OBA Day of Service: County Bar Associations Urged to Plan a Project Sept. 20-21
By Carol Manning
The legal profession is all about helping people — to right a wrong, to protect their rights and to be a voice for justice. OBA President James T. “Jim” Stuart wants to take it one step farther. His theme for this year is Oklahoma lawyers giving back.
“My goal is to include lawyers from all over the state, young and old, who will join together and participate in a day of service within their respective communities,” he said. President Stuart’s goal is for a community service project to take place in each county.
With 77 Oklahoma counties, just one day of service isn’t enough, so to allow county bar associations flexibility — both a Friday and Saturday were selected. Everyone knows that events are planned around college football games in the fall, and Sept. 20 or Sept. 21 were picked because OU and OSU have bye weeks.
Selecting the nonprofit organization to benefit from the service project is up to each county bar association — and so is the decision on the type of volunteer work that will be done. Tasks might be holding a fundraising drive, stocking a food pantry, cleaning up a homeless shelter, improving landscaping or teaching a lesson at area schools. With so many great organizations that make an impact on so many lives, it will be a difficult decision to pick only one. Larger counties are encouraged to organize several projects.
Pottawatomie County has already planned its service project in Shawnee. County bar members will be doing a general facelift, including paint, flooring and cabinets, for Youth and Family Resource Center’s “Hope House,” a facility which temporarily houses abused and neglected children.
LAW FIRMS AND CORPORATIONS
Many large law firms and corporations have a tradition of volunteer service – and have favorite nonprofit organizations they have relationships with. Well, their involvement in the OBA Day of Service is welcome, which can supplement a project of the county bar. Just like corporate athletic challenges pit one company against another for bragging rights, it’s hoped that law firms and corporations will compete for who can recruit the most volunteers to help their favorite nonprofit.
COORDINATING THE STATEWIDE PROJECT
Too big of a project to handle alone, helping President Stuart to achieve his ambitious goal is Joe Vorndran, Young Lawyers Division chairperson. OBA Board of Governors members will be working hand in hand with YLD members across the state to recruit county bar associations and others to participate in this statewide community service initiative.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
Identify which nonprofit organization your county bar (law firm or company) wants to assist and what your members want to do to help. Email that information to Brandi Nowakowski. Deadline: Aug. 19. The OBA Communications Department will assist all counties in being recognized in the media for their hard work in their communities.