IndyBar Members Show the Spirit of Giving Year-Round

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Be it spring, summer, fall or winter, IndyBar members have been hands-on from the start this year. Several IndyBar sections and divisions as well as Indianapolis Bar Foundation Fellows organized community service events that served in a variety of ways in 2014, from meal preparation to cleaning up downtown. While the service projects changed from month to month, one thing didn’t: the generous spirit of IndyBar members. At each event, a willingness and enthusiasm to give time, skills and financial resources was clearly present in each volunteer.

Young Lawyers Division and Go Green Committee: Great Indy Cleanup

The Young Lawyers Division (YLD) kicked off the year with a Go Green Committee volunteer event on April 26. They pitched in to help Keep Indianapolis Beautiful at the organization’s annual “Great Indy Cleanup.” The event was held in Fountain Square, and YLD volunteers spent the day painting a 4,500-square-foot mural in the neighborhood. More than 20 members from YLD participated, and the division donated $500 toward supplies that were used for the painting. The YLD certainly left a mark – the mural is visible underneath the Interstate 65 overpass at Prospect Street.

IBF Fellows: Gleaners and Ronald McDonald House of Indiana

IBF.jpg IBF Fellows assemble BackSacks at Gleaners Food Bank.

On July 23, Indianapolis Bar Foundation Distinguished Fellows spent the morning volunteering at Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana. During their time there, 12 Fellows and family members joined together to pack 1,854 BackSacks. BackSacks are grocery bags filled with food that are delivered to children every Friday throughout the school year. These bags provide elementary school students with nutritious meals and snacks during weekends. The volunteers worked for over two hours stuffing each bag full of kid-friendly, shelf-stable food for Indianapolis schoolchildren to enjoy.

IBF Distinguished Fellows also volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House on Sept. 30. They prepared and served a meal to around 40 guests who are all family members of seriously ill or injured children. The Fellows also donated items to the Ronald McDonald House, including hand sanitizer, deodorant, paper towels and other necessities. IBF Fellows have been volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House every year since 2010.

Health Care and Life Sciences Section: Growing Places Indy

On Aug. 3, members from the Health Care & Life Sciences Section got their hands dirty with Growing Places Indy. They spent the afternoon working at the Legacy Center, one of the organization’s seven farming sites in Indianapolis. Volunteers and some family members harvested cucumbers and tomatoes, turned over beds for fall crops and planted beets. These crops are then sold at a farm stand, local restaurants and in a Community Supported Agriculture program. Growing Places Indy works to cultivate the culture of urban agriculture and healthy lifestyle, and the IndyBar volunteers pitched in during one of their peak seasons to help do just that.

Women and the Law Division: Dream Dinners for EMBRACE and The Julian Center

The Women and the Law Division (WLD) helped prepare meals for families in need on Sept. 6 and 9. The group of 27 volunteers worked at Dream Dinners in Fishers, where they prepared meals for families of The Julian Center and Eskenazi’s EMBRACE program. The Julian Center supports women who are survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, and the EMBRACE program at Eskenazi provides support to female patients diagnosed with cancer. With the volunteers’ help and generous support from sponsors, around 140 three-serving meals were prepared for these families.

Indy Attorneys Network Section: The ISBA Annual Day of Service

NET.jpg Indy Attorneys Network Section pitches in during the ISBA Day of Service.

Later that month on Sept. 20, the Indy Attorneys Network Section took to the land and participated in the second “Annual Day of Service.” This event takes place statewide and covers a variety of service areas where attorneys and judges can work alongside one another to help out their communities. The Indy Attorneys Network Section volunteers worked at Indy Urban Acres, an eight-acre farm that donates all of its produce to local food pantries in a partnership with Gleaners Food Bank. Judges, lawyers, law students and family members joined in the project. The section members cleared an entire field of tomato plants and collected more than 200 pounds of tomatoes. Afterward, the volunteers delivered these tomatoes to the food bank.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Section: Mediation Day

The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Section finished September strong with their annual Mediation Day on Sept. 26. The event was coordinated by Section Chair Phyllis Armstrong of The Mediation Group and was hosted by Barnes & Thornburg LLP. Ten section members volunteered to spend a day mediating a total of 10 paternity court cases, which cleared up valuable room on the court’s docket. Law students were invited to shadow the mediation sessions and get a firsthand look at the process for the second year in a row. Two commissioners were also on site to sign any settlements, and Armstrong says that a majority of the cases usually reach settlement by the end of the day.

Labor & Employment Law Section: Small-Business Employment Law Seminar

On Nov. 13, the Labor & Employment Law Section hosted the “Small Business Employment Law Seminar,” a multi-hour event for small-business employers. The attorneys provided attendees with valuable tips and information in an informal and affordable setting. The program was designed to benefit employers who may not have their own human resource professionals or employment counsel. The seminar covered which employment laws apply to small-business owners, best practices for hiring and discipline, wage issues and essentials for personnel documentation.

Environmental Law Section: Second Helpings

ENV.jpg Environmental Law Section members pause for a group photo while volunteering to help Second Helpings prepare for its annual fundraising events.

On Nov. 14, members of the Environmental Law Section and IU McKinney School of Law Environmental Law Society volunteered at Second Helpings. The group toured the facility and then helped prepare it for Second Helpings’ annual fundraising events, Tiny Tonic and Tonic Ball. Each event features local artists and musicians and the funds go toward helping Second Helpings provide thousands of meals each day. Tiny Tonic was held on Nov. 16 and the Tonic Ball was held on Nov. 21.

Paralegal Committee: Teddy Bear Challenge for Bears on Patrol Program

On Dec. 4, the Paralegal Committee hosted their annual holiday luncheon and Teddy Bear Challenge. The Teddy Bear Challenge is part of the “Bears on Patrol” program, which collects stuffed animals to be given to children by first responders during frightening and challenging events. The Paralegal Committee collected 3,577 teddy bears this year and recognized Frost Brown Todd LLC for collecting the most bears of any firm at 1,487. Hoover Hull LLP was also recognized for donating the most bears per employee at 15 bears each. Cheryl Keene hand-knitted five animals for the cause. The collection went to representatives from the Marion County Sheriff’s Department, Indianapolis Fire Department and Indianapolis EMS.

Women and the Law Division: Coburn Place Holiday Party

On Dec. 13, the Women and the Law Division hosted a holiday party for families at the Coburn Place. Division Chair Elect Elizabeth R. Polleys of Marion County Prosecutor’s Office said, “Our holiday party at Coburn Place is a special opportunity to celebrate the holiday season with other members of our community. Our member-volunteers always enjoy this occasion to work together to provide a fun time for families who could most use some holiday cheer and the recognition that we are thinking about these families, we value them and we admire their courage in the face of domestic violence and other adversities.” Coburn Place is a residential domestic violence program and works to empower survivors of domestic violence. The Women and the Law Division has celebrated their holiday party with Coburn Place families for the past several years.

More to Come

The year may be coming to an end, but the spirit of giving is still going strong for IndyBar sections and divisions. Still to come in 2014, the Young Lawyers Division will “adopt” two families for the holidays. The division will purchase, wrap and deliver gifts for the eight members of these families. Photos from this project will be available online at

These generous initiatives will continue in 2015. With several volunteer projects already in the works, now is the perfect time to jump on board with an IndyBar section, division or committee so that you can make a difference in the city you call home and the community that is your own.•

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