Posted on February 22, 2012

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta proudly welcomes four new Board members:

  • Kathleen Bardell, General Counsel for Power Generation Services at GE Energy;
  • Jared Brandman, Securities Counsel for the Office of the Secretary at The Coca-Cola Company;
  • Brent Houk, Labor & Employment Counsel for United Parcel Service; and
  • Tricia Kinney, Senior Counsel of Litigation for Kimberly-Clark Corporation.
New PBPA Board Members (L-R: Jared Brandman,
Tricia Kinney, Brent Houk and Kathleen Bardell)

Kathleen Bardell joined GE in 2006 from Cozen O’Connor. Pro bono work has been one of Kathleen’s priorities since she attended law school. She leads the Street Law pro bono program at GE and has participated in Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta’s Nonprofit Legal Check Up Program. Kathleen and her husband have two children, ages 10 and 9. She enjoys spending time with her family, golfing, scuba diving and skiing.

Jared Brandman, joined The Coca-Cola Company in 2010 after spending five years at Paul Hastings. Jared, whose commitment to helping nonprofit organizations through the Partnership dates back to 2006, notes: “I am not only privileged to meet so many amazing men and women that provide such valuable services, goods and support to people in need, but also to help ensure that these charitable organizations are appropriately structured and benefit from best practice corporate governance policies and procedures.” Jared has two children and enjoys helping his wife in her new business, EnchantedKidz, which offers dress-up clothes for kids.

Brent Houk has over 20 years of labor & employment law experience. Prior to joining UPS in 2005, he worked as Assistant General Counsel for Overnite Transportation. His volunteer involvement with the Partnership has ranged from helping nonprofit organizations comply with the proper classification of independent contractors and employees to drafting and implementing employee handbooks. “Ethical considerations requiring us not to take on work we are not competent to perform make us wary,” Brent notes. “This is where Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta makes the difference, for many of us, between our wishing we had the tools to participate and our actual participation.” Brent dedicates much of his time outside of work to coaching youth baseball and basketball teams.

Tricia Kinney, who joined Kimberly-Clark in 2007, spent ten years in the Labor and Employment group at Powell Goldstein (now Bryan Cave). At Kimberly-Clark, she focuses on complex business, products liability, personal injury and employment litigation. Tricia has served as a board member of the Sports Network Corporate Board for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA), and on the Advisory Committee for the Atlanta Legal Aid Society. “Through both of these organizations, I have seen the amazing and direct impact that pro bono assistance and community involvement have on people’s lives, at particularly vulnerable times, when often a little bit of assistance makes a truly critical difference.” Tricia is a mother of three and in her free time she enjoys playing with her children and running.

Posted on August 14, 2011

Kelly Duncan, born profoundly deaf, was the first hearing impaired firefighter ever hired at Station 4, the busiest station in Clayton County. Because of cochlear implants and the therapy she received at the Auditory-Verbal Center, she is able to do the job she loves. Jonathan Brilling was also born profoundly deaf and started therapy at the Center when he was only six weeks old.

Therapy at Auditory-Verbal Center

He just graduated as a Lieutenant and member of the Armed Exhibition Drill Team from Riverside Military Academy. Auditory-Verbal Center has many more success stories like these with 100% of its graduates age three or older attending regular schools.

The Auditory-Verbal Center has two locations, Atlanta and Macon, but serves people all over the state of Georgia. The audiology department provides total hearing healthcare through diagnostic testing, hearing aids, and even newborn screening. The Auditory-Verbal Center is one of only a few organizations to provide newborn hearing screening or ABR without sedation. The Audiology department serves anyone from birth to senior.

The Auditory-Verbal Center provides auditory-verbal therapy for very young children who are deaf or hard of hearing. There is an optimal period of time for therapy because a child’s greatest capacity for learning language occurs within the first few years of life. The goal of the therapy is to enable mild to profoundly deaf children to have independent hearing and communication, without the use of sign language or lip reading. Both the child and the family attend therapy sessions at the Center once a week and then implement the techniques at home. When a child graduates from the program they are age appropriate expressively and receptively to their hearing peers by the time they enter kindergarten.

