During the American Association for Justice’s (AAJ) Annual Convention, held this summer in San Diego, AAJ members lent a helping hand to the city by volunteering with Urban Street Angels (USA), a non-profit organization founded to address youth homelessness in San Diego, including several committees that were supported by the law offices of Langdon & Emison.
Fifty AAJ members volunteered on site during the convention – the largest number of volunteers at one time for Urban Street Angels. USA also received the largest number of donations from a group thanks to AAJ’s member involvement. Donations included 25 mattresses, replacing sheet sets and blankets for all the beds, as well as storage racks and beanbag chairs for common areas.
Activities were coordinated by the Trial Lawyers Care Committee, an AAJ membership group comprised of lawyers across the country who are committed to making a difference in the communities where they live and work, in conjunction with members of the New Lawyers Division, Minority Caucus, Women Trial Lawyers Caucus, and LGBT Caucus.
Giving back locally during the convention where members gather for educational and networking opportunities reflects their beliefs and is an important chance to foster positive relationships with communities across the nation. During past conventions, AAJ lawyers have participated in many different community activities including donating books to elementary schools; Habitat for Humanity builds; providing blankets, books and stuffed animals to homeless children; donating school supplies to a community literacy program; cooking and serving meals in a summer community program; sorting food and bagging groceries at food banks; organizing canned food drives; building houses and cleaning parks; providing supplies at veterans shelters, and giving presentations at schools on the topic of ending distracted driving.
Urban Street Angels (USA) operates in partnership with the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency. It has an overnight shelter program, the only one of its kind in the city, which provides safe harbor for up to 30 homeless youth ages 18 to 25 twice each week. USA provides a nourishing dinner and breakfast; a safe place to spend the night; and referrals to available services in the community. In addition, access to showers and laundry facilities is provided, minor medical and hygiene care, and new and gently-used clothing and footwear. Over the past three years, USA has served over 3,500 youth in its emergency overnight shelter program.
USA also operates a 20-bed short-term housing program for up to nine months for homeless youths seeking to leave the streets behind for good, and an innovative 15-bed supportive housing program for those youths who have yet to connect with available social services. You can read more about USA’s unique programs here.