Pro Bono Summer Reading: “Invisible Child”

bookInterested in a good read for the upcoming long weekend? Check out last December’s five-part series in The New York Times about a family living in a homeless shelter in Brooklyn, NY. Through the story of 11-year-old Dasani, who is one of 22,000 homeless children in New York, “Invisible Child” shines a harsh light on the alarming increase of homeless youth in recent years and our nation’s problem of vast inequality. It’s one of the most powerful pieces we’ve read this year.

We’ve previously discussed how even the most well-meaning and sensitive pro bono volunteers can have a hard time grasping the harsh realities of poverty. Consider supplementing your summer reading with an online poverty simulation exercise, which is an interactive way to better understand the daily challenges encountered by the poor. You’ll find that it’s incredibly difficult to succeed when facing the crushing obstacles that bring countless people to need pro bono assistance every day.

Dasani’s remarkable story and the simulation exercise will change the way you think about poverty and homelessness, renew your sense of compassion and human kindness, and heighten your understanding of the impact that your pro bono legal assistance can have on those in your community. You’ll be inspired to embark on a summer of pro bono service.

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And, as we say hello to the summer season this weekend with cookouts, swimming, and baseball games, don’t forget this Memorial Day holiday to honor and pay tribute to all the men and women who have died while in military service.  We are grateful to them and their families for their sacrifices and their service.  Providing pro bono assistance to eligible veterans is a unique opportunity for lawyers to exercise our patriotic duty and in some small way repay those who served our country.