VLSP Thanks Volunteer LCSW Judi Iranyi
What VLSP Staff Say About Judi...
Thanks to Recent Volunteers
Volunteer Spotlight: Pearl Johnson
Calendar of Upcoming Trainings
Double Your Impact - Donate Now!
Memorial Services for Tanya Neiman
 VLSP Thanks Volunteer LCSW Judi Iranyi

by Tina Canas - Brown, VLSP Director of Social Services

It was nearly one year ago that I found out I was pregnant. All sorts of thoughts ran through my head:

“I can’t believe I’m pregnant.”
“Who is going to work with my clients?”
“I hope it’s a boy.”
“Who is going to supervise my students?”
“Actually, I don’t mind if it’s a girl”
“Who is going to advise the volunteers?”

I began to make plans for my maternity leave. I planned to stay home for a total of five months and needed to find someone to cover my position during that time. As Director of Social Services, my job encompasses many different responsibilities; supervising and evaluating social work students, dealing with difficult clients, advising staff and volunteers, and attending community meetings. Who had the necessary skills and qualifications, including knowledge of our program, and the availability to take over my full-time position? Would I be able to be out for such a long period?

There are times when we are directly confronted with the understanding that our lives are better off because of the help of others. In this instance, I was personally confronted with this reality. As an agency that is dependent on volunteers to provide our services, all of VLSP’s projects are aware of this concept on a daily basis. We depend on our volunteers to provide legal and social services to nearly 20,000 people a year.

Judi Iranyi, a retired, licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), has been a volunteer with VLSP for three years. Aside from performing case management duties for our clients, Judi has taken an active interest in the housing situation in San Francisco. She is a HAP representative at various community meetings and is a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Shelter Monitoring Committee. Despite her very busy schedule, Judi generously agreed to take over specific aspects of my job. As an LCSW, she is qualified to supervise HAP’s three social work interns. She also has the skills needed to help make client assessments and her fluency in Spanish allows her to work with our monolingual Spanish-speaking clients. Taking over my job duties would add over 5 hours a week to her already busy schedule.

After 5 months of spending time bonding with my newborn son Mason, I have returned refreshed (well somewhat) and rested (not really). There has been many times during my leave that I secretly thanked Judi for giving me this amazing opportunity; the first time I saw him smile, the day I could take a nap because he had been up all night, the time he was sick and I could rock him for hours without worrying about work. Thank you Judi, for allowing a mom to bond with her infant son!

Everyone at VLSP and HAP wishes to extend heartfelt thanks to Judi Iranyi for all of her volunteer work. A recipient of last year’s BASF / VLSP Community Service Award, Judi is an invaluable volunteer. For more information about providing pro bono legal or social services with VLSP and HAP, please contact our volunteer coordinator at vlsp@sfbar.org. Please read on to see what some VLSP staff members say about Judi Iranyi…


Judi Iranyi, Tina Canas-Brown and Mason.
 What VLSP Staff Say About Judi...

Judi Iranyi is a fabulous and valuable volunteer. To show her our appreciation, here’s what some VLSP and HAP staff have to say about Judi:

Abby Westbrook, HAP Social Worker
We survive at HAP through laughter and volunteers. Recently, a long-term HAP client needed assistance cleaning out his storage space. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do this job on my own. Before I even asked for assistance, Judi volunteered to bring her car and go with me. Cleaning out storage spaces is not the most glamorous part of our job, but thanks to Judi we were able laugh our way through it. I am very grateful to Judi for all of her hard work, support, energy, and (of course) laughter.

Damian Ochoa, Social Work Intern
As a social work intern with VLSP’s Courthouse Landlord/Tenant Project, I cannot say enough good things about Judi. She is a remarkable person and has been a very supportive clinical supervisor. She is a true role model and an outstanding LCSW. She has a deep compassion for the clients she serves and has always encouraged me to be the best social worker that I can be. Judi is flexible, committed, determined, and dedicated to social justice. Judi is a blessing to all of VLSP and is a dynamic individual to work with. She deserves much recognition for her constant volunteer work!

