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Wayne Law holiday charity efforts assist six families
DETROIT — Six families in need will have a warmer holiday season this year thanks to two donation drives supported by students, staff and faculty at Wayne State University Law School.
One effort, Winter Wishes, in its second year, has helped five families who are clients of Wayne Law’s legal clinics. A second effort, by Wayne Law’s class of first-year students, helped a family of eight. Combined, the two drives raised more than $3,000 in monetary and item donations.
Winter Wishes began last year under the direction of Randi Williams when she was an intern through the Wayne State University master of social work program with Wayne Law’s Legal Advocacy for People with Cancer program.
The program is now a full-fledged law clinic, and Winter Wishes has continued, led by Michele Buchanan, another social work intern working with the Legal Advocacy for People with Cancer Clinic. The clinic focuses on the legal needs of low-income people with cancer. Joining in the holiday donation effort this year was Wayne Law’s Asylum and Immigration Law Clinic.
The clinics teamed up to sponsor five families. Donations from students, faculty and staff members totaled more than $1,000 in cash — plus another $1,000 worth of items, including blankets, coats, gasoline and other gift cards, hats, hot chocolate, scarves, shoes and toys.
“It was wonderful to witness everyone coming together to support the families,” Buchanan said. “Monetary donations were used to buy coats, gloves, hats and other winter clothing for each family member.”
The clinics had a bake sale in November to raise money and accepted donations through Dec. 5.
Wayne Law’s class of first-year law students, led by Alexis Shull and Ameena Sheikh, sponsored a single mother with seven children through Matrix Human Services for the holiday season. The effort raised more than $1,000 to be spent on gifts of needed items for the family.
The fundraiser involved sending friends a “holi-gram, naughty or nice,” for $2 each. Each purchase also allowed the buyer to cast a vote for which professor — Anthony Dillof or Robert Ackerman — would have to wear a hideous holiday sweater for a day.
The “winner” of the contest was Dillof, who sported his “prize” on Nov. 21. Ackerman, who was a close runner-up according to Sheikh, wore an equally hideous holiday tie.
Kathryn Smolinski, left, director of Wayne Law’s Legal Advocacy for People with Cancer Clinic, and Michele Buchanan, a social work intern with the clinic, show off the items donated as part of the Winter Wishes drive to help five families who are clients of the law school’s legal clinics.
Wayne Law Professor Anthony Dillof rocks a hideous holiday sweater as law students Alexis Shull, left, and Ameena Sheikh smirk. The sweater was part of a charity fundraiser by first-year law students and led by Shull and Sheikh.
Wayne Law Professor Robert Ackerman models an ugly holiday tie with law students Alexis Shull, left, and Ameena Sheikh. The tie was part of a charity fundraiser by first-year law students.