Wayne Law clinic donation drive goes virtual, helps 12 families

Marchelle Washington James
Marchelle Washington-James was the Law School’s designated social work intern who led the 2020 Winter Wishes project. Washington-James is pictured with some of the gifts being prepared for delivery to families.

Twelve families, including seven children and 23 adults, will have a warmer holiday season thanks to students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of Wayne State University Law School.

The goal – to provide $8,000 worth of gifts to the families – was exceeded for a total of more than $9,500 worth of gifts purchased. Gift recipients are clients of the Law School’s Legal Advocacy for People with Cancer Clinic (LAPC).

The annual Winter Wishes program, now in its ninth year, was held almost entirely online this year due to COVID-19. Donors purchased gifts from curated Amazon wish lists. The packages were then shipped to “gift host families” consisting of Wayne Law faculty and staff volunteers. Each gift was handled with extreme care to ensure the health and safety of all involved. The more than 330 gifts purchased included winter clothes, boots, blankets, board games, gift cards, hats, toys, kitchen essentials and other products. The program is part of a semester capstone project for the clinic’s designated social work intern through WSU’s master of social work program.

Kaylee and Jane
Wayne Law staff members Kaylee Place (front) and Jane Warkentin, masked up for a physically distanced supply exchange in preparation for the arrival of gifts for the 2020 Winter Wishes program.

The 2020 intern was Marchelle Washington-James of Detroit, who worked under the supervision of Assistant Professor (Clinical) Kathryn M. Smolinski ’11, the founder and director of the clinic. “Working with the Law School faculty, staff and LAPC students made the program a remarkable experience,” said Washington-James. “I appreciate the Wayne Law community, the School of Social Work and the many former LAPC students who helped brighten the holidays for so many deserving families.”

Wayne Law’s Student Board of Governors generously contributed $3,466.13 to support Winter Wishes.

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Contact: Kaylee Place

Email: kaylee.place@wayne.edu

Phone: 313-577-4629


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