National Justice For Our Neighbors
  December 2013 Update

TODAY ONLY- December 3rd

You have an opportunity to DOUBLE your impact  through #GivingTuesday.  Your  financial gift will be matched, dollar for dollar, by the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church.


 We thank you for helping people like Tash (story below).

Volunteer Spotlight
 
San Antonio-Justice For Our Neighbors volunteer Rebecca Ortiz overflows with joy and enthusiasm when speaking about her involvement with JFON. “I think about the story of Jesus and the 10 lepers. All 10 were healed but only one came back to thank Him. I want to be like that one. What better way to thank God than by serving Him?”
 
Rebecca was born in McAllen, Texas, and when she was four years old, the family moved to San Antonio.  She still remembers the sting of discrimination in her childhood.  This is another reason she chooses to work with and for immigrants.  Rebecca has been involved with JFON since 2102 when she worked with the planning committee. Currently, she wears a variety of hats, including interim clinic coordinator and treasurer.  “We have a great group of volunteers.  I would like to have every volunteer know everything.” So her vision includes making sure there will be a lot of cross training. That way if there is a need for an intake volunteer, the hospitality volunteer can step into that role as he/she desires.  Not only will this strengthen the clinic, it gives volunteers the opportunity to broaden their skills and experience. 
 
Rebecca also strives to provide a wide variety of helpful information and resources to the clients.  They now have a lot of previous and current clients attending lunch and ESL classes at nearby El Divino Salvador United Methodist Church. 
 
 


Rebecca (center) with clinic coordinators Mia Ntahabari (left) and
Nancy Mayeux (right) at the Orlando clinic coordinator gathering. 
 
NJFON Welcomes New Site
 
National Justice For Our Neighbors is excited to welcome a new JFON site: Austin Justice For Our Neighbors.

Dedicated volunteers have spent several months developing a strong board, identifying a clinic and office, and engaging in strategic planning and fundraising.  Currently, they have 16 members on their board of directors. These volunteer leaders come together from several different area United Methodist Churches and provide the site with a wide variety of experience and expertise. Servant Church UMC will be the location of their monthly Saturday afternoon legal clinic. National Justice For Our Neighbors looks forward to working with them.

Congratulations, Austin-JFON!
 
National JFON  Welcomes New Board Members
 
Amy Peck
Article ImageAmy L. Peck is in private practice with Peck Law Firm, LLC, in Omaha, Nebraska, practicing exclusively in immigration law. She is currently an elected Director of the America Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Board of Governors, the Chair of the EOIR Liaison committee, and is serving as a member of the AILA Inter-Agency Committee. AILA is the largest professional bar association for attorneys who practice immigration law and has over 12,000 members nationwide.
 
Additionally, she is the director of the American Immigration Council, a founding member of the Global Migration Action Group and has received numerous awards and recognitions. Among these she was named the Best Lawyers’ 2012 Omaha Immigration Law Lawyer of the Year.
Dan Flores
Article Image Dan Flores is an independent scholar of American religion and culture.  He was raised only a generation away from migrant living, and he was the first in his family to graduate college.  It was in graduate school that he discovered his passion for theological education. Poet-theologian Charles Wesley admonished people to join together "knowledge and vital piety."  That maxim reflects the very core of his understanding of the vocation of Christian educator.  He counts it a privilege to help others achieve their goals in higher education. Academic subject areas of his expertise include Christian history and theology.

He also enjoys travel, classical and Celtic music, and real Texas BBQ.  Happily married to his childhood sweetheart Rev. Thelma Herrera Flores, they currently lead a United Methodist congregation in Fort Worth, Texas.
Denise Honeycutt
Article ImageThe Rev. Dr. Denise Honeycutt, a pastor from Virginia and former Global Ministries missionary who has a background in the local church, global mission, and theological education, is the deputy general secretary of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).  As such, she serves as an ex-officio member of the National JFON board. Her missionary service, with her husband, the Rev. Pat Watkins, was in the remote village of Bambur, Nigeria, where Honeycutt taught Biblical studies and theology at Banyam Theological Seminary.
 
She was ordained as a United Methodist deacon in 1989 and an elder in 1991 in the Virginia Annual Conference.  In 2007, Honeycutt received a doctor of ministries from Wesley Seminary. Prior to her current appointment she served as the pastor at St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church in Fairfax, VA.  Of her life and vocation she says,  “When I was in college I put an index card on my mirror with the word ‘yes,’ which represented my stance in life toward God.”  This openness, she said, has freed her to be available for how God will use her.
Client Success Story
By Justice For Our Neighbors - Florida
 
Article Image
 
Tash* came to the U.S. from Suriname with her mother after her father died in a home invasion crime. Sadly, Tash was present when it happened. Her mother’s immigrant visa was set to expire so she returned to Suriname to avoid being out of status – leaving Tash behind with a neighbor to finish school. A month later she was reported to the Deptartment of Children and Families and entered the foster care system.

A local pastor sought advice from JFON and became Tash’s “non-relative care giver." After a number of court hearings, she was determined “abandoned” by the state of Florida, then JFON filed all the paper work for Tash to receive legal status. Today, she works as a clerk in a cardiologist’s office and studies at a local college to gain her degree.
 
       *Name has been changed to protect confidentiality.
Clinic Coordinator Trainings
 
Clients who walk through the doors to
our legal clinics are greeted by the smiling face of a volunteer.  Other volunteers serve coffee and food while still another begins the intake paperwork.  Clinic coordinators oversee these teams of volunteers at their local clinics, usually in United Methodist Churches. Clinic coordinators work with the board of directors and staff attorneys of their JFON site to ensure that clients are scheduled, volunteers are trained and in place, hospitality is carried out, and clients are greeted with compassion and professionalism in a welcoming environment during their initial intake interview.
 
This fall, National JFON convened two gatherings of its 40 clinic coordinators from around the network.  At these two gatherings in Chicago and Orlando, National JFON staff Melissa Bowe and Rob Rutland-Brown facilitated conversations around best practices on topics from maintaining confidentiality to scheduling clients to recruiting volunteers.  Clinic coordinators represented JFON sites that vary in their financial resources, the types of volunteers they attract, their levels of experience, their client demographics, and much more, thus enabling a rich discussion where folks could gain ideas.
 
 
 Chicago Clinic Coordinator gathering
 
 
National JFON is extremely grateful for the commitment of our clinic coordinators, who represent the welcoming and volunteer-driven aspect of our work.  We were honored to have this opportunity to engage with them and look forward to furthering the process of learning from each other to better the work of our clinics.
 
Regional Attorney Model
 
This year National JFON launched a new model of supporting the legal work of the network.  Four of JFON's most experienced and well-respected attorneys spend 10 hours each week in the capacity of Regional Attorney.  In this role, they mentor and assist the JFON staff attorneys in their region.  In addition, Regional Attorneys assist JFON boards of directors in the hiring and training process of new JFON attorneys and in the evaluation process.  The Regional Attorneys also undertake legal projects beneficial to the network as a whole such as standardizing intake forms, providing guidance on appropriate case load, training on standardized reporting, using the case management system, discussing problematic cases, and much more.
 
This new model allows for better quality control and communication among the attorneys in the JFON network.  It enables our staff attorneys to benefit from shared resources so that they can focus on what's most important-- serving their clients.


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