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It’s National Volunteer Week, and this April, we’re showcasing an attorney who embodies the volunteer spirit as much as any other.
Mijrane Belizaire, owner of the low-bono practice Belizaire Law Office, has been a VIP volunteer for over a decade. Before becoming an attorney, she worked as an AmeriCorps VISTA at Habitat for Humanity, and in law school, she taught finance classes to community members through a legal clinic. “After these experiences, incorporating pro bono into my legal career was a natural next step,” she says.
When Mijrane wrapped up her latest homeownership case, we asked her to share her reflections on volunteering.
“I take VIP cases because the clients inspire me. There are so many good people in our city whose lives might change for the better with just a little help. For example, my VIP homeownership clients cannot afford home repairs without government assistance, but they cannot apply for assistance without title to the home. A volunteer can improve that client’s life exponentially by helping them obtain title.
“My most recent client faced a lot of obstacles in obtaining title to her late mother’s home. I admire her because she never stopped fighting and she kept her faith that one day, she would own her family home. Volunteering on this type of case can improve a client’s quality of life, which in turn improves their trust and engagement in our community.”
“Working with VIP has allowed me to serve those most in-need in our society. I have met so many great and deserving people along the way.
“Serving my VIP clients makes me proud to call myself an attorney. We lawyers have knowledge and education that we can use to help our community. So many Philadelphians need legal help – I encourage you to pay it forward and volunteer with VIP!”