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At the Center — Oct-Dec 2009

NCYL Attorney Jesse Hahnel Awarded Prestigious Education Fellowship

Jesse Hahnel

Jesse Hahnel

NCYL Attorney and Skadden Fellow Jesse Hahnel has been chosen as one of two fellows by The Mind Trust, a national non-profit supporting education innovation and entrepreneurship, based in Indianapolis, Indiana. Jesse, and Stephanie Saroki, former director of K-12 programs for The Philanthropy Roundtable in Washington, DC, were chosen from a field of 405 applicants from 20 counties. Each will receive two years’ salary ($90,000/year) with full benefits, a start-up stipend, and ongoing support from The Mind Trust Board and staff, “enabling them to develop, build, and launch their initiatives in Indianapolis and nationwide.”

Jesse begins his Mind Trust Fellowship in September 2010, when he completes his Skadden Fellowship, and will continue his work on NCYL’s Foster Youth Education Initiative. The initiative helps foster youth receive the educational advocacy and opportunities they need, facilitating the creation of inter-agency advocacy systems. These systems identify foster youth who show early signs of academic setbacks (e.g. absences, poor grades), and ensure they receive the educational advocacy, supports and opportunities required to succeed in school.

Jeffrey Lozer of the Indiana Department of Child Services praised Jesse’s fellowship award, noting his “initiative is very timely and will help us effectively pursue our goals by increasing the collaboration of the government and non-profit sector programs and refocusing local efforts around ensuring foster youth have access to stable and effective schooling.”

Jesse’s interest in education – and particularly in foster youth – stems from his experience as a public school teacher in Washington, D.C. and New York City after he graduated from college. His parents are also both teachers. Jesse has led the Research and Evaluation Team at the KIPP Foundation and worked with Partners in School Innovation. He has also worked at advocacy organizations, including Public Advocates, Inc. and Stanford’s Youth and Education Law Project.

Jesse earned a B.A. in Mathematics, cum laude, from Harvard College in three years, and graduated Order of the Coif from Stanford Law School.

“We continue to be overwhelmed by the response to The Mind Trust’s Education Entrepreneur Fellowship and the transformative ventures applicants propose,” said David Harris, the Trust’s President and CEO. “The Fellows we are selecting today will make an enormous difference in the lives of some of the most challenged young people in Indianapolis and across the country.”


NCYL Welcomes Deferred Associates, Volunteer Attorney

Mari Calder

Mari Calder

Mari Calder is a 2009 graduate of UC Berkeley School of Law. She has chosen to take a year-long deferral from Hogan & Hartson LLP to work at NCYL. During law school, Mari volunteered with Community Legal Outreach’s health and public benefits clinics and was on the Berkeley Technology & Law Journal. She also clerked at the Federal Trade Commission, focusing on consumer protection and antitrust matters. Mari grew up in Princeton, NJ and received her undergraduate degree from Harvard, magna cum laude, where she majored in Government. She is fluent in Japanese and took time off from college to work as a reporter for the Tokyo Bureau of Time Magazine. While living in Tokyo, Mari also volunteered at the Japan Civil Liberties Union. After college, Mari worked concurrently at the Harvard Program on U.S.-Japan Relations and the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, doing writing and research. In addition to working at NCYL, Mari is volunteering at the Cooperative Restraining Order Clinic in San Francisco, a non-profit that provides legal support to survivors of domestic violence. At NCYL, she is working on improving foster children’s access to mental health services, and juvenile justice reform. In December 2010, Mari will become an associate at the Washington, D.C. office of Hogan & Hartson.

Camille Roberts

Camille Roberts

Camille Roberts joined NCYL in November 2009 through a 14-month fellowship with Sidley Austin, LLP. While at NCYL, she is focusing on child welfare and juvenile justice issues. She is currently working on litigation to reform the foster care system in Clark County (Las Vegas), Nevada. Camille, who just passed the bar, earned her law degree in 2009 from UC Berkeley School of Law, where she was Articles Editor for Ecology Law Quarterly. While in law school, she successfully represented an asylum candidate through the school’s California Asylum Representation Clinic. Camille is fluent in Spanish, and prior to law school spent two years living in Chile, interning at Amnesty International in Santiago. Camille earned her undergraduate degree in 2004 from the University of Colorado, with a B.A. in International Affairs.

