Equal Justice Works chooses student as summer standout

Jeni GarberA Seattle University School of Law student is one of only 10 students in the country to be named an Equal Justice Works Summer Corps Standout Award Winner. Jeni Garber, 3L, was selected from more than 400 Summer Corps members for her work with the Center for Children and Youth Justice.

"It's overwhelming to receive this honor from Equal Justice Works when the Summer Corps, itself, is full of individuals working on unique and much-needed services," Garber said. "Personally, this award reinforces my belief that the legal community does not exist in a vacuum and that to be successful, legal services providers must work intimately with the social services community - without this collaboration, we are not providing holistic services and cannot effect large-scale change."

The Center for Children & Youth Justice focuses on improving the lives of youth involved in Washington's foster care and juvenile justice systems. Garber works with the Lawyers Fostering Independence program, providing free civil legal assistance to young adults ages 17-23 who were involved in foster care in their later teens (15 and up). The goal is to provide youth exiting the foster care system with a support network to clear their legal issues and better their opportunities.

"For me the work is simply about the youth and helping them transition into a stable and independent adulthood," Garber said.

She has worked to build the program in the Seattle area, meeting with various youth-serving organizations, such as drop-in day centers, residential facilities, public defenders and vocational programs. She works to raise awareness of the program and help service providers identify when they should refer clients with a legal issue.

Garber is very active in social justice activities and received the law school's 2009 Justice in the Community Award. Among her work, she established a law school chapter of the Street Youth Legal Advocates of Washington and was an intern at Columbia Legal Services.

Equal Justice Works Summer Corps members are engaged with a broad range of issues, including civil rights, community economic development, death penalty, disability rights, housing, domestic violence, education, public benefits and workers' rights. Ten SU law students are involved. Read more.