Lawyers and kids connect through cyberspace

first_img Lawyers and kids connect through cyberspace Associate Editor After a long day as a Miami criminal defense lawyer, Mark Eiglarsh got home around 8 p.m., greeted his wife, gave his yellow lab pup a pat on the head, and checked his e-mail. He smiled. There it was again: another computer message from a sophomore at the Legal and Public Affairs Magnet at Miami Senior High asking another interesting question: “If George Bush catches Osama bin Laden and chooses to have secret trials, what would your feelings be as a former prosecutor?” Before he kicked back for the evening, Eiglarsh was happy to zap back a thoughtful answer. Summed up briefly, it went something like this: “I am not in favor of anything secretive. I already have problems with cameras not permitted in federal court. And a trial about something the entire nation has strong feelings about shouldn’t be kept from public view. On the other hand, if I were the lawyer representing him, I wouldn’t want to let anyone into the courtroom.” And so goes another day in the life of an “e-mentor” participating in a new project launched by the Dade County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division. “It’s going spectacularly,” reports Eiglarsh, who co-chairs the bar association’s Schools Committee and serves on Dade’s YLD board of directors. “My mentee is a sophomore who has a 4.4 grade point average and is extremely communicative. I feared he would not be, but from Day One he has had no problem opening up.” His mentee, Daris Hechevarria, agrees the new e-mentoring experience is rolling along great with Eiglarsh, who was a state prosecutor before becoming a criminal defense lawyer, and loves to tell his war stories of what it’s really like in court. “My mentor is the perfect match for me, because I want to be in the FBI and my mentor is in criminal defense. We were made for each other,” says Hechevarria, who participates in his school’s mock trial team and plans to get a degree in criminology. Even e-mentoring has the power to carry a personal touch. “The idea of being matched up with someone who is in the field of work that you want to go into is genius. It is like having a friend that can tell you anything that you want to know about law. I personally love law, so this program is ideal for me,” Hechevarria says. That’s the idea of e-mentoring, a chance for high school students interested in a legal career to learn from real-life lawyers. And the give-and-take of ideas, feelings, and information is as easy as typing on a computer keyboard — mentoring that can be accomplished any time of day or night. The rules for the e-mentoring project say there must be at least one e-mail exchange a week. But the words are flowing freely for most mentors and mentees. “We e-mail most every day, and he always has questions for me. We’ve spoken not only about political issues and controversial issues. We also warmed up in the beginning with family issues. I learned he had a poodle growing up. I had to admit that I, too, had two French poodles growing up, but made him promise not to tell anyone. Now I have a yellow lab who’s 65 pounds,” Eiglarsh adds with a laugh. As a board member of Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Eiglarsh has long known the satisfaction of mentoring children, and he admits the time and energy it takes to spend time with a child in person is more rewarding. But in the busy world of lawyering, he applauds the convenience of cyberspace connecting, and believes it, too, has the potential to make a positive difference in motivating and inspiring children. “Just knowing a concerned adult in a kid’s life is there ready to answer questions is very valuable,” Eiglarsh says. “It’s very, very accommodating to be able to communicate through this manner, because you have access to a device, 24-7.” And Hechevarria adds: “I used to never go online except for doing homework. But now I have something to look forward to every time I sign on.” In late October, the e-mentoring project kicked off with an opening event that provided a chance for the students to get to know their e-mentors face-to-face. As Justin Elegant, program coordinator of the e-mentoring project, and co-chair of the Schools Committee, described it: “In a private room in the back of the library, there were a group of mentors on one side and nervous mentees on the other. After some brief remarks, they were ordered to find their partner, with the same number on the name tag, and have some food and cake. Then they went off to different tables in the library and talked. Some talked for about an hour. It was so nice to see the relationships forming.” Elegant, who also serves on the advisory board of the legal magnet program at Miami High, said his goal was to link the school’s program and the young lawyers of the Dade County Bar Association. “I spent a lot of time researching programs throughout the country,” Elegant said. “I didn’t find one like this anywhere in the country.” Recently, he was very pleased to learn that just two weeks after the opening event, the American Bar Association YLD has nominated his program for presentation at its Spring Conference in May in Denver, Colorado. The program is coordinated at the school through lead teacher Ed Asper, who says: “The legal profession gets a bum rap about how cold and materialistic lawyers are, but lawyers are also very warm when it comes to students and education.. . . Even if these students never go into the profession, at least these students have been exposed to the law. And the whole community will benefit, because now we have been preparing better citizens.” E-mentoring is a lot more structured than back-and-forth computer messages between students and lawyers. Elegant crafted a 16-page document that outlines everything from general tips for successful mentoring (use spell check on all e-mail messages to ensure accuracy) to general tips for mentees (express feelings and emotions, be truthful and honest) to program structure (a minimum of weekly e-mails on Tuesday or Wednesday, and three required face-to-face meetings at Miami Senior High throughout the year) to safety policies (do not share your home address or phone number, no gift-giving of any kind). Elegant jump-starts the communication with topics of the week and appointed a steering committee of three lawyers — Leyza F. Blanco, Elizabeth B. Honkonen, and Misty Taylor — to closely monitor the progress and success of the mentoring relationships. The first week’s get-to-know-you topic started out casually: “What is your favorite food? Book? Movie? If you could have dinner with any two people, who and why?” The topic of the second week turned to serious current events: “What should the U.S. do with the site where the World Trade Center towers stood? Will the U.S. capture Osama bin Laden? Do you think that capturing bin Laden will solve the problem of terrorism? Why, or why not? Should the U.S. alter its immigration policies?” So far, the project involving 14 girls and eight boys is so popular, there is already a waiting list of mentors and mentees. Elegant said he wanted to keep it small so the program could be monitored closely to ensure its success. When Elegant kicked off the program with a little talk at Miami High, he explained the mission to the students as “enhancing your education with real work and career-type advice and to give you another positive adult role model to help you. Your mentor will be kind of a tutor, kind of a friend, somebody you can work with and learn from.” In the middle of his talk, Elegant tossed in the notion of networking and how to get summer jobs related to the law, and a student raised his hand and said, “I just want to thank you for working on this project.” When it came time to pair up mentors and mentees, Christi Sherouse, a Coral Gables attorney, couldn’t have been happier. “When my mentee walked into the room, before we even knew who we’d get, she caught my eye. We ended up being paired together, and it seems we have a lot in common. We’re clicking,” Sherouse says. “It was very, very easy to break the ice with her.” Her mentee, Leslie Molina, says: “How’s it going? Simply wonderful.. . . I’m grateful that they matched me up with Christienne, because we are a lot alike. Much like her, I’d like to be in the courtroom rather than do paper work, so speaking to her is very encouraging for my future plans.” Sherouse, once a prosecutor who now does mostly defense work, recalls she knew she wanted to be a lawyer when she was in high school. “But I didn’t know any lawyers. There were no lawyers in our family or family friends. I didn’t know what lawyers really do. How do lawyers spend their day? How do you get ready for court? I had a million questions.” Now, she’s volunteered to try to answer a million questions, and she’s loving it. What mentee Molina hopes to gain is “above all, a friendship with someone in the business I want to go into. I personally enjoy the company of older people and appreciate their advice, so I guess another friend. “Also, I think the experiences and stories she can share with me will either encourage me to continue with my ambition to become a lawyer or decide that perhaps there’s a better opportunity for me in another career field. Either way, I hope to gain a bit of wisdom.” Lawyer Sherouse says she is already getting something back from her e-mentoring experience: “My mentee is so bright and interested in making the world a better place. She’s interested in environmental law and goes out on the weekend and plants trees. She’s active in so many ways and so idealistic that she can make a difference. And that has resparked that idealism in me.” December 1, 2001 Jan Pudlow Associate Editor Regular News Lawyers and kids connect through cyberspacelast_img read more

