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The importance of giving back

generation-jd-chris-omahoney-300x160From my first day at Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, the firm leadership has stressed the importance of getting involved and giving back to the community. Over the last year or so, I have come to realize how much time the employees at the firm give back to their local communities.

Jamerra Cherry, a senior litigation paralegal, volunteers with the Public Justice Center in the Baltimore City District Court. Jamerra attended a Public Justice Center fundraiser, where she met other volunteers who inspired Jamerra to get involved and help fight for the “little guy.” Now Jamerra, who has over 19 years of experience as a litigation paralegal, advocates on behalf of otherwise-pro se tenants in landlord-tenant disputes. Once a week, she goes to the district court and prepares for dozens of cases on the docket that day. While the work can be stressful at times, Jamerra enjoys advocating on behalf of those who do not have access to the legal system.

Kari Frandsen, a real estate paralegal, is an at-large member of the Annapolis Rowing Club’s Board of Directors. Kari helps the ARC coordinate its annual “Strokes4Survivors” program, which helps cancer survivors learn to row crew and improve their quality of life. Strokes4Survivors aims to help cancer survivors build up their strength and endurance, as well as create a support group and community for them.

Janice Kee, a legal secretary, has been involved with the Iota Gamma Omega Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority for more than 35 years. The AKA chapter is based in Prince George’s County but gives back to communities all across Maryland. Janice and IGO recently participated in the National Alliance on Mental Illness walk in Baltimore, where they raised over $18,000 for the mental health initiatives. The chapter also revitalized a playground at a District Heights elementary school.

As for me, I joined Eastport Civic Association, which engages in activities which improve the quality of life in the Eastport community in Annapolis and helps build relationships with local officials. The ECA undertakes many fundraising events, environmental awareness and improvement projects and donates time and money to various local nonprofits.

The ECA recently hosted “Eastport Greenscape,” an event where local residents clean up local parks and plant. Since joining the ECA, I have assisted in coordinating, organizing and promoting the general membership meetings. I have also worked closely with the chair of the communications committee to promote the ECA’s activities and events, in hopes of encouraging higher volunteer turnout.

Giving back, whether it’s your time, experience or charity, strengthens and enriches your local community and brings people together. How do employees at your firm give back to their community?

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