Community Service

The election of President Barack Obama has demonstrated that America is progressing. But the reality is that while we look to President Obama to improve our immediate circumstance, our future as a nation lay in the hands of our children. We can not allow these exciting times o render us complacent and we must remain diligent in our efforts to educate and prepare our children for future leadership and responsibility.

Taft Foley III is an active cub scout. His scouting activities include camping, community service and wide variety of fun filled leadership training activities. Scouting teaches leadership development, good citizenship, honesty and integrity. On the day of his very first cub scout meeting, Taft III discussed his future aspirations (which include fighting crime with Spiderman, and driving a race car) as well as his desire to help oppressed and underprivileged members of society. President Clinton encouraged Taft III to continue with his scouting, get the best grades in school, and stay enthusiastic about helping others.

Last year as a kindergartner, Taft was the youngest member in the history of his school’s chess team. Taft III went on to finish 5th out of 32 children in his very first interscholastic chess tournament (was the youngest member in his school’s history to ever place at a tournament) and was named as one of the co-captains of his chess team. As a first grader, Taft III has won several chess matches and continues to enjoy chess.

Taft III and his father are currently red belts in Tae Kwon Do. Tae Kwon Do has taught Taft III self discipline, dedication, courtesy, respect and honor. Taft III is only three belts away from his Black Belt and will be one of the youngest Black Belts in the history of his Tae Kwon Do School. Tae Kwon Do affords the Foley men and opportunity to exercise, bond, spend time together and most importantly it is extremely fun.

ATTORNEY TAFT FOLEY IS A FORMER STAFF MEMBER OF THE N.A.A.C.P. LEGAL RE-ADRESS PROGRAM. Mr. Foley and The Foley Law Firm have continued their support through financial contributions and volunteer services. The Legal Redress Program is in its 16th year of operation and continues to be recognized as the premiere legal service provider for low income Texas in the Houston EMA. The program receives funding from the Texas Equal Access to Justice Foundation and Ryan White Title 1 funds administered by Harris County HIV Services, According to the Federal Government, 16.2% of 3.7 million inhabitants of Harris County lie below the poverty line (www.fedstats.go). Unfortunately, the needs of working poor and the indigent continue to steadily increase. Therefore, the assistance/intervention of the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Redress Program in issues such disparate treatment in the educational process, denial of entitlement benefits, housing and landlord/tenant disputes, and family law matters remains paramount.

The Legal Program continues to thrive, in part, because of its close ties to the community, non-stall pro- bono attorneys, and area social service agencies. In fact, the pro-bono component continues to be an important part of the Saturday Clinic. The program has been successful with recruiting recent law school graduates and experienced attorneys to volunteer at our clinics and provide our clients with consultations and brief services. Volunteers play a crucial role in the operation and success of our clients. Because our volunteers come in with their own areas of expertise (such as labor and employment law), our volunteers help us expand our priority areas and allow us to help more clients. In addition, utilizing our volunteers has allowed us to streamline our intake process on Saturdays. As a result we are usually able to have all those who qualify meet with a lawyer on the same day.

The N.A.A.C.P. Legal Advocacy Program has also worked closely with community organizations and legal service organizations. Among the organizations that provide legal services to the indigent we’ve worked with include Catholic Churches, Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse, the Women’s Advocacy Project, Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program, Lone Star Legal Aid, Chinese American Citizens Organization, Advocacy, Inc., and Texas Rio Grande Legal Aide. Our programs has also collaborated with social and human service organizations such as Houston Area Women’s Center, Aids Foundation Houston and Montrose Counseling Center, in an effort to treat our clients holistically. We understand that many of clients’ legal problems are only one of the issues they experience-many of which are directly related to poverty of domestic violence.

In 2006 alone the legal Redress Program closed over 800 cases with over 300 of those cases resulting in advice and counsel and over 40 cases resulting in a decision and/or settlement by a court of administrative agency. The program also acquired $20,844 in various types of settlements and gained $7,255 in monthly benefits for its clients.

In spite of the many accomplishments of the Legal Redress Program, we recognize that there is still a great need to serve eligible clients who have legitimate issues for which an attorney also could also provide direct client services beyond client and advice. There is an even greater need to serve members of the community who have never had access to legal representation. Fulfilling the need continues to be one of the cornerstones of the N.A.A.C.P. Houston Branch Legal Redress Program.

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