Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers Makeover Emergency Shelter

In early 2011, representatives of the Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers (CFAWL) Young Lawyers attended the Affiliate Outreach Conference (AOC) to propose its concept for Extreme Makeover: Harbor House. CFAWL strived for an award of grant money to support this one-year service project benefitting Harbor House of Central Florida (Harbor House), a comprehensive domestic violence services agency. At the inception of the project, CFAWL’s goal was to makeover the common living room at Harbor House’s emergency shelter. The outcome of the project was something entirely different.

Thanks to a generous grant award of $2,600.00 from The Florida Bar Foundation and The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division at the 2011 AOC, as well as a partnership with law student members of Barry Women’s Lawyers Association and the support of CFAWL members and the local community, the scope of Extreme Makeover: Harbor House quickly expanded. Once underway, the service project included not only a makeover of the common living room, but also the children’s play room, computer room, two bedrooms, and two bathrooms.

On April 2, 2011, eighteen volunteers visited Harbor House to paint, clean, and redecorate the shelter’s common living room, children’s play room, and computer room. On October 22, 2011, fifteen different volunteers visited Harbor House to paint, clean, and redecorate two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Throughout the year, CFAWL Young Lawyers hosted in-kind donation drives to complement the makeovers and help meet Harbor House’s various needs. Items collected and donated to the project included: 300+ books for women, teens, and children; 26 family-friendly DVDS; a 42” flat screen TV; 2 computers; 11 board games; 2 tricycles; 3 car seats; 2 rocking chairs; 50+ non-perishable food items; 150+ personal care/hygiene items; 30+ cell phones; and more. The AOC grant funds and other monetary donations were used to purchase items including: an entertainment center; a DVD player; 7 area rugs; 5 bookcases; tables and chairs; 8 bedding sets; 16 bed pillows; shower curtains and towels; hangers; night stands and dressers; lamps; artwork and d├ęcor; children’s toys; 12 gallons of paint; painting supplies; cleaning supplies; office supplies; and additional personal hygiene items.

The Extreme Makeover: Harbor House project not only positively impacted the living conditions at the emergency shelter but also educated the CFAWL membership and the local legal community about the vital services Harbor House offers to victims of domestic violence. The yearlong commitment to Harbor House offered CFAWL Young Lawyers an ongoing opportunity to serve the community and work together to make a difference.

CFAWL is a professional organization devoted to actively promoting the advancement of women in the legal profession and expanding the leadership role of its members in the community at large. For more information, please visit www.cfawl.org, or contact Ashley C. Winship, CFAWL Director of Public Relations, at info@cfawl.org
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