2014 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Julia Souza

Julia Souza

Name of Host Organization: Law Foundation of Silicon Valley
City, State: San Jose, California
Issue area: Children/Youth, Disability Rights
Sponsors: Greenberg Traurig, LLP

The Project

Julia advocated for youth with mental health disabilities to ensure access to mental health services, education, and support services through direct representation, community outreach, and education.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project: 
Too many young people with mental health disabilities are undiagnosed, untreated, and not connected to the services to which they are legally entitled. Particularly for those who are members of an already-vulnerable community, the lack of essential educational and mental health services puts their very futures at risk. Julia ensured that these youths have the opportunity to thrive as they transition successfully into adulthood by increasing their access to mental health services, education, and support services.
Fellowship Highlights: 
In the past two years, Julia has:
• Provided direct legal services to almost 100 children and youth with mental health disabilities to help them gain access to educational and health services
• Worked with other local organizations in order to better serve special populations of youth, such as foster youth and youth in the juvenile justice system and provide them with critically needed services
Where are they now?: 
Now that the Fellowship is complete, Julia plans to:
• Continue advocating for children and youth through legal intervention
• Start a new position as a staff attorney at the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley and continue her work fighting for vulnerable youth populations

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