The title of this post is line from the popular 1940’s movie, It’s a Wonderful Life. That line, along with my strong belief that people have the capacity to use and share wisdom through friendships and relationships, inspired me to form a non-profit with my friends last year.
Appropriately called Friends Unite, the mission of our 501(c)(3) non-profit organization is to provide the support necessary for people and communities to help themselves. Our goal is to provide support for the advancement of education, health services and other basic necessities, such as food, water and shelter to people and communities around the world. Of course, in doing so, we hope to form partnerships and friendships that will last a lifetime.
I’ve always felt that what makes our immigration law firm so special is that we believe in good relationships. Not just with our clients, but with each other as well. As a result, many of us have been together for quite a while. For example, our Senior Counsel has been with our law firm for close to 5 years. Our Senior Paralegals have been with us for over 4 years. And our Client Relations Manager, who is also the Vice President of Friends Unite, celebrates her 10th anniversary with the firm this year!
I consider all of them my friends.
Through Friends Unite, we have already created great relationships with people and organizations around the world. One such relationship is with Abraham Lueth, founder of the Southern Sudan Fellowship (SSF). This organization built a school for children in Southern Sudan, and is about to break ground on an all-girls High School in a city called Akot.
Southern Sudan was involved in a brutal civil war for over two decades. During the war, close to two million Sudanese were killed and roughly four million were forced to leave their homes. Many who suffered during the war were children. For those of you who want to learn more about the war, and its terrible impact on families and children in Southern Sudan, there is an excellent book I am reading titled ‘What is the What’ by Dave Eggers. The book tells the story of Valentino Achak Deng, one of the Lost Boys from the Sudanese civil war. Mr. Deng also gives back to the children of Southern Sudan through his Valentino Achak Deng Foundation.
Some of our other partners include WSAID, Brahmi, and the Africa Economic Foundation. The projects weare working on with them include an educational project on the Visceral Leishmanaisis Disease, a solar power project for a school in India, and a food security and microfinance project in a village called Kilisa in Kenya. We are excited about the relationships we are forming with our partners, as well as the work we are and will be doing together.
Feel free to visit the website of Friends Unite to learn more about our mission, vision, projects and partners. If you want to get involved with Friends Unite, please contact us. We welcome your participation and look forward to getting to know you.