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A Visit with Ordinary Heroes

The DC Volunteer Lawyers Project provides free legal service to victims of domestic violence.

A mother survives domestic abuse, but realizes she needs a civil protection order, as well as custody of her child, but she may not be able to afford legal representation.

Five years ago, a group of lawyers came together to support clients like her. They founded the DC Volunteers Lawyer Project (DCVLP) to recruit, train, and support attorneys to provide pro-bono services in three areas: (1) domestic violence, including with divorce, custody, child support, and immigration matters, (2) high-conflict child custody cases, and (3) assisting foster parents.

The DCVLP now has more than 700 volunteer lawyers who provide pro-bono services.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of visiting the DCVLP. I met with the remarkable founders and staff, listened to the story of a former client serving on the board, and heard about all the great work they are doing every single day here in Washington, DC.

Valerie Jarrett visits the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project

White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett with the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project team.

I was especially delighted to visit just one week after President Obama signed the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization into law.

As he said during his remarks:

So today is about all the survivors, all the advocates who are standing on this stage. But it’s also about the millions more they represent -- that you represent. It’s about our commitment as a country to address this problem -- in every corner of America, every community, every town, every big city -- as long as it takes.

That commitment is reflected in DCVLP and so many other organizations like it all across the country. I left the visit feeling so inspired and moved by the actions of these citizens to help their fellow Americans. They are a wonderful example of what happens when a few people come together to live out the truth of “I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper.”

For more information on the VAWA reauthorization, click here.