Sarah Summers

The Project

This Fellowship addressed the need for legal representation for survivors of human trafficking in Colorado. This Fellowship allowed Colorado Legal Services to accept at least 15 additional cases beyond its usual rate each year and provided survivors of trafficking with no-cost, culturally competent legal representation. This project increased the ability of the Colorado legal community to serve survivors of trafficking. 

Sarah’s project provided direct legal representation, legal information and legal advice to meet the needs of trafficking survivors, including: applications for Continued Presence, T nonimmigrant status (“T Visas”), other immigration services for survivors of trafficking, victim’s rights advocacy, civil litigation, assistance obtaining benefits, sealing of criminal records and rectifying identity theft. 

Sarah has dedicated her career to work exclusively with victims of human trafficking and other crimes. She is passionate about providing equal access to legal services to residents of Colorado, particularly those who have experienced human trafficking. Her experience includes providing legal information, advice, and direct representation to survivors of in the areas of immigration, protection orders, victim’s rights enforcement and housing. In addition, Sarah has a great understanding and appreciation of the importance of trauma-informed representation and cultural sensitivity in working with survivors of trafficking. 

The Project

First, many military members suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”) and Traumatic Brain Injury (“TBI”) as a result of combat. Without proper treatment, continued service in the military can become impracticable. Eric advocated on behalf of the veteran to remove or change stigmatizing and unsubstantiated military discharge characterizations, particularly for combat veterans suffering from PTSD and TBI. Second, many financially vulnerable Texas veterans seek to alleviate financial woes by turning to short-term loans offered by payday lenders. Eric advocated on behalf of those who are victims of deceptive trade practices by predatory lenders.

Justice that is not within the reach of all cannot be blind in application to any. It is social justice that demands the corridors remain open. To that end, I strive.

Eric Marfin /
Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Alyssa advocated and provided legal assistance for the educational rights of homeless students in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs through outreach, community education and direct representation.

Homeless students face significant obstacles in accessing education, forced to transfer schools numerous times, and an inability to get transportation to school. The suburbs of Chicago have seen a dramatic increase in poverty rates that accounted for almost half the statewide increase. Due to the needs and demand the Law Project’s ability to serve suburban homeless students and ability to serve students trying to access selective enrollment schools and preschools is limited.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past two years, Alyssa has:

  • Conducted 42 trainings about educational rights for homeless youth at schools, shelters, townships, youth service providers and transitional housing programs
  • Assisted 124 students with immediate enrollment in school, access to transportation services to and from school, preschool programs, financial aid, fee waivers and credit recovery
  • Distributed over 31,596 informational materials on educational rights for homeless youth and children throughout Chicago and the surrounding suburbs
  • Attended 58 community outreach events and back to school fairs where she engaged with community members and school personal

What’s Next

Now that the Fellowship is complete, Alyssa plans to continue her project’s work as the Education Attorney at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. Alyssa will continue to advocate for the educational rights of homeless students in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs with an emphasis on access to preschool and option schools including selective enrollment, charter and magnet schools.