Arizona Legal Women And Youth Services (Project ALWAYS)
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Note from the CEO, January Contreras

     On behalf of our board of directors and our legal team, I want to thank the many people and organizations that have provided tremendous support to Arizona Legal Women And Youth Services, also known as Project ALWAYS, since we opened our doors eight months ago.  The free legal services we provide are in demand and we feel privileged to serve young women and men who are taking charge of their own paths despite experiencing homelessness or abuse or trafficking. I am proud to report we have also created several key partnerships with trusted community organizations that have long-served at-risk young adults and we thank them for believing in our work and referring people they serve to Project ALWAYS for legal needs.

When we began this journey last year, our team knew Arizona Legal Women And Youth Services could be a strong force for helping young Arizonans overcome legal obstacles.   Now, thanks to our supporters, we are achieving that goal every day. I am grateful. Although our clients’ life experiences often involve difficult circumstances, our work is made easier by their determination and resilience.  Whether we are asking a judge to set aside a client’s shoplifting conviction, helping a young mom obtain an Order of Protection, or assisting a homeless youth with a DACA immigration application, we feel privileged to be a part of removing barriers that stand in the way of safety, employment, or other paths to self-sufficiency.

Please take a moment to read the client stories featured in this newsletter and stay tuned in the coming months for more Project ALWAYS news and events including a reception in October.  
Also, if you are interested in volunteering or partnering with us, please contact me.  I look forward to hearing from you.

-January Contreras

Support Project ALWAYS. Make a 100% Tax Deductible Online Donation Today!

Introducing Our Board of Directors

Arizona Legal Women And Youth Services is grateful to the esteemed leaders serving on our board of directors.  This group of women and men, with experience and expertise in mission-focused philanthropy, the justice system, public policy, and government, are already providing seasoned advice and governance. We are proud to announce the Project ALWAYS board of directors. . .
Barbara Mundell
BARBARA MUNDELL, Founding Board Chair 
Barbara is a respected Judge who served in the Maricopa County Superior Court of Arizona from 1989 through her retirement in 2010. Her court experience includes a five-year term as the Presiding Judge for all trial courts in Maricopa County and extensive experience managing case assignments for civil, juvenile, family court, criminal, probate, and mental health as a trial judge.  
Nancy Baldwin is the Executive Director and a Trustee of the Hickey Family Foundation. Nancy has contributed her talents in the private sector and higher education since 1973. She currently serves on the City of Phoenix Human Trafficking Task Force.
Dennis K. Burke
Dennis K. Burke is a Co-Founder of Global Securities and Intelligence Strategies.  He has over 20 years of public service at both the Federal and State levels. In 2009, he was appointed as the United States Attorney for the District of Arizona.  Mr. Burke was Chief of Staff to Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano from 2003 to 2008 after serving as the Chief Deputy in the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.  
Beth Rosenberg
Beth Rosenberg has focused her career on advocacy and policy reform to make government systems more responsive to the needs of children and young adults. Beth is currently the Director of Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Policy at the Children’s Action Alliance.
Daniel Valenzuela
Councilman Daniel Valenzuela has provided leadership on the Phoenix City Council since Jan. 3, 2012.  He proudly represents District 5, which includes west and central Phoenix.  Daniel is committed to working with community leaders and his colleagues on the Council to continuously make Phoenix a better place to live.
Visit the Project ALWAYS webpage to read more about each board member.

ALWAYS Provides Human Trafficking 101 Training

More than 30 Arizona lawyers committed to meeting the legal needs of trafficking survivors recently joined us for an intense two days of legal training. The comprehensive training offered an in-depth overview of the legal issues affecting both victims of international and domestic human trafficking in civil, criminal, and immigration courts.  Our thanks to national partner, the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST), for coming to Arizona to share their experience and expertise. In order to receive the training at no cost, each attorney participant committed to take on one pro bono human trafficking case in the future.  Project ALWAYS recognizes the following organizations with appreciation for making this training possible:
  • CAST (Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking)
  • Hickey Family Foundation
  • Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education
  • Arizona Foundation for Women
  • CopperPoint Mutual Insurance Company

Opening Doors: Client Success Stories

Katie (name has been changed) is a 21-year-old, homeless mother who was referred to Project ALWAYS and was our first client. She tried to find a stable job, but employers told her they could not employ her due to information in her background check, which included a criminal offense from when she was 18.  Despite successfully going back to school to earn her diploma after her conviction, she continued to be turned away by employers.  Because she had proven herself to be ready and determined to make a better life for herself, she sought help from Project ALWAYS.  Our staff attorney successfully argued a motion to set aside her criminal conviction so employers would be more open to hiring her.  Katie is now working at a major technology company with a great hourly wage and monthly commission.  She also moved out of transitional housing and now has her own condo.

Veronica  (name has been changed) heard about Project ALWAYS through a friend. She had recently moved into her own apartment with her young child and was feeling good about her ability to support herself and her child in their own apartment. Within days of moving, her former boyfriend began to repeatedly harass her and make threats through texts and knocking on her door. The day she turned to us, we were able to assist Veronica in obtaining an Order of Protection. While waiting in the very courtroom where she received her order, Veronica received a new text from the Defendant warning that he would follow her to her last breath. In order to allow Veronica to move to a safe place with her child, we also assisted Veronica in her negotiations with her landlord to help her move out of her apartment. She has been able to maintain her employment despite the circumstances, and she continues to be a caring mother and self-sufficient young woman.

Help Us Reach Young Adults

Help us connect our free legal services to young adults who are impacted by homelessness, trafficking, or abuse.  If your organization serves men and women who are living on their own and under the age of 24, we are interested in being your partner. Please email us to request our referral cards and posters to spread the word about our services. 
Support Project ALWAYS. Make a 100% Tax Deductible Online Donation Today!

Thank you to our fiscal sponsor:
Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education

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 Arizona Legal Women And Youth Services (Project ALWAYS)

The mission of Project ALWAYS is to provide free legal services to young adults impacted by homelessness, sex trafficking, and abuse. Learn more about what we do here.  

Contact Us:
Mailing address: 5025 N. Central Ave #335, Phoenix, AZ 85012
Phone: 602-248-7055

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