Tiela Chalmers, VLSP Acting Director
My most salient experience with Judi happened pretty recently, when she called with a case involving a man who is being evicted. Judi had been working with him, not just on the social services piece of the case, but also on the legal part of it. The man's eviction stemmed from a drug-related arrest, and Judi had called the man's public defender, written letters to the district attorney, and spoken with the San Francisco Housing Authority. When I expressed some doubts about the case, I could just hear her on the phone putting her hands on her hips as she pointed out the holes in the criminal case against the client, and the terrible situation facing the man's children, should he be convicted and evicted. She is such an effective advocate that I scurried back to my desk to make calls on the client's behalf. Tenacious, devoted to her clients, persuasive - Judi is incredibly effective.

Click here to continue reading "What VLSP Staff Says..."

 Thanks to Recent Volunteers

We'd like to say THANK YOU! to the following volunteers who took cases or participated in VLSP's projects and clinics in February 2006.

Family Law and VAWA Projects
Nick Baran, Michael Blacksburg, John Kaman, Molly Kane, Maria Labos, Nancy Lawlor, Jennifer Kim Letulle, Michelle Mandel, Monica Mazzei, Yasmine Mehmet, Monica Patel, Julie Santangelo, Joan Sinclair, Julia Spikes, Agata Sulczynski and Wesley Wozniak. .

Eviction Defense Project
Mark Epstein, Mark Goossens, Laurel Halbany, Jonathan Joiner, Farand Kan and Lisa Niebauer.

Courthouse Landlord/Tenant Project
Maureen Alger, Alexis Beach, Paul Behrend, Andrew Catterall, Laura Chiera, Jenny Dixon, Terrance Heath, Marilyn Izzy, Jonathan Joiner, Joyce Jordan, Sean Joyce, Allison Keegan, Mary Ann Meany, Cathy Mosbrucker, Mark Moyer, Susan Petro, Brenda Posada, William Shapiro, Jeffrey Spahn, Maymei Szeto and Azy Vahidi.
Special thanks to the following firms and law departments who recently participated in the Courthouse Project: Farella Braun + Martel LLP, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, PG&E Legal Department, and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

Community Organization Representation Project
Donald Brosnan, Marc Cardinal, Stephanie Raue Chalberg, Viviann Chui, Kristin Davis, Robert Depew, Patricia S. Kim, Stephen Lanctot, Shannon Melville and Suzanne White.

Homeless Advocacy Project
Tracy Donsky and Jessica Pliner.

Consumer and Tort Defense Projects
Jeffrey Maso, Andrew Ogilvie, Tony Rothschild (Bankruptcy) and Michael T. Turner.

Social Services Project
Dr. Al Ferrer, Judi Iranyi, LCSW, Zora Kokley and Ralph Notor, MFT.

Downtown Legal Advice and Referral Clinic
Attorneys: Brenda Altman, David Bigeleisen, Jessica Chylik, Chuck Geerhart, Karen Graf, Melvin Hodges, Robert Kroll, Matthew Mallet, Shawn Matloob, Russell Potter, Shawn Salehieh, Zadik Shapiro and Mike Turner.
Interviewers: Special thanks to the UC Berkeley Phi Alpha Delta pre-law co-ed fraternity Students: Stephanie Ahn, Scott Alto, Adam Borelli, Nathan Cao, Jessie Macaulay --Organizer, Gary Owens, Emily Sacks and Sally Quan.
Interpreters: Justin Baumli (Spanish), Hilary Comstock (Spanish), Asucena Davila (Spanish), Adrienne Lee(Cantonese/Mandarin), Ricky Leung (Cantonese/Mandarin), Ada Lowe and Nichole Young-Lin (Cantonese/Mandarin).
Social Worker: Tom Hagan and Lisa Schore.
Caller: Ruth Estrada.

