Inside: Guest Editor’s Column

Samantha Sepehr

It is a beautiful time of year – the weather fluctuates between the sun and rain, the mornings are brisk, the days seem short and the colorful leaves begin to fall. It is also the time of the year when you hear people say, “it’s the season for giving”. In this spirit, this issue of the Contra Costa Lawyer offers ways to give back throughout the year and spotlights local attorneys who have done just that.

Although the motivation to give should not be based on what one will receive, many of the articles in this issue include the benefits of giving. Whether it is an immediate tax benefit for charitable giving through a donor-advised fund as explained by financial advisor, Paul Saad, creating a charitable remainder trust as described by CCCBA Member-Only Benefits Provider, Todd Friedman, or the inspirational rewards attorney Margaret Grover experienced while working with Team in Training, it is safe to say that all those who gave have reaped some benefit.

This issue features several non-profit agencies with which our local attorneys are involved. The work and missions of these organizations are amazing and diverse.

If you are interested in giving back on an international level, attorney Elva Harding’s article describes her experience with Amigos de las Americas, a nonprofit agency that works with rural and urban leaders to improve community resources throughout Latin America. Imagine the self-confidence a volunteer can gain from building a computer lab or restoring a water tank that ultimately changes the lives of dozens of families living in a community.

With the cold winter season quickly approaching, Amabelle Camba discusses how the services offered by Shelter, Inc. have turned around the lives of local homeless families. This article, as well as Rhonda Wilson-

Rice’s article on ways the CCCBA’s Juvenile Law Section gives back, offers several ways we can help make local teens feel the support of our community. And who can forget the Salvation Army’s bell ringers who bravely endure the cold weather in front of businesses during the biggest fundraising time of the year. Attorney Ruth Buzzard describes the many important programs the Salvation Army supports, which include among other things, emergency food distributions, weekly family literacy nights, and clothing for families in need.

As Theresa Hurley, of the CCCBA, insightfully points out in one of her articles, the desire to volunteer during the holiday season outweighs the actual need during this time of year. As we think of ways to give, we would like to thank those attorneys who volunteer at free legal workshops that are held throughout the year. Theresa spotlights a few of our local attorneys who have given their time to volunteer at some very remarkable and heavily relied-upon workshops – one of which has been in existence for an amazing 12 years.

It doesn’t matter whether you are willing to donate your time, money, or a cup of coffee to a cold yet dedicated bell ringer. What is important is that you give and that what you give makes an impact on the lives of those you would like to support. Our hope is that the articles in this issue will not only inspire you to give now, but throughout the months and years to come.

Samantha Sepehr was the first Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by the CCCBA. During her fellowship she was the staff attorney at JFK University’s Elder Law Clinic. Currently, she is the director/attorney of the Elder Law Center. Samantha is also the co-chair of the CCCBA’s Pro Bono Section.

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