LOWCOUNTRY LEGAL VOLUNTEERS MARK 20 YEARS
A single mother reaches out to Lowcountry Legal Volunteers. She has two jobs, three children and a desperate desire to care for them and spend more time with them. But the children’s father isn’t providing child support and she can’t afford to hire an attorney. The staff at Lowcountry Legal Volunteers, which includes a small team of full-time employees and about 30 volunteers, steps up to help.
Child support is secured. The mom quits her second job and gets to spend more time with her children. She attends more school events and is more present in her children’s lives. She feels better about herself; her self-esteem rises.“
It’s liberating,” said Brad Zervas, executive director of the nonprofit Lowcountry Legal Volunteers.
This type of success story has been a hallmark at Lowcountry Legal Volunteers for 20 years. Since it was founded in 2000, the organization has helped provide legal services for low-income residents in Beaufort, Jasper and Hampton counties — meeting with more than 2,000 clients, securing close to $2 million in overdue child support and providing about $12 million in free legal representation.
SINCE IT WAS FOUNDED IN 2000, THE ORGANIZATION HAS HELPED PROVIDE LEGAL SERVICES FOR LOW-INCOME RESIDENTS IN BEAUFORT, JASPER AND HAMPTON COUNTIES.
“We’ve affected more than a generation at this point,” said Anne Caywood, the group’s executive attorney who has practiced law for 18 years.
Located in Okatie in the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office’s Victims Services Center, Lowcountry Legal Volunteers handles a variety of cases, but Zervas said it primarily helps residents dealing with child support, child custody and divorce cases.
The group’s services are free — except for any filing fees — to potential clients who meet income requirements. Eligible fami-lies and individuals are those living at or below 150% of the federal poverty guidelines. Individuals are not asked about their immi-gration status when they seek services.
The group employs two full-time attorneys, one full-time paralegal, a full-time executive director and a full-time office administrator and grants manager, a position funded by a grant from Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. In addition to the staff attorneys, retired lawyers volunteer with the group and help clients. Other donors include S.C. Bar Foundation, United Way of the Lowcountry and Beaufort County Human Services Alliance.
Keri Jordan Olivetti and Maureen Coffey recognize a need among the area’s low-income residents for affordable legal help.
Lowcountry Legal Volunteers launches with Bree Kennedy as executive director thanks to grants from Community Foundation of the Lowcountry and The Bargain Box.
South Carolina Bar Foundation awards the group a $50,000 grant; over the years, it gives more than $1 million in funding.
United Way of the Lowcountry, The Heritage Classic Foundation, St. Francis Thrift Shop, Hargray Caring Coins Foundation, Coastal Community Foundation and the Beaufort County Human Services Alliance become supporters.
The amount of child support secured on behalf of clients exceeds $1 million.
The group relocates to the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office Victims Services Center.
Lowcountry Legal Volunteers marks 20 years serving more than 2,500 clients and 10,000 family members and providing more than $12 mil-lion in attorney representation.
Source: Lowcountry Legal Volunteers
20TH ANNIVERSARY GALA
When: 6-10 p.m. Feb. 22.
Where: Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort
Cost: Tickets start at $150
Speakers: James Smith, former Democratic state represen-tative (keynote); S.C. Sen. Tom Davis; Supreme Court Justice John Few
108 Traders Cross | Okatie, SC 29909 | 843.815.1570 | www.lowcountrylegalvolunteers.org