Thomas E. “Tommy” Minger

first_imgThomas E. Minger, 75, of Aurora, Indiana, passed away Wednesday May 9, 2018 in Aurora, Indiana.He was born October 12, 1942 in Ripley County, IN, son of the late Earl Minger and Anne (Powell) Dudgeon.He worked as a laborer for Pierson Hollowell, retiring after many years of service. Tommy also formerly worked at Burger King in Aurora.Tommy attended the Vineyard Community Church where he played the Bongo drums in the band, he previously attended Cedars of Lebonan Church where he also played in the band. He was a man of faith and he will be greatly missed.Thomas is survived by a half-sister, Sharron Wilson of Jacksonville, FL; several cousins; and many friends. He will be greatly missed.He was preceded in death by his parents and several siblings.A meal will be served at 12:30 pm at the Vineyard Community Church, 304 Fourth Street, Aurora, Indiana on Sunday, May 20, 2018 with a memorial service to follow at 2:00 pm, with Pastor David Hall officiating.Contributions may be made to defray funeral expenses. If unable to attend services, please call the funeral home office at (812) 926-1450 and we will notify the family of your donation with a card.Visit: www.rullmans.comlast_img read more

Other Sports Youth Olympics: Weightlifter Jeremy Lalrinnunga creates history, bags India’s first gold medal

first_imgNew Delhi: Jeremy Lalrinnunga marked his name in the history books by claiming India’s first gold medal in the Youth Olympics history after lifting a total weight of 274 kg to bag the top spot in the men’s 62 kg category in the Buenos Aires on Monday.A product of the Army Sports Institute, Lalrinnunga started with a 2 kg lead over Turkey’s Cancer Toptas following the snatch category, and begun the clean and jerk after all his competitors had finished all their three lifts. He finished with an 11 kg advantage over silver medallist Toptas after his initial lift of 142 kg that was followed by an impressive 150 kg lift in the third attempt to complete his overall lift of 274 kg.Lalrinnunga’s brilliant effort puts an end to India’s long wait for the shiny yellow metal. India had clinched a total of seven silver medals in the first two editions of the Games.Shooters Mehuli Ghosh and Shahu Mane missed out on the gold in the women’s and men’s 10m Air Rifle events while Judoga Tababi Devi was defeated in the girl 44 kg final against Venezuela’s Maria Gimenez. For all the Latest Sports News News, Other Sports News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more