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Dallas Young Lawyers Adopt a Domestic Violence Shelter and Build Massive Playset
By:  Anna Rupani, Matthew Agnew, and Charlie Gearing

In January 2017, when the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers’ (DAYL) President Paul Simon appointed us to lead the DAYL’s Lawyers Against Domestic Violence Committee (LADV), we were told the committee had suffered from a perilous lack of participation. The new LADV chairs appreciated being relieved of any expectation or result, but we were also perplexed—How does a committee that focuses on survivors of domestic violence, struggle so much to engage our members? Or, in a more macro sense, “How do you make people care about people?” 

If you’ve come here for a prophetic conclusion to this pressing question, I'll cut to the end now—there is no easy answer. But, you can always lead by example, control the things you can control, and work to make the lives of those around you better, which is ultimately what how we decided to proceed with LADV.

LADV wanted to lead by example, and to do so, we adopted Mosaic House as LADV’s “Shelter of the Year.” Mosaic House is a Dallas-area non-profit shelter for domestic violence and human trafficking survivors and their children. Through the efforts of many attorneys, members of the community, and donors, LADV rebuilt and painted the shelter’s basketball court, donated a new portable basketball goal, and replaced a gravel pathway for a larger green and open space for survivors to access.

LADV also built a three-quarter-ton playset on the shelter’s property. On one of the coldest days of 2017, more than 25 volunteer attorneys and their friends helped construct the 17-foot playset with multiple swings, slides, forts, a sandbox, climbing wall, and many other gadgets too extensive to list. With a 151-page manual in hand, LADV constructed the playset one board and screw at a time. After 22 hours of building, the massive playset was ready for the children at the shelter to play on. We will always remember the camaraderie found in building the playset and the excitement and smiles of the children patiently waiting for the construction to finish.

A week after completion, LADV dedicated its work at Mosaic and the playset to two amazing advocates for survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking: Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent David Klimek and Department of Labor Special Agent Heather Dotson. Special Agents Klimek and Dotson are exceptional resources in the fight against domestic violence and human trafficking in the Dallas area. LADV honored these two advocates by placing a bench with a plaque, which honored their hard work, near the playset. This bench allows for Mosaic’s clients to sit on and watch over their children, as these advocates have watched, and continue to watch, over the Dallas community.

Anna Rupani is an attorney at Mosaic Family Service and can be reached at annar@mosaicservices.org. Matthew Agnew is an associate attorney at Polsinelli PC and can be reached at magnew@polsinelli.com. Charlie Gearing is a trial attorney at Figari + Davenport LLP and can be reached at Charles.Gearing@figdav.com.

Views and opinions expressed in eNews are those of their authors and not necessarily those of the Texas Young Lawyers Association or the State Bar of Texas.

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