Last year at this time, I wrote here about the outrage, bigotry, unrest, and violence emerging from many quarters of our society, and the difference that one person can make in redirecting young lives and moving communities forward. That person was Naomi Ackerman, Founder of The Advot Project, the 2016 Blank Rome Adopt-A-Center recipient. I could not have predicted that one year later these same disturbing conditions would exist, and to a greater and more pervasive extent than our country has experienced in many decades.
What I could have predicted, however, was that our 2017 Adopt-A-Center recipient would be a truly unique and worthy nonprofit that was led by a visionary individual who is making a difference in the lives of local children and families. That person is Teo Alfero, founder and executive director of Wolf Connection, an educational sanctuary and wilderness retreat that brings people together through direct interaction with rescued wolves, empowering the next generation to become authentic leaders and stewards of the earth.
On Sunday, October 29, we have the rare opportunity to experience the teaching, healing, and connection that Teo Alfero has made his life’s mission. The Blank Rome Adopt-A-Center Program will host HOWL, a fair and concert at the Wolf Connection Ranch that will entertain, educate, and inspire. Guests will get an inside look at how the youth served by the program interact with the rescued wolves, experience the natural beauty of this unique sanctuary and wilderness retreat, and enjoy Halloween-themed activities as well as performances by Street Poets, internationally renowned guitarist Bibi McGill, and the band Grand Canyon.
Here in Los Angeles, we provide pro bono services through many nonprofit organizations, such as the Harriet Buhai Center, Bet Tzedek, Public Counsel, the Alliance for Children’s Rights, and Levitt & Quinn Family Law Center.
As a family law attorney, the well-being of children is a topic frequently in my thoughts. Too often, they become collateral damage when parents are separating and divorcing. And as evidenced all around our country, children and young adults can lose their way while growing up in the midst of the social chaos around them. I find renewed hope for the children and young adults in our Los Angeles community in the transformational work of the talented professionals and volunteers at Wolf Connection.
The Adopt-A-Center Program is only one aspect of Blank Rome’s proud tradition of corporate philanthropy. My colleagues at the firm work on behalf of numerous pro bono clients all over the country, including the homeless, the disabled, veterans, immigrants seeking asylum, Holocaust survivors, domestic violence victims, abused and neglected children, and low-income senior citizens. Here in Los Angeles, we provide pro bono services through many nonprofit organizations, such as the Harriet Buhai Center, Bet Tzedek, Public Counsel, the Alliance for Children’s Rights, and Levitt & Quinn Family Law Center.
More than 70 years ago, the firm’s founding partner, Edwin P. Rome, served as court-appointed counsel for Aaron “Treetop” Turner, an African-American laborer accused of beating to death a factory employee. Mr. Rome defended Mr. Turner over eleven years and through five separate trials during which he was convicted of murder five times, and sentenced to die four times. Ultimately, Mr. Turner was freed as a result of the decision of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on an appeal after the fifth trial. Current pro bono cases being handled by the firm involve claims of racial discrimination, civil rights actions, and death penalty cases.
Today, Edwin P. Rome’s tenacity and commitment to service are the inspiration for the Firm’s Clemency Project, one of the largest pro bono endeavors in its history. More than 100 lawyers and paralegals, from every Blank Rome office and practice group, engage in critical legal work to provide relief to nonviolent inmates serving disproportionately long sentences. And, in a tradition that began seven years ago, the firm sponsors a “Day of Service” on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, during which many of the firm’s lawyers participate in service projects in their communities.
I hope you will join us for HOWL on Sunday, October 29 at the Wolf Connection Ranch in Acton, CA. Advance ticketing is required. As in years past, we anticipate that our Adopt-A-Center Program will present a memorable and enriching experience for you and your family.