Volunteers Celebrated at Annual Appreciation Event

On April 12, De Novo celebrated the work of 137 volunteers at its annual Volunteer Appreciation Event and Dr. Joseph H. Brenner Award Ceremony at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. Members of Greater Boston’s vibrant legal and social justice communities gathered to honor the remarkable legal and mental health professionals who donate over one-half million dollars in direct services to De Novo annually.

Together De Novo volunteers give well over 12,600 hours of service each year. They serve in a wide range of capacities, from legal representation, to mental health services, to administrative support for vulnerable women, men and teens. They also provide outreach to underserved populations, and advocate for improved access to civil legal assistance and counseling.

“It really does take an agency to win a case. The amount of hard work - hundreds if not thousands of hours in coordinated efforts between legal and counseling staff and volunteers,” said Susie Kaim, a clinical social worker who volunteers with De Novo’s counseling program.

Among the evening’s highlights, Kaim and volunteer immigration attorney Julie Bowden each spoke about their experiences working with clients who have survived unspeakable violence and abuse. Mayor Marc McGovern was the keynote speaker, and accepted the 2018 Dr. Joseph H. Brenner Award on behalf of the City of Cambridge.

“We can only thrive when we all feel invested in the collective well-being of everyone in our community – when we are committed to uplifting the most marginalized and to amplifying their voices,” said Mayor McGovern.

The annual Brenner Award recognizes and celebrates community leaders and professionals who embody a spirit of volunteerism and who, by example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service.

“I truly believe Cambridge has the potential to become a model of equity and justice,” said Mayor McGovern. “Not only because we have the willpower and resources, but because we have passionate people like you on the front lines who are committed to living out our values every day.”

Amanda Becker