Grantee of the Week: Christine MacDonald


PILF_8-25National Center for Youth Law is a private, non-profit law office whose purpose is to use legal advocacy to protect children from the harms caused by poverty and to improve the lives of low-income children and families. For over 40 years, NCYL has represented children and adolescents through impact litigation; legislative and administrative advocacy at the national and state levels; and by providing training, technical assistance, and support to child advocates, social services providers, health care providers, and other professionals who work for children and youth. NYCL works to promote children’s rights through four main areas: child welfare, economic security, health/mental health, and juvenile justice.

I will be working in the area of child welfare. NCYL’s goal is to ensure the safety, stability, and well-being of abused and neglected children. NCYL works to reform state foster care systems, promote policies and laws that protect children in foster care, and improve the effectiveness of child advocacy efforts nationwide.

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Grantee of the Week: Ashley Oddo


This summer I will be working at the Los Angeles Public Defender’s Office. My summer will be split into five-week sessions in two different offices. I have not received my placements yet; however I listed by top five as follows: (1) Pasadena Juvenile, (2) Eastlake Juvenile, (3) SB9 Unit, (4) Pasadena Branch, and (5) Mental Health. I am hoping to gain some experience and insight into juvenile delinquency this summer. The SB9 unit is also an interesting placement because it was formed after the recent enactment of Senate Bill 9. The bill focuses on juveniles who have been sentenced to life in prison and affords them the opportunity of having a resenting hearing after they have served fifteen years in prison. No matter which two units I get placed in, I am excited about spending another summer interning at a Public Defender’s Office. I am honored and thankful to have the opportunity to represent the Public Interest Law Foundation during my summer in Los Angeles, California.

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Grantee of the Week: Tiffany Lam

This summer I will be working for Tri-Valley Communities Against a Radioactive Environment (CAREs) in Livermore. Tri-Valley CAREs monitors the U.S. nuclear weapons development policy and the environmental clean-up activities throughout the U.S. In addition, Tri-Valley CAREs has a special emphasis on the Livermore Lab because of its proximity to the Bay Area. The work that I will be doing for Tri-Valley CAREs will be to help promote its mission of peace, justice and a healthy environment regarding nuclear technology. Some of my work will consist of conducting research and writing regarding the Livermore Lab and the California Environmental Quality Act. I will also be preparing a presentation regarding the Superfund cleanup decision at Livermore Lab and presenting those decisions to community members in Livermore.

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Grantee of the Week: Brittany Benavides


Asylum Access is an innovative international nonprofit dedicated to making refugee rights a reality. Asylum Access empowers refugees in Africa, Asia and Latin America to live safely, work, send children to school and rebuild their lives. I will be working as a legal policy intern, focusing on supporting the global policy advocacy and strategic litigation team on issues concerning refugee labor and employment rights, as well as the role of litigation in the refugee legal aid movement.

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Grantee of the Week: Willie Mincey



My name is Willie Mincey and for the summer of 2014, I will be working with the Alameda Public Defender’s Officer as a Certified Research Assistant. During my summer I will have the opportunity to draft legal motions as well as present those motions in court proceedings. I will also have the opportunity to meet with my clients, so I can learn about their background, enabling me to help provide them with the best representation possible.


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Grantee of the Week: Lizette Perez


This summer, I’m interning at CARECEN (Central American Resource Center), in Los Angeles. CARECEN, as an organization, promotes social justice initiatives such as education reform, immigration reform, and youth programs. It also provides low-cost direct immigration services to the immigrant community in Los Angeles. As a legal intern, I will be working with undocumented clients, that were victims of domestic violence and other violent crimes, in obtaining immigration relief via a U-Visa or a Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petition.  I’m very much looking forward to helping people adjust their immigration status because of the life altering effects that come with removing the barrier to basic rights like education, employment, health care and migration/relocation, that a lack of immigration status often represents.

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Grantee of the Week: Amelia Anderson

PILF_grantee_AmeliaThis summer I am working at Legal Services for Children (LSC). LSC is an incredible organization that represents youth in dependency, guardianship, immigration, and education proceedings.  Their staff includes both attorneys and social workers, this helps to ensure that clients receive holistic assistance. Although I mainly focus on dependency and immigration cases, I get exposure to all areas of their practice by preforming bilingual in-take over their “warm line” every week. I primarily work with immigrant and citizen children who have suffered abuse, abandonment, or neglect. This work includes: conducting intake interviews, preparing immigration applications, preforming legal research, drafting declarations and pleadings, and attending court. Working with LSC has been an amazing experience thus far and I am grateful to PILF for helping to make this possible!

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Grantee of the Week: Rahul Balaram


This summer I am working as a Certified Law Clerk with the Alameda Public Defender. In assisting the attorneys of the office in the defense of indigent clients, I am able to argue motions, conduct client intake interviews, both in office and in custody, and work in the misdemeanor calendar department to ensure that indigent clients are properly represented to the extent of the law. The experience I am gaining is invaluable to my career path, from speaking and working with passionate attorneys to being able to appear on behalf of clients, and I am excited and proud to be involved in public interest law.

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Grantee of the Week: Shannon Belsheim



This summer I will be interning as a certified law student at the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. Conducting prosecutions for public offenses, detecting crime, and investigating criminal activity is the central point of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. I have been placed in the preliminary hearing department at the Airport Branch Courthouse. As a certified law student, I will be conducting routine felony preliminary hearings and misdemeanor prosecutions under a supervising attorney. In addition, I will be researching and drafting legal memorandums and motions pertaining to relevant criminal procedural issues. Focusing on courtroom trial skills and improving my legal research and drafting skills will equip me with the necessary skills to be a fair and effective prosecutor.

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Grantee of the Week: Nicole Griffin


This summer I am going to have the opportunity to work at AIDS Legal Referral Panel.  ALRP assists persons in the San Francisco Bay Area living with HIV/AIDS by providing them with free and low-cost legal aid. They assist on nearly any civil matter ranging from housing, immigration, employment, insurance, confidentiality matters, family law, public accommodations and more.   ALRP is committed to doing their part in the fight against HIV/AIDS and they truly care about the people they help.   I will be working with ALRP wonderful Client Services staff and their volunteer Panel of attorneys to facilitate solutions to client’s legal problems.  I will be conducting interviews and providing consultation and making referrals in many areas of civil law. I am very excited for this meaningful opportunity!

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