, with the help and support of MDFAWL director Stephanie A. Casey, MDFAWL member Ingrid Benson-Villegas, and DCBA member Natalie Rico. Latoya, Stephanie, and Natalie are attorneys at Colson Hicks Eidson.  Ingrid is an attorney at the Law Offices of Isaac Benmergui, P.A.

MDFAWL and the DCBA received donations from more than 35 law firms and local organizations. In total, the team raised more than $5,000 in monetary donations and received more than 100 backpacks as well as an abundance of school supplies — from composition books and notebooks to rulers, paper, index cards, pencils and more.

“In an ongoing effort to support underprivileged students in our community, we reached out to our colleagues and peers in the legal community for help… and the response has been tremendous,” said Brown, an associate at Colson Hicks Eidson who initiated the program. “We are grateful for the kindness and generosity offered to ensure the drive was a success for so many deserving students that otherwise would not have access to basic school supplies. It was truly a community effort.”

Donations were given to parents and children at the Camillus House and the Division of Student Services for Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ Project UP-START, which assists students living in homeless shelters, on the streets, in motels, or “couch surfing.”  Over the course of the school year, the Division of Student Services identifies and serves approximately 6,000 underprivileged students in Miami-Dade County Public Schools. The students and their families go to the “UP-START Shop” to retrieve items they need, such as these important tools for the classroom.

The school supply drive ran throughout the month of August and MDFAWL hopes to build on the program’s success next year.