By Cynthia B. Jones
This month's KCBA Volunteer of the Month is Angela Shapow, who gives her time and talent to the Kinship Care Solutions Project.
"Angela represented a family attempting to exit the foster care system by establishing legal custody with the long-time foster parents," explained Judy Lin, senior managing attorney for the KCBA Family Law Programs.
"Angela's attempts were noteworthy in that she showed a lot of tenacity in the face of institutional barriers in obtaining custody for her clients." Shapow's commitment to the case plus her willingness to learn, said Lin, made for a successful outcome.
Read on to learn more about Shapow, her handful of backyard chickens and what motivates her to volunteer.
Q. What inspires you to volunteer?
A. I've received tremendous benefits from the generosity of others. I also believe equal access to justice is important to a healthy society. Volunteering for pro bono programs is one way for me to give back and contribute to the profession.
Q. What area of law would you be practicing if not in your current area?
A. I'm actually in the process of taking on an additional practice area, so this question has a natural answer. I'm very excited to start offering services in special education law this fall. Education law still focuses on helping families and children, but in a different way.
Q. What originally drew you to the Kinship Care Solutions Project?
A. My very first case was a pro bono grandparent guardianship case in Boise, Idaho. I get a different kind of satisfaction from this type case as compared to dissolutions. I really enjoy my work with the Kinship Care Solutions Project - it feels nice to put a family together.
Q. Must-have office supply?
A. Bindertek binders.
Q. Last book you've read?
A. Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazi.
Q. Favorite comfort food?
Q. Do you have pets?
A. We have a 14-year-old cat of no distinguishing pedigree, a 7-year-old black lab and a handful of backyard chickens.
Q. How do you gain perspective in a difficult situation?
A. First, I remember I am not alone and other people have likely experienced the same situation. If I can, I might reach out to them. Second, I reframe the situation and break the solution into concrete steps. I find difficult situations to be much less overwhelming when I have plan of action.
Q. Advice to new volunteers?
A. Ask a lot of questions! The support is fantastic and I think Judy Lin could even make someone completely new to non-parental custody actions feel confident.
Cynthia Jones is an attorney with Jones Legal Group, LLC in Seattle where her practice focus is appellate advocacy. She can be reached at email@example.com.