Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Do a Mitzvah Every Day. Lawyers in Chicago Celebrate Involvement in Tutor/Mentor Programs

Yesterday was one of the special days of the year for me. I attended the 4th Annual My Hero Award Luncheon, hosted by The Sun-Times Judge Marovitz Lend A Hand Program of the Chicago Bar Association.

More than 200 high profile lawyers, judges and leaders of volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs gathered to recognize the involvement of individual attorneys and judges, as well as the involvement of law firms and law associations in tutoring/mentoring programs operating throughout the Chicago region.

The event honors the memory and example of Judge Abraham Lincoln Marovitz, who inspired the creation of the Lend A Hand Program in 1993, and who enabled it to grow with a generous gift from his estate when he died in 2002. The keynote speaker, Joseph A Morris, President of the Lincoln Legal Foundation told stories of Judge Abe, and emphasized his commitment to do something to help someone every day. "Do a Mitzvah every day." was his message.

A poem that the Judge quoted often, titled At Day's End, illustrated this commitment.

What makes this event special is that it not only honors the effort of individual volunteers as tutors/mentors in programs like Midtown Educational Foundation and Inspired Youth, but it recognizes the efforts of volunteers who sit on boards and who help raise money to fund tutor/mentor programs throughout the city and suburbs. The law firm of DLA Piper US LLP was recognized as "Law Firm Program of the Year" because of how it encourages so many of its attorneys to get involved with programs throughout the city, not just one or two high profile programs.

When Karen Wallace received her "Making a Difference Award" she quoted from W.E.B DuBois, who said "the right to learn is our most fundamental civil right". You can read that quote here, as part of a longer article about changes that need to take place in public education if pool and minority students in high poverty neighborhoods of all big cities are to have this right.

Judge Abe said, "Do a Mitzvah every day."

I hope that anyone who reads this will find a way to share this message in their own actions, becoming personally involved, and enlisting others to get involved. If you use your own communications tools -- a blog, a company newsletter, public presentations, etc. --- more people will spend time over the next four weeks searching out volunteer, leadership and donor opportunities in Chicago area tutor/mentor programs as school is beginning to start for the 2007-08 school year.

The result will be that more youth are on this path to learning and careers, and more lawyers, doctors, engineers, and other business sectors are working to build the infrastructure needed to support volunteer opportunities in constantly improving tutor/mentor programs, in Chicago, and in every other city of the country.

1 comment:

Tutor Mentor Connections said...

Posted for Beth Palmer of Inspired Youth

Thank you for your insightful, comprehensive comments about the Lend-A-Hand My Hero Awards Banquet. One thing I marvelled at in the awards banquet was that two (2) speakers quoted full-length poems. How often does that occur? In addition, one speaker said that he had been looking for a certain poem for years. How often do you hear a speaker at a prestigious banquet say they have been looking for a poem?

I also appreciated the breadth of organizations with which lawyers are involved which help youth of the city and metropolitan area.

Lend-A-Hand is to be commended for bringing together professionals with the ordinary children of Chicago.

Beth Palmer
Inspired Youth Tutoring