Support free legal aid

The Whitewater Valley Pro Bono Commission office on the third floor of the Richmond Municipal Building continues to click along with a steady flow of people coming through their doors seeking free legal help.

The office and executive director Shane Edington received over 650 applications for assistance in 2018 and are on pace to match that this year.

This week alone, Edington said, his office and its 12-or-so volunteer lawyers have helped a tenant whose landlord literally cleaned him out of every bit of personal property he owned; a young mother fighting to get her twin one-year-olds back from a father who refuses to return them; and has advised a mentally disabled man not to send money to unscrupulous collection agents while working to get those agents to leave him alone.

Why do I tell you this?

Well, the pro bono group, of which I am a board member, is once again trying to raise funds to keep their office and their work alive. They operate on a $65,000-a-year budget that comes entirely from donations, fund-raising and grants.

The group is holding its fifth annual “Race for Justice” fund-raiser Aug. 3 at Glen Miller Park. The event features a 5-mile competitive race and a 5K fun run/walk. The run is for runners, of which I am not a member, but the run/walk is ideal for joggers, trotters and walkers (I am one of those) and is ideal for the whole family.

By the way, the pro bono commission is a non-profit agency that offers free legal help for Wayne County residents in Wayne County civil cases. The agency started in November 2007 and has assisted over 2,000 clients in the past 12 years. The majority of agency cases involve families with young children, single parents and often domestic violence.

It remains the only full-time pro bono service in east central Indiana.

Registration for the event begins at 7:30 a.m. with the race to step off at 8. Runners and walkers can sign up the day of the race or can do so at shane1@whitewatervalleyprobono.org.

Cost to participate is $10 for those 20 years of age and younger and $15 for 21 and older. It is the third fundraiser of the year for pro bono and is the most family-friendly.

Sponsorships range from $50 to $500 and donations of items like bottled water, Gatorade, bagels and fruit are also welcome.

For more information, call (765) 983-7353 or send an email to shane1@whitewatervalleyprobono.org.

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