Georgia Bar Foundation presents two grants to Southwest Georgia Victims Assistance Alliance Inc.
Published 2:03 pm Saturday, August 26, 2017
From STAFF REPORTS
AMERICUS — On Aug. 8, representatives from the Georgia Bar Foundation presented two checks for separate grants to the Southwest Georgia Victims Assistance Alliance Inc. (Victim’s Alliance) at their new offices in Americus. Ken Hodges, a member of the Foundation board and the president elect of the State Bar of Georgia and Len Horton, executive director of the Foundation, took a tour of the new facilities and met with our local community representatives. The check presentation and reception were attended by Superior Court judges, the District Attorney, local bar members, clerks and other community stakeholders supportive of the mission to help our communities’ victims.
The Georgia Bar Foundation is a non-profit, charitable organization with the mission of providing funding in part to support legal services for the poor, improve that administration of justice, and promote professionalism in law practice in order to best service the public. The first check in the amount of $10, 468.75 was the first of quarterly installments that support 80 percent funding for the Rural Lawyer Incubator Program. This program is designed to develop a new or established attorney’s skills specific to representation of clients in rural areas through mentorship and experience. Additionally, this allows Victim’s Alliance to provide increased legal services in the circuit. The second check for $10,000 provides two fellow scholarships for third-year law students for fall and spring semester during the 2017-18 school year. The students will research and develop legal policies and procedures for expansion of victim representation and also act as trained support advocates for clients.
During the presentation, Ken Hodges told the group that this was the first time in the history of the Georgia Bar Foundation that an entity has been presented two separate checks for funding of two programs at the same time. Hodges has practiced in Atlanta for many years, but his roots are in Albany, Georgia. He understands rural communities’ needs and encouraged the Foundation to support this local project. Len Horton expressed the Foundation’s desire to support expansion of victims’ legal services around the state, particularly with the current focus of the Victim’s Alliance on survivors of family violence. Chief Judge R. Rucker Smith stated, “Our local communities recognize that local action, input and control can often be much more efficient and effective. By coming together as an alliance, we find we can create continuity in leadership, funding and support structure to make us all stronger as a coordinated unified group. The recognition of the Georgia Bar Foundation greatly helps our progress. Our citizens appreciate the Foundation’s generous support.”
Victim’s Alliance is an expansion of the Southwestern Judicial Circuit Family Violence Council Inc. that has been successfully servicing victims for over a decade in the counties of Lee, Macon, Schley, Stewart, Sumter and Webster. During the past year, Victim’s Alliance has undergone many changes. The Board, headed by District Attorney Plez Hardin, has expanded increasing local involvement and expertise. The new executive director, Alicia Page, is a licensed attorney and certified mediator. The Mobile Support advocate, Eva Bass, is a graduate of Georgia Southwestern State University with a bachelor of science in psychology. Services provided are individualized and may include representation for Temporary Protective Orders, safety planning, referrals to appropriate agencies for other types of support and legal references, community outreach and educational presentations. New programs being developed are peer mentoring/coaching, individual and group therapy, and alternative therapeutic programs. Victim’s Alliance relies on the skills of a variety of community volunteers for advocacy, support, outreach, and education services.
Victim’s Alliance is currently conducting an anonymous Community Needs Assessment. If you live or work in our circuit please give us your opinion and three minutes of your time at http://www.tinyurl.com/soweganeeds. Any and all support is appreciated. Donations are tax deductible. Contact the Victim’s Alliance offices for information, send via mail to P.O. Box 702, Americus GA 31709. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for Victim’s Alliance plea call or visit www.sowegavictims.com. If you are in a family violence or stalking situation, call 229-331-0315. Confidential consultation is available.