Shira Weissman

Shira Weissman

Shira Weissman is a 2008 graduate of Northwestern University School of Law.  She is volunteering at NCYL, working with attorney Rebecca Gudeman on reproductive health care rights for foster youth.  Shira obtained her B.A. in political science from the University of Michigan and has an M.S. in education from Pace University in New York. Prior to law school, Shira spent two years as a third-grade teacher at P.S. 1 in the Bronx with Teach for America. She often served as an advocate for her students to get the special services they were entitled to.  After teaching, Shira spent a year traveling throughout Southeast Asia and India, and taught in a school for homeless children in Varanasi, India. During law school, Shira worked on juvenile delinquency and school expulsion cases at the Bluhm Legal Clinic.  She also clerked for the Cook County Public Defender’s Office and the Office of Attorney General. Following law school, she worked as a litigation associate at Baker & McKenzie in Chicago. Shira just recently moved to the Bay Area and hopes to build a career in child advocacy.


NCYL Welcomes New Law Clerks & Interns

Back row: Kate Walker, Novella Coleman, Nicholas Joy. Front row: Abby Barnes, Alexis Adler.

Back row: Kate Walker, Novella Coleman, Nicholas Joy. Front row: Abby Barnes, Alexis Adler.

Alexis Adler is in her third year at U.C. Berkeley School of Law. She is a former editor-in-chief of the Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law and a member of the East Bay Community Law Center Student Steering Committee. During law school, Alexis clerked at the Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office’s Domestic Violence Unit, and the East Bay Community Law Center’s Medical-Legal Partnership with Children’s Hospital Oakland. She also volunteered with the California Asylum Representation Clinic. Alexis graduated Phi Beta Kappa from U.C. Berkeley with a B.A. in Rhetoric. Before law school, Alexis taught Social Studies to fourth and fifth graders with Breakthrough Collaborative in San Francisco, spending school recesses mastering Foursquare. Her experience teaching inspired her to go to law school to pursue a career in child advocacy. Alexis is working at NCYL on child welfare and juvenile justice reform.

Abby Barnes is a junior at Vanderbilt University, majoring in Human & Organizational Development and Child Studies. Abby helps run Synergy, a tutoring and mentoring program that matches college mentors with students in Metro Nashville Public Schools. She also volunteers weekly at a school for special education students. Abby interned earlier this year at the Silver Spring Day School, a preschool in Silver Spring, Maryland, and Red Beet Records in East Nashville. Abby is very excited to be spending the semester in the Bay Area interning with NCYL. She is working with Communications Director Tracy Schroth.

Novella Coleman is a second-year at Harvard Law School. At NCYL, Novella is working with attorneys Leecia Welch and Jesse Hahnel on education issues. Novella’s interest in the educational success of all students goes back to her undergraduate years at Stanford University. There, she served on the local NAACP’s Education and Community Service Committee, and volunteered as a tutor with Ravenswood Reads. She also volunteered at the Bresee Foundation Youth Center, where she co-led workshops, tutored, and supervised field trips. During summers as an undergraduate, Novella tutored students in reading at Berendo Middle School in Central Los Angeles, and taught math at Hoover Middle School in San Jose through Breakthrough Collaborative. After graduating with a B.A.S. in mathematics and philosophy, Novella was a Cosby Fellow at Stanford’s School of Education where she earned a California teaching credential and M.A. in education. Novella has taught math at San Lorenzo High School, Lakeside School, and East Palo Alto Academy. As a law student, Novella has gained experience in different areas of public interest law, including internships at the ACLU’s Drug Law Reform Project and the Boston Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, where she worked on employment discrimination cases based on race and national origin. This summer, Novella will be working at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights in San Francisco.