Bayview Legal Advice and Referral Clinic
Attorneys: Brenda Altman, Marie Appel, Ray Bernstein, Tara Berta, Claudia Castillo, Jessica Chylik, Christian Llop, Shawn Matloob, Dave Pai, Russell Potter, Richard Roisman and Zadik Shapiro.
Interviewers: Cathy Blackstone, Jacqueline Boyd, Kimberly Brayton, Joyce Heinan, Ana Maria Johnson, Ann Cho Lucas, Tracy Reed and Vanessa Wills.
Interpreters: Stanley Shen (Cantonese/Mandarin), Ruth Estrada (Spanish) and Abner Morales (Spanish).
Caller: Ruth Estrada.

Interpreter Project
Nataly Arnon (Russian), Xiao Chen (Mandarin), Richard Nunez (Spanish), Angel Ruiz (Spanish).


Volunteers and Their Firms...

Click here to see a list of firms represented by volunteers who took cases in March 2006.

 Volunteer Spotlight: Pearl Johnson


VLSP / HAP volunteer Pearl Johnson, 1941 - 2006

One of BASF/VLSP’s Homeless Advocacy Project’s most loyal and beloved volunteers, Pearl Johnson, passed away in early February after a fatal injury in a biking accident. Since February 2002, Pearl generously donated her time to HAP every Wednesday and Thursday. Her cheerful presence, familiar face, and extraordinary competence will be greatly missed. HAP office manager Martha Garcia remembers her as “a person who was really alive, really interested and always full of energy. She was so faithful and very organized. When she got here our files were a disaster, and she kept everything so beautiful.”

Born in a small town in North Dakota, Pearl moved to Michigan in her twenties, where she spent over 30 years as a teacher and then a librarian. She moved to California to escape the cold Midwestern winters and began volunteering at HAP shortly after her arrival in the Bay Area. Pearl loved living in San Francisco, partly because she no longer had to travel during the holidays; “her loved ones wanted to come visit her much more frequently in San Francisco,” her son Ben remembers.

Pearl was fluent in German, and was an avid reader who preferred foreign films and thought-provoking cinema to Hollywood blockbusters. She loved the outdoors and regularly went on hikes in places all over the Bay Area and beyond. Pearl rode her bike almost six miles every weekend.

Pearl was always energetic and eager to help people. HAP Managing attorney Teresa Friend said Pearl’s “dedication and contributions to HAP were tremendous.”

Perhaps Martha Garcia puts it best: “She is irreplaceable.”

Click here to continue reading "Volunteer Spotlight." 

  
 Calendar of Upcoming Trainings

**Special note for Social Services volunteers: we now have our social services trainings available on videotape! See below for details.

All trainings are held at BASF/VLSP offices, 465 California Street, Suite 1100, San Francisco except where noted.

We have scheduled our annual live Homeless Advocacy Project volunteer training for Saturday, April 29. Please read below for more information!!

Courthouse Landlord/Tenant Project: Attorney of the Day
Taped training
April 18, 2006, 4:00 – 6:30pm
MCLE Credit: 2.5 hours
This training teaches the basics of representing low-income tenants who are facing eviction. Volunteer attorneys are needed to staff unlawful detainer settlement conferences and provide limited scope representation to un-represented litigants during these mandatory settlement conferences. Strategy considerations for the conference as well as tips for drafting settlement agreements are discussed. This is a great way to gain courtroom and litigation experience. A commitment to take at least four settlement conference shifts within the next six months of the training is required to attend. Participants must be licensed with the California State Bar and have active status, or be an emeritus attorney at the time of the training. Pre-registration is required. Registration will close at 5:00 pm the day before the training.
Email VLSP or call 415.782.8956 for more information.

