Community Service Project

The community service component of the conference provides an important opportunity for NLLSA members to actively demonstrate our commitment to the advancement of our Latino community. This year, we will have the chance to personally touch the lives of our most precious resource-our young people. In conjunction with the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy program, NLLSA members will teach students in DC area high schools, of which many contain significant numbers of Latino students. We will focus upon the Mendez v. Westminster and the California Board of Education case, a landmark case which has eluded many of high school history books yet, nonetheless, produced noteworthy changes in our nation's educational system.

In March of 1945, Latino parents in Orange County, California confronted the segregation of their children into "Mexican Schools." With the help of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) sued four local school districts for segregating their children. In February of 1946, this landmark case ended segregation in California school districts, giving equal rights to all students. The Mendez case helped to pave the way for the famous case of Brown v. Board of Education.

The community service project is divided into two programs, so in addition to mentoring to students in the high schools, we will also bring the high school students to us. Many of our young people have never been exposed to a gathering of professionals and have not had the opportunity to interact in environments of higher education. However, there is a good deal of truth to the old phrase, "Seeing is believing." Once they can envision themselves in these settings, future educational and career goals will be much more attainable.

We will invite approximately 75 high school students to join us on the campus of American University where we will host a series of panels. During these panel discussions, NLLSA members will offer advice to these students regarding five subject areas: pre-college information (i.e. SAT's, college applications); financial aid (i.e. FAFSA's, scholarships); academics (i.e. study skills, choosing a major); college social life; legal career planning (i.e. the law school application process, the diversity of legal career opportunities).

Space for each activity is limited, so please don't delay in visiting www.wcl.american.edu/events/nllsa/registration.cfm to register for either the classroom teaching component or the panel discussion component. At least one member from each chapter is expected to participate in the community service activity, and these volunteers will be recognized during the closing NLLSA Conference Gala Dinner. The chapter with the most community service participants will also be presented with an award, showcasing their contribution in front of other NLLSA members and all of the legal professionals in attendance at the dinner. Once you register, we will contact you and provide you with a complete packet of all the community service project details. Feel free to visit www.wcl.american.edu/wethestudents/mbindex.cfm for more information about the Marshall-Brennan program or to email us at nllsa@wcl.american.edu with any questions.

Sincerely,
Candace Gomez and Samuel Brown
NLLSAC Community Service Co-Chairs