Nicholas Joy is a second-year at Harvard Law School. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2008 with a degree in History and Classical Studies. A Bay Area native, he spent last summer as a law clerk at the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office in San Jose, where he worked for supervisors on the Motions, Writs, & Appeals and Sexual Assaults teams. As an undergraduate, he spent a summer interning at the Family Law Facilitator’s Office at the San Mateo County Superior Court in Redwood City. At NCYL, he is working with Bill Grimm, Leecia Welch, and Camille Roberts on a lawsuit intended to reform the child welfare system in Clark County, Nevada. He is very excited to get to spend the semester advocating for under-served youth.

Kate Walker is a second-year at the University of Iowa College of Law. She is a student writer on the Journal of Gender, Race & Justice, and board member of Iowa’s Equal Justice Foundation. Kate earned her undergraduate degree in Public Policy Analysis with a focus in Psychology from Pomona College in Claremont, California. During undergrad, she played soccer and served as a co-captain of the team her senior year. She also tutored for the Upward Bound program. During her year between undergrad and law school, Kate worked at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles in the Housing Unit working on evictions and foreclosures. Following her first year at University of Iowa, she interned at the Alliance for Children’s Rights (ACR) in Los Angeles. During her time at ACR, she focused primarily on special education issues, developed special-education training materials, and worked directly with clients to assess and assist in individualized education planning. She is working with Deputy Director Patrick Gardner on T.R. v. Dreyfus, a case in Washington State to improve access to mental health services for children with Medicaid. Additionally, she is working with Fiza Quriashi on the Juvenile Mental Health Collaborative Court in Alameda County. Kate, an Iowa native, is happily avoiding a freezing Iowa winter this year to work with NCYL! She will be continuing as a law clerk at NCYL through summer 2010.


Larry Nguyen Joins NCYL as Assistant Administrator

Larry Nguyen

Larry Nguyen

Larry Nguyen is NCYL’s  new Assistant Administrator. He earned his B.S. from UC Berkeley, majoring in Sociology and Environmental Economics & Policy.

Prior to joining NCYL, he provided administrative support to the Prevention Institute in Oakland, CA, a non-profit dedicated to violence prevention and addressing health disparities within marginalized communities.

Larry also served as a Peer Leader at the Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center in San Francisco, providing support and educational services to LGBTQ and/or Asian American & Pacific Islander youth.


Bryn Martyna Returning to NCYL Following Maternity Leave

Bryn Martyna and son, Calvin

Bryn Martyna and son, Calvin

NCYL attorney Bryn Martyna will be returning to NCYL in February after her maternity leave. She and husband, Matthew Bruss, are the proud parents of son Calvin. (See photo at right of Bryn and Calvin, who is wearing his gift from the NCYL staff.)


John F. O’Toole, Jr., 1918-2009

John F. O’Toole, Jr.

John F. O’Toole, Jr.

John F. O’Toole, Jr., the father of NCYL Director John O’Toole and a longtime supporter of NCYL, died November 5th at the age of 91. Mr. O’Toole, known as “Jack”, was the only person in America who read every word of Youth Law News, according to his son, John. He most certainly was the only person who called in grammatical and typographical corrections as well as his suggestions about syntax and content. Jack loved NCYL’s work and NCYL was his favorite charity.

At the time of this posting of Youth Law News, the following people had made gifts to NCYL in memory of Jack O’Toole:

  • George and Dorothy Boyhan
  • Tom and Nancy M. Boyhan
  • Rudolph and Ellen Caganek
  • Jimmy and Marion Cathcart
  • Former US Sen. Dick and Julie Clark
  • Jim Duncan
  • Doyle and Elza Gilbert
  • Pam Yee and Yosh Ito
  • Elizabeth Smith-Malik
  • Doug Lappi and Darlene Martineau
  • Marcia Chan and Richard Padovani
  • Marci Rubin
  • Stephen Bates and Leecia Welch
  • Christopher and Jenny Wu
  • Shirley Hom and Daniel Yee
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