Spring 2016 Justice for All Celebration - Stark County

Spring 2016 Justice for All Celebration
Stark County

On Thursday, April 21, Community Legal Aid Services, Inc. held its “Spring 2016 Justice for All Event” at the Cultural Center for the Arts in Canton.  The event honored a community partner, two volunteer attorneys, and two staff members who have done exemplary work in promoting equal justice in Stark County.

Community Award

At the event, Stark County Job and Family Services received the Community Award, which recognizes an agency that has partnered with Legal Aid in an effort to promote safety, health, stability, and economic security in the community.  Through their partnership, Legal Aid and SCJFS have been able to provide services that enable their clients to achieve self-sufficiency. These effective services include a coordinated referral system for clients seeking better employment opportunities by the sealing of criminal records, engaging fathers with their children, responsibly promoting parental rights and obligations and diligently working with the marginalized to navigate the public benefits system. 

Mayor Thomas Bernabei of Canton presented the award to Robert Pierson, Deputy Director for Child Support.

Pro Bono Award

Alex Robertson, Attorney at Law, and Jeremy Foltz, Attorney at Law, were both recognized with the Pro Bono Award, which honors an attorney who has made a significant contribution to Legal Aid’s Volunteer Legal Services Program.  These attorneys dedicate hours of free time to working with clients who would otherwise be unable to afford such assistance.  

Mr. Robertson is a private attorney from Alliance, OH.  He has volunteered in over thirty of Legal Aid’s Consumer Debt Clinics since 2013.  Individuals who are being sued on a credit card action have benefited immensely from his knowledge and expertise in this area in what is surely a a financially stressful and difficult time. He goes out of his way to explain the process to his clients and make sure that they understands their rights and responsibilities.

Mr. Foltz is a family law attorney from Plain Township and a Magistrate for the Canton Municipal Court. He has represented low income clients in over fifty cases since he began volunteering for Legal Aid in 2009.  Mr. Foltz regularly (and willingly) takes cases that have been described as "outside of the box," those which involve intricate legal issues and often require a great time commitment.  In addition to these cases, Jeremy also volunteers with the reduced fee divorce program and pro se clinics.

The Pro Bono Awards were presented by Judge John W. Wise of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Employee Recognition Award

Employee Recognition Awards were given to Paralegals Kelley Molla and Cheryl Steele for their passion and commitment to Legal Aid.  

Kelley Molla has been with Legal Aid since 1991, first working as a receptionist and then as a VLSP paralegal with the Legal Assistance to Victims team, where she is dedicated to working towards keeping women and children safe. Her passion for this work extends beyond Legal Aid, as she is involved with the Stark County Domestic Violence Collaborative and the Victim’s Rights Coalition. Kelley is a life long resident of Canton and a graduate of Timken High School. 

Cheryl Steele has been with Legal Aid for over 28 years, joing the Stark County Legal Aid Society in 1988. Prior to that, she worked at the Stark County Clerk of Court’s Office and for private firms. Cheryl has worked in various capacities at the Canton office, including in payroll and on housing the team. She is currently a VLSP paralegal on the Access to Justice Team, and is glad to make a difference in lives of the clients that she assists, especially at custody and pro se divorce clinics. Cheryl previously served as an officer on the Northeast Area Renaissance (NEAR) Board.

The awards were presented by Nancy Grim, President of Legal Aid’s Board of Trustees.

Photos from the Event

Pictured (left to right): Sara Strattan, Executive Director; Nancy Grim, Board President; Judge John Wise, Fifth District Court of Appeals; Kelley Molla, Employee Recognition Winner; Mayor Thomas Bernabei, City of Canton; Attorney Jeremy Foltz, Pro Bono Award Winner; Cheryl Steele, Employee Recognition Winner & Rob Pierson, Representing Stark County Job & Family Services, Community Award Winner. (Not pictured: Alex Robertson, Pro Bono Award Winner)

Mayor Thomas Bernabei, City of Canton & Robert Pierson, Deputy Director, SCJFS

Pro Bono Award Winner Jeremy Foltz & Judge John Wise, Fifth District Court of Appeals

Board President Nancy Grim & Employee Award Winner Kelley Molla

Board President Nancy Grim & Employee Award Winner Cheryl Steele

Legal Aid's Canton Office Staff.  Back row: Shelly Ridzon, Ken Mirkin, John Petit, Cheryl Steele.  Front Row: Jeanne Charles, Kelley Molla, Dawn Spriggs.

For more photos, visit our Facebook page.

Posted: April 22, 2016