Notre Dame Law Students Raise Funds for South Bend Families in Need

Author: Lauren Love

Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a warm meal for the holidays, but thanks to the Student Bar Association at Notre Dame Law School, 50 families from the YMCA of North Central Indiana will feast on turkeys, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberries, green beans, sweet corn, cornbread and cookies, just in time for Thanksgiving.

“The SBA Community Service Committee provides several opportunities for law students to give back to the community,” said Jacqueline Brousseau, 2L and community service chair of the student organization. “This is the second annual Thanksgiving Basket Drive, and we decided to do this fundraiser because it is such a great way to bring the law school community together to raise money for the South Bend community, especially during the holidays.”

Brousseau created a crowd-funding page on the popular site, GoFundMe.com, setting a goal to raise $1,500. In less than a month, and with the help of Notre Dame law students, faculty, and staff, the group exceeded the initial amount raising $1,615.

“NDLS teaches us to be a ‘Different Kind of Lawyer,’ and giving back to the community is a part of that education and a part of this profession,” Brousseau said. “When we are busy with our law jobs one day, we still need to take time to do service and pro bono projects. By starting in law school, we are emphasizing the importance of having a balanced life that includes community work.”

Throughout the semester the SBA facilitates a number of opportunities for students to serve the community. The group volunteers weekly at the Volunteer Lawyer Network, an organization that offers free legal services to those in need. The group has also organized the Small Business Pro Bono Project with Mendoza College of Business, where students advise small businesses on legal issues.

In December the SBA will partner with the St. Thomas More Society for a similar initiative. The organizations will collect money via GoFundMe.com, using the donations to purchase a Christmas dinner, warm clothes and toys for a family they’ve adopted through St. Vincent De Paul. The family has six children between the ages of 1 and 11.