The Auditory-Verbal Center provides this hearing therapy for a fraction of the cost of conventional methods. The Center does not turn families away because of lack of funds and often provides families with discounts and scholarships. According to Debbie Brilling, the CEO of the Auditory-Verbal Center, “Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta is an amazing resource that helps to ensure more money goes toward helping children. The pro bono attorneys we have worked with have been top-notch.” Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta has matched the Center with the following volunteer attorneys to help with various contracts and employment matters: Todd Grice of The Coca-Cola Company, Bryony Bowers of AGL Resources, and Kelly Giustina of Delta Airlines.

Posted on February 13, 2011

Over 100 attorneys gathered at AGL Resources on January 25, 2011 to celebrate another successful year for Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta. For the sixth year in a row, PBP-Atl held an appreciation reception for its donors and volunteers and also presented special recognition awards.

PBP-Atl’s Board Chair, Frank Landgraff of GE Energy, started off the evening by thanking PBP-Atl donors, including the following donors who gave $25,000 or more in 2010: The Coca-Cola Company, GE Energy, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, SunTrust Foundation, Sutherland and UPS Foundation. Executive Director Rachel Epps Spears then presented a new volunteer recruitment video produced and donated by Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Ms. Spears thanked all of PBP-Atl’s volunteers who contributed free legal services valued at over $2.4 million to nonprofit organizations in 2011. Frabel glass peach sculptures were then presented to the following attorneys, law firms and corporations in recognition for outstanding volunteer achievement:

  • The Home Depot, Corporation of the Year
  • Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton, Law Firm of the Year
  • Volunteers of the Year:
    Elizabeth Finn Johnson of The Coca-Cola Company
    Jared Brandman of The Coca-Cola Company
    Jim Coil of Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton
    Dan Rollman of DLA Piper

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta also gave special appreciation awards to Turner Broadcasting System for the donation of the new videos and to United Parcel Service for its $50,000 grant to PBP-Atl through the UPS Foundation, which is the largest single donation that PBP-Atl has ever received.

“Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta would not exist without our volunteers and donors,” said Spears. “This event gives us the opportunity to thank them and to highlight the extraordinary work of some of our outstanding volunteers.”

Posted on November 3, 2010

According to the American Bar Association’s Commission on Domestic Violence, 1.3 million women are physically assaulted by an intimate partner every year in the United States. In 2000, 1,247 women were killed by an intimate partner.

S.H.A.R.E. House Quilt

In response to this tragic situation, battered women’s shelters such as the S.H.A.R.E House, in Douglasville, Georgia, have made it their mission to offer a safe place for victims of domestic violence. The S.H.A.R.E. House’s 24-hour emergency shelter provides 25 beds to battered and homeless women and children, as well as three meals per day.

The S.H.A.R.E. House is devoted to bringing a sense of order and stability into the lives of women and children affected by domestic violence. The organization offers seven transitional apartments to help get women get back on their feet and take back their lives. Women who participate in the transitional program can receive job-readiness training, enroll in school, and take advantage of employer connections. Support groups, such as parenting classes and life-skills classes, are offered to battered women, and children who come from violent homes are also provided counseling.

Of the work that Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta has done for this deserving organization, S.H.A.R.E. House executive director Teresa Smith has said, “we greatly appreciate the knowledge and support that the volunteer attorneys have provided to S.H.A.R.E House. Their compassion for our needs as a nonprofit and willingness to work with us and guide the organization on issues when legal services are not available have been outstanding.”

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta has matched the S.H.A.R.E. House with several volunteer attorneys to strengthen the legal health of the organization. Currently, Diane Prucino of Kilpatrick Stockton is advising the S.H.A.R.E. House on an employment-related matter; and Tamera Woodard of Schiff Hardin is making revisions to the employee handbook. John Lewis of the Coca-Cola Company and Jill Wasserman of King & Spalding advised the S.H.A.R.E. House during a recent Nonprofit Legal Check–Up organized by Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta. The organization is currently seeking assistance from a volunteer attorney with revising its client handbook and addressing liability concerns.

