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Stephanie Bonilla

2017, Equal Justice Works Fellowships, Stephanie Bonilla

Stephanie Bonilla

Name of Host Organization: Kids in Need of Defense
City, State: Boston, Massachusetts
Issue area: Immigrant Populations
Sponsors: Microsoft Corporation, Pfizer, Inc.

The Project

Provide immigration legal services to unaccompanied noncitizen youth by creating a medical-legal partnership between KIND’s Boston Office and Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) in Massachusetts.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project
This project will address the needs of unaccompanied noncitizen youth that often fall through the cracks in the delivery of pro bono legal services because they are not in removal proceedings or do not fulfill the case criteria for existing legal aid organizations. A two-way referral system between KIND and CHA will be created. KIND clients are often in need of medical and mental health services.
The Right Person For This Project

Stephanie is the right person for the project because:
• She has experience working with youth and social services organizations given her past experience as a case manager for families struggling with homelessness and as a fellow for an organization supporting youth who are court involved, homeless, or at risk of dropping out of school
• She is personally connected to the plight of immigrant youth arriving to the United States after being raised in Honduras

Plans For First Six Months of Fellowship

In the first six months, Stephanie will:
• Meet with CHA to review the patient social history assessment or other methods for screening for immigration needs in order to start creating a functioning two way referral system
• Conduct presentations to providers at CHA, health clinics, and schools in order to spread important immigration information and spread awareness of the project
• Begin direct representation with clients