“I Think I Can” to “I Knew I Could”
I Think I Can Make a Difference
“I think I can, I think I can…” Many foreign nationals across the United States with immigration and citizenship aspirations echo this slogan made famous in the children’s story The Little Engine That Could. In the story, a stranded train is unable to find an engine willing to take it over the hill to its destination. It feels overlooked and ignored. Many of our clients can relate to these feelings as they strive to become a citizen, or to renew their legal status in the United States.
Yet a little blue engine that many believed too small to even think about achieving an impossible task takes the train over the hill. This determined little engine allows the train to continue on its path and reach its destination. Like The Little Engine That Could, our small Immigration Law Clinic impact the lives of many because of our determination to serve. At STVCC, we help our clients achieve their dreams and assist them in overcoming obstacles in their path. With a staff of three, we exemplify that Little Engine That Could spirit. Although the program comprises just 1.5% of staff at STVCC and 2% of the annual operating budget, it accounts for nearly 25% of clients served by the agency. How do we do it? Easy answer – people.
I Know the Need is Great
In the state of Michigan, there are just nineteen non-profit immigration law attorneys. Here at STVCC, we’re lucky to have two of them. Immigration Law Clinic Director Lesley Glennon J.D. and Melissa Indish J.D. Together they have a combined 28 years of professional immigration law experience, a number that many private practices struggle to match.
Law changes constantly, and it’s imperative that each client receives legal representation from someone well-versed in this form of work. Many of our clients fail to understand the complexity of their cases, because their immigration proceedings are often viewed as ‘just paperwork,’ and not a civil proceeding that can have serious consequences. The reality of immigration proceedings remains that just one incorrect statement can lead to deportation. At STVCC, we understand that a single mistake can follow an individual for their entire life. With so many pitfalls and traps that clients can fall into, Lesley and Melissa are there to help them navigate their path.
So, what are we most proud of in 2015? During the past year, we were able to serve 968 people. That’s 968 people whose lives we had the chance to change forever. STVCC Immigration Law Clinic – taking “I Think I Can” to “I Knew I Could.