Posted on June 20, 2010

When VOICE Today founder Angela Williams spoke to three hundred women attending a retreat last year at Callaway Gardens and asked for volunteers to share if they had suffered from sexual abuse, over half of the women stood up. Many of these women broke the silence on their abuse for the first time that day and subsequently made a commitment to healing and restoration.

Angela Williams (founder) &
Tom Scales (executive director)

VOICE Today’s mission is to break the silence and cycle of sexual abuse through protection, prevention, and healing. VOICE Today offers educational workshops that teach adults how to actively and proactively protect children from sexual abuse. Parents learn how to talk to their children about sexuality and personal boundaries. Understanding personal boundaries prepares a child to recognize the difference between OK behavior and not OK behavior. VOICE Today promotes engaging in this communication early on so that even young children will know if someone is acting inappropriately.

In addition to teaching prevention skills, VOICE Today’s workshops teach adults how to detect signals of abuse. An abused child is more likely to tell a nurse, teacher, or classmate about the abuse than his or her own parents, often because the perpetrator is someone the child’s family knows and trusts. VOICE Today strives to take the burden of reporting abuse off of the child by emphasizing adult intervention. VOICE Today empowers adults to be alert to symptoms of abuse in their own children as well as other children in their community.

VOICE Today also hosts workshops and support groups for survivors of sexual abuse to promote restoration and healing. Because the full-time VOICE Today volunteers are survivors of sexual abuse, they know firsthand what it is like to endure the abuse and live with its devastating effects.

It is the vision of VOICE Today to change the world into a place that is safe for children and compassionate to survivors. While child abuse is a worldwide problem, awareness and prevention programs are virtually unheard of in many other countries. VOICE Today has promoted its cause in Mexico and is currently working with a ministry for exploited children in Bulgaria. VOICE Today is also collaborating with students at the Savannah College of Art and Design to create educational books and dolls based on the books’ characters.

Pro Bono Partnerhip of Atlanta has matched VOICE Today with Chris Bussert and Sabina Vayner of Kilpatrick Stockton and Mialeeka Williams of The Coca-Cola Company who are currently advising VOICE Today on trademark, copyright, and website issues, and Mona Maerz of Chamberlain Hrdlicka, who is working with the organization on waivers and releases.

Posted on January 27, 2010

Nearly 100 attorneys gathered at Georgia Power Company on January 26, 2010 to celebrate another successful year for Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta (PBP-Atl). For the fifth year in a row, PBP-Atl held an appreciation reception for its donors and volunteers and also presented special recognition awards. PBP-Atl thanks Georgia Power Company for hosting the wonderful evening.

Jo Ann Cooper of Refugee Women’s Network and Chad Hale of Georgia Avenue Community Ministry, both clients of Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta, spoke about the importance of PBP-Atl to the nonprofit community. PBP-Atl’s Board Vice Chairman, Frank Landgraff, and Executive Director, Rachel Epps Spears then presented Frabel glass peach sculptures in recognition of the following awards for outstanding volunteer achievement:

  • United Parcel Service, Corporation of the Year
  • DLA Piper, Law Firm of the Year
  • Lawton Hawkins of Coca-Cola Company, In-House Volunteer of the Year
  • Nancy K. Kumar of Georgia Power Company, In-House Volunteer of the Year
  • George Sewell, Volunteer of the Year
  • Valerie King of Baker Donelson, Law Firm Volunteer of the Year
  • Stuart Neiman of Kilpatrick Stockton, Law Firm Volunteer of the Year
  • Jennifer Van Ness of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan, Law Firm Volunteer of the Year
  • Thomas Bishop of Georgia Power Company, Special Recognition Award

PBP-Atl also recognized the Association of Corporate Counsel – Georgia Chapter for hosting, and Kilpatrick Stockton for sponsoring, the 2009 Golf, Tennis & Spa Event, which raised over $60,000 for PBP-Atl.

“Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta would not exist without our volunteers and donors,” said Ms. Spears. “This event gives us the opportunity to thank them and to highlight the extraordinary work of some of our outstanding volunteers.”