Introduction to Landlord/Tenant Law
Taped training
April 19, 2006, 4:00 – 6:30pm
MCLE Credit: 2.5 hours
This training teaches the basics of representing low-income tenants who are facing eviction. This is a great way to gain courtroom and litigation experience. A commitment to take two pro bono cases for VLSP's Eviction Defense Project within the next year of the training is required to attend. Participants must be licensed with the California State Bar and have active status, or be an emeritus attorney at the time of the training. Pre-registration is required. Registration will close at 5:00 pm the day before the training.
Email VLSP or call 415.782.8956 to register, or for more information.

Introduction to Family Law
Live Training
April 27, 2006, 5:30 - 8:30pm
MCLE Credit: 3 hours
A live training for attorneys on simple dissolutions, custody and child support disputes taught by expert attorneys. This program provides a great way to learn about family law. A commitment to take two pro bono cases for VLSP's Family Law Project within the next year of the training is required to attend. Participants must be licensed with the California State Bar and have active status, or be an emeritus attorney at the time of the training. Pre-registration is required. Registration will close at 5:00 pm the day before the training.
Email VLSP or call 415.782.8956 to register, or for more information.

Homeless Advocacy Project (HAP)
Annual live training
Saturday, April 29, 2006, 8:45am – 4:45pm
Practising Law Institute, 685 Market Street, San Francisco
MCLE Credit: 7 hours
This annual live training provides an introduction to poverty law and general homeless issues in San Francisco. Primary topics covered include public and disability benefits, immigration and eviction defense. Other topics include psychosocial issues related to homelessness and a description of HAP and how our holistic services work. We utilize volunteer legal and social service professionals to make a real difference in our clients' lives. This training is open to attorneys, paralegals and law students. Pre-registration is required for this training. A commitment to represent at least three HAP clients within the year following the training is required to attend.

Email VLSP or call 415.865.9213 for more information.

Homelessness & Social Work
Taped Training

Provider #991, 2 hours of CEU for ASWs, LCSWs and MFTs.
Learn what distinct difficulties homeless individuals and families face. What can you as a provider do to address homelessness and advocate for those who are homeless? What legal remedies are available for those facing eviction and possible homelessness? This training examines many issues of homelessness in San Francisco and what you can do to better help your clients. Presented by Paul Boden and Dave Crow. This training is open to current VLSP volunteers and LCSWs, MFTs and ASWs who can commit to working with one VLSP client over the course of the next year.
Email VLSP or call 415.782.8956 for more information.

Alternatives in Psychotherapy: How to Use Expressive and Visual Arts in Therapy
Taped Training
Provider #991, 2 hours of CEU for ASWs, LCSWs and MFTs.

This two-hour workshop discusses Expressive Arts Therapy and how it is used. Case studies will be discussed as well. Presented by Mena Zaminsky, MFT. This training is open to current VLSP volunteers and LCSWs, MFTs and ASWs who can commit to working with one VLSP client over the course of the next year.
Email VLSP or call 415.782.8956 for more information.

APS and Guardianship
Taped Training
This training describes the services of Adult Protective Services - identifying elder abuse and neglect. When is it appropriate to call APS? What services will be provided? The training will also describe the use of a public guardian -- when should one be called and what is their role? Presented by Cindy Bircher, LCSW and Sharon Aurora. This training is open to current VLSP volunteers and LCSWs, MFTs and ASWs who can commit to working with one VLSP client over the course of the next year.
Email VLSP or call 415.782.8956 for more information.

 Double Your Impact - Donate Now!


This year, VLSP, with its partner the LRIS, together served 18,786 poor and low-income people in San Francisco. Of these, VLSP staff and 1,311 volunteers helped 7,511 clients with legal consultation and representation in every area of civil law. VLSP volunteers provided $9,882,883 in legal services.

Please make a donation today.


 Memorial Services for Tanya Neiman

Memorial services for our beloved director, Tanya Neiman, will be held on Wednesday, May 3, 2006 at 4:00pm in Grace Cathedral. For more information please visit www.sfbar.org or www.probono.net/sf.