Hickey: Food For Thought

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IBA-Hickey-ChristineSeveral weeks ago, I attended a press conference called by Attorney General Greg Zoeller. The news to be released: that attorneys are once again doing good. In fact, attorneys across the state banded together to contribute fifty tons of food for regional food banks. Indianapolis boasted the top firms with the largest contributions in each of three categories: large firms, small firms, and law offices of public or nonprofit lawyers. Not surprisingly, the attorney leading the charge for the large firm winner is a graduate of the IBA Bar Leader Series.

Fast forward to one week later: I attended the graduation of the IBA Bar Leader Series VI. Attorneys selected for the Bar Leader program are expected to develop and execute a community service team project, details of which are shared during the final day culminating in graduation from the program. Enter 25 lawyers, add the Bar Leader Series, and a grant from the Indianapolis Bar Foundation, and it’s pretty powerful. As I sat during presentations made by the groups of five, I was awestruck by the generosity of time and talent that these attorneys contributed to our community. It was during the presentation of these projects that I realized how important it was to share them with our members. These are their stories.

Abandoned Housing. For the homeowner, tackling a problem involving abandoned housing isn’t easy. In fact, when five lawyers got together to decide how best to help in this area, they discovered that first-hand. They set about to gather resources, find answers, and to create a resource guide to empower communities to use tools available to them to help combat the problem. The resource guide is a comprehensive tool for the public that provides in one place answers to problems presented by abandoned housing.

B.L.I.N.G. A second group chose to focus on mentoring young students by teaming up with B.L.I.N.G: Business Leadership in the Next Generation In doing so, the attorneys put together an orientation kick off program aimed at encouraging greater parent and student participation. In addition, two students in this summer program will be sponsored by this group of Bar Leaders.

Peace Coaches Program. These five lawyers underwent training through the Peace Learning Center and then took what they learned back to the Shortridge Magnet School in a firstof-its-kind Peace Coaches Program. Through the program, the attorneys taught children about managing emotions, listening skills, what makes an acceptable apology, and a host of other topics aimed at peaceful conflict resolution.

FUTSOUL. Concerned about combating gang-related activities in a suburb of Indianapolis, this group channeled their energies into creating something lasting for a multicultural community starving for a positive outlet for children. From securing a site to creating a logo, a youth sporting league was created. The attorneys not only organized, structured, and planned a long-term vision for the FUTSOUL league, but they learned this soccer-like sport themselves and even coach on the weekends!

Tumble for Troops. The final program created during this Bar Leader Series focused on the temporarily-fractured military family. Understanding that spouses and children grappling with a missing spouse or parent can feel isolated, this group hosted an event in April to bring these families together for a stress-free evening of fun and support. The event also served to announce the creation of a website to connect these military families to loved ones on active duty and to each other.

As diverse as they were creative, the projects selected by the attorneys were not in areas where their skill and training prepared them for practice. The projects chosen were as powerful as the message they delivered: that even in unfamiliar territory, attorneys are leaders who have the ability to make a difference when they set their mind to it. Whether through an organized forum or on your own, from helping to combat depletion of food for the needy to creating a positive outlet for impressionable youth, these types of community projects impact not only a community, but also the attorneys who participate in them. Now that is food for thought.

The IBA Bar Leader Series helps prepare attorneys to assume leadership roles in their profession and the community. The application process for the next series is now open and I encourage lawyers in their third through tenth year of practice to submit an application (available at by the deadline of June 21, 2010.•


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  1. Especially I would like to see all the republican voting patriotic good ole boys to stop and understand that the wars they have been volunteering for all along (especially the past decade at least) have not been for God & Jesus etc no far from it unless you think George Washington's face on the US dollar is god (and we know many do). When I saw the movie about Chris Kyle, I thought wow how many Hoosiers are just like this guy, out there taking orders to do the nasty on the designated bad guys, sometimes bleeding and dying, sometimes just serving and coming home to defend a system that really just views them as reliable cannon fodder. Maybe if the Christians of the red states would stop volunteering for the imperial legions and begin collecting welfare instead of working their butts off, there would be a change in attitude from the haughty professorial overlords that tell us when democracy is allowed and when it isn't. To come home from guarding the borders of the sandbox just to hear if they want the government to protect this country's borders then they are racists and bigots. Well maybe the professorial overlords should gird their own loins for war and fight their own battles in the sandbox. We can see what kind of system this really is from lawsuits like this and we can understand who it really serves. NOT US.... I mean what are all you Hoosiers waving the flag for, the right of the president to start wars of aggression to benefit the Saudis, the right of gay marriage, the right for illegal immigrants to invade our country, and the right of the ACLU to sue over displays of Baby Jesus? The right of the 1 percenters to get richer, the right of zombie banks to use taxpayer money to stay out of bankruptcy? The right of Congress to start a pissing match that could end in WWIII in Ukraine? None of that crud benefits us. We should be like the Amish. You don't have to go far from this farcical lawsuit to find the wise ones, they're in the buggies in the streets not far away....

  2. Moreover, we all know that the well heeled ACLU has a litigation strategy of outspending their adversaries. And, with the help of the legal system well trained in secularism, on top of the genuinely and admittedly secular 1st amendment, they have the strategic high ground. Maybe Christians should begin like the Amish to withdraw their services from the state and the public and become themselves a "people who shall dwell alone" and foster their own kind and let the other individuals and money interests fight it out endlessly in court. I mean, if "the people" don't see how little the state serves their interests, putting Mammon first at nearly every turn, then maybe it is time they wake up and smell the coffee. Maybe all the displays of religiosity by American poohbahs on down the decades have been a mask of piety that concealed their own materialistic inclinations. I know a lot of patriotic Christians don't like that notion but I entertain it more and more all the time.

  3. If I were a judge (and I am not just a humble citizen) I would be inclined to make a finding that there was no real controversy and dismiss them. Do we allow a lawsuit every time someone's feelings are hurt now? It's preposterous. The 1st amendment has become a sword in the hands of those who actually want to suppress religious liberty according to their own backers' conception of how it will serve their own private interests. The state has a duty of impartiality to all citizens to spend its judicial resources wisely and flush these idiotic suits over Nativity Scenes down the toilet where they belong... however as Christians we should welcome them as they are the very sort of persecution that separates the sheep from the wolves.

  4. What about the single mothers trying to protect their children from mentally abusive grandparents who hide who they truly are behind mounds and years of medication and have mentally abused their own children to the point of one being in jail and the other was on drugs. What about trying to keep those children from being subjected to the same abuse they were as a child? I can understand in the instance about the parent losing their right and the grandparent having raised the child previously! But not all circumstances grant this being OKAY! some of us parents are trying to protect our children and yes it is our God given right to make those decisions for our children as adults!! This is not just black and white and I will fight every ounce of this to get denied

  5. Mr Smith the theory of Christian persecution in Indiana has been run by the Indiana Supreme Court and soundly rejected there is no such thing according to those who rule over us. it is a thought crime to think otherwise.