Letter From Leadership: Doing Something Real

A letter from Executive Director Martin Ellin. 

My wonderful colleague Cole Thaler told me this story:

A young girl and an older man are walking toward each other on a beach. Dozens of starfish have washed up on that beach, and the older man sees that every few steps the young girl picks up another starfish and throws it back into the sea. When they meet, the man tells the girl that there are too many starfish and that her throwing some back makes no difference. The girl then picks up a starfish at the man’s feet and throws it back into the water. She says, “Well, I made a difference to that one.”

In a time when our divided and divisive politics seem to permeate, and damage, the fabric of our lives in ways I have not experienced and would not have guessed possible, I am particularly glad to work at Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation. In the moments when I feel overcome by not just the breadth of the problems but also how by little I seem to be able to do to move the needle on any of them, I am reassured that by joining AVLF’s struggle to create safe and stable homes and families by inspiring lawyers to fight for justice, I am at least doing…something. And there is reason to give my best again today.

AVLF is a place where promises are kept.

I am working with programs that help families keep their children in school, that aid a woman who wants to be safe from her abuser, that force a landlord to honor the housing code, that keep a child free from pediatric asthma, that serve the court’s intention to determine the best interests of children of a custody contest, and more.  

Thank you for contributing your time and your talents to perform the volunteer work that makes these programs active and powerful. And thank you for your financial gifts, including your consideration of a donation before the end of 2017. There is a direct line between contributions in and services out, and as this month’s Winetasting raised over $600,000, our pro bono programs will thrive again in 2018.

AVLF is a place where promises are kept. The specific promise that our community may rely on us to stand with them when there is no other recourse for counsel. The ideal promise that we who are lawyers will promote justice everywhere by insisting on it here. And the promise that even if the beach is littered with them, we will keep picking up starfish and returning them to a place where they may survive and even thrive.

Join us when you want to do something meaningful and real.

Warmest wishes to everyone,

As we go into the holiday season, please consider a gift of support to AVLF. Every dollar makes sure we can continue to make this impact in Atlanta’s communities.