"We Will Build Bridges"

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Release Date: 
Wednesday, March 13, 2019

At our annual conference, we all agreed upon a set a values to guide our service. Building bridges resonated with everyone and this month, we reflected on how we have built bridges in service. Below are some of the unique ways we've built bridges together. 

"As a data systems VISTA it can be difficult to see the bridges that we are working to build in our roles. In the past 6 months I have sat at my desk in a quiet office researching best practices in data collection and analysis. We are just about to implement a data tool that will get us closer to understanding the impact of social work services on client sentencing outcomes. The bridge that I’m working to build in my organization connects our employees with a greater understanding of data collection best practices. The current culture around data management at my agency is inconsistent. I hope that I can build an understanding of the importance of data and a clear and consistent method of defining measures and collecting data. 
This project as a whole is an example of bridges built between each of the participating sites. We are able to communicate about our work and our agencies’ best practices. As a cohort I think we are building a stronger network of public defense systems across the country. The bridges that we’ve built simply between our host sites have created essential dialogue in the public defense community. "

-Shannon, serving in Maryland

"During the holidays, I helped my organization set up a holiday party for our clients, former clients, and their families. Having clients and staff interact in such a warm environment and to use our office space for such an occasion helped build a bridge between our communities. Rather than interacting in a strictly legal setting, we all came together to celebrate and enjoy each other’s company."

-Grace, serving in New York City, New York. 

"I am proud of the bridge I created for our office and Texas Tech University. When I first moved to Texas, I met a Tech student who was part of the personal financial planning program. He told me how students at Tech teach financial literacy courses in the Lubbock community. I immediately knew this was an amazing opportunity for our clients who are stuck in the cycle of recidivism, as I was part of a similar financial literacy program for refugees.

A few weeks later, I scheduled a meeting with the director of Knowledge Empowering You (KEY) Outreach, who organizes the student volunteers. We had a great discussion about the Lubbock Private Defenders Office and their organization's mission at KEY Outreach. Four months later, we hosted our first financial literacy workshop for our mental health clients where we discussed their financial goals. For the first time, LPDO created an event specifically for our clients where we had our caseworkers eat lunch with them and talk about things that have nothing to do with their case. I am happy to say that our office will be holding a workshop series for the rest of 2019 on life skills specifically for our mental health clients."

-Yamilex, serving in Lubbock, Texas