The Philadelphia Association of Defense Counsel (PADC) is an active participant in the Philadelphia community as our members strive to demonstrate their commitment to give back to the community in which they practice law. Community service activity increased dramatically in 2017. This increase can be traced to the establishment of a standing Pro Bono/Community Service Committee chaired by PADC Executive Committee member Rebecca Grausam of Robert J. Casey, Jr. and Associates, and Committee members Harriet Anderson, Jennifer Coatsworth, Colleen Hayes, and Lauren Brown. There is a new member for 2018, Sarah Adams. Rebecca’s leadership has taken PADC’s community engagement to a new level through volunteer activities and a broadening of PADC’s charitable contributions.
Spearheaded by PADC Vice President Harriet Anderson, PADC members, including, Madeline Sherry, PADC Treasurer Jennifer Seme, Rebecca Grausam, Lauren Brown, Jennifer Coatsworth, In-Sook Kim and Harriet Anderson, volunteered in an August 1, 2017 “Friends and Family” service day at the Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia, preparing and serving dinner to the families staying at the House. The mission of RMH is to “…create, find and support programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children and their families.” PADC members Joe Stathius, Jim Tolerico, and PADC President Joe Cincotta worked the grills as guest BBQ chefs! Generous donations were also made by PADC President-Elect Bob Cosgrove and Past PADC President Bob Casey.
On January 15, 2018, PADC participated in the “Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service”. PADC members Rebecca Grausam, Vice President Harriet Anderson, President Joe Cincotta, Jennifer Coatsworth, Colleen Hayes, Past PADC Presidents Madeline Sherry and Wes Payne, Executive Director Dave Cole, President-Elect Bob Cosgrove, John McNamara and PADC sponsor Cathy Kane of Advanced Depositions worked together to remove invasive species and debris at Bartram’s Garden to prepare the site for an anticipated greenhouse. Volunteers socialized afterwards with a pizza lunch.
PADC members are also volunteering their time to several ongoing community service activities:
PADC members, including PADC Vice President Harriet Anderson, Secretary Dan Ferhat, Tara Thompson and Sarah Adams volunteer with The Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement’s Literature Based Mock Trial Program. The program helps students and classroom teachers develop students’ analytical and public speaking skills. Volunteers coach student teams as they prepare and present mock trials to federal judges who are deeply committed to the program.
Jason Poore, the Young Lawyer Representative on PADC’s Executive Committee, is also the founder of the Youth Courts Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association. Youth Courts are student run in-school alternative disciplinary courts that adjudicate minor school infractions. The goals of the program include fostering student accountability through restorative punishments, and avoiding suspensions which can contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline. Recently, Jason, together with Mike Jervis (another PADC Executive Committee member) and other members of the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Bar Associations, joined in a successful campaign to secure passage of Pennsylvania Senate Resolution 32. The Resolution established an advisory committee that will investigate, in the course of the next 18 months, how to best implement Youth Courts on a statewide basis. The committee is comprised of teachers, lawyers, judges, police officers and school security officials. Jason is on the committee.
PADC donated to various charities in 2017:
PADC made a monetary donation on behalf of 2017 William J. O’Brien Distinguished Service Award recipient Madeline Sherry to her designated charity, Aerie Africa. PADC also made a monetary donation on behalf of 2017 Joseph H. Foster Young Lawyer Award recipient Hillary Ladov to DuPont Children’s Hospital.
At its June 2017 Annual Meeting & Golf Outing, PADC collected books, and donations towards books, for kindergartners at the Thomas G. Morton Elementary School, located at 63rd and Elmwood Streets in Philadelphia. The generous contributions provided by PADC members benefitted approximately 90 students.
In December 2017, PADC and Robert J. Casey and Associates partnered with Comfort Cases and Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) to collect items to benefit Philadelphia area children transitioning into foster care. Comfort Cases’ mission is to provide a sense of dignity to foster children, many of whom carry little more than the clothes on their backs. For those who are afforded the opportunity to collect personal belongings, they often have nothing to carry them in other than a trash bag. Comfort Cases provides a proper bag, filled with essential and comfort items to youth in foster care. PADC and Robert J. Casey and Associates assembled 16 complete comfort cases and collected $860.00 in monetary donations towards Comfort Cases.
Community service opportunities will continue in 2018 and 2019. If you would like to join the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee or have suggestions for PADC involvement in worthy community service programs, you may contact Rebecca Grausam at 215-841-3032 or at firstname.lastname@example.org