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Emily Schools

2013, Equal Justice Works Fellowships, Emily Schools

Emily Schools

Name of Host Organization: Legal Aid of Northwest Texas
City, State: Abilene , Texas
Issue area: Children/Youth
Sponsors: Texas Access to Justice Foundation

The Project

Emily developed a juvenile division in Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas’s Abilene office that provided education and advocacy for youth struggling with homelessness and opportunity barriers created by their prior involvement with the justice system.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project
There are more than 100,000 runaway and homeless youth in Texas each year, hundreds from Abilene. Abilene is a relatively small town of 117,000, but its youth population struggles with many of the same issues as youth in much larger metropolitan areas: homelessness, unstable home life, and involvement in the juvenile justice system. Even minor offenses can impede securing future meaningful employment, higher education, and freedom from the transgressions of youth. Most of these youth are unaware of the possibility of sealing or expunging their juvenile records. Northwest Texas, however, has lacked free legal services specifically dedicated to serving its youth, and helping them get on the right track as they approach adulthood.