GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Those utilizing services from the YWCA West Central Michigan now have an extra resource available to them, thanks to donated legal assistance from Miller Johnson attorneys.
The law firm launched Project Give Back at the beginning of the year, which will provide 1,200 hours to survivors served by the YWCA in 2021.
“When our firm started talking about how we can have a concerted effort to impact the community, one of the things we were talking about is, ‘What about helping the survivors of domestic abuse?’ And immediately I thought of the work at the YWCA,” Shoran Reid Williams, senior counsel with Miller Johnson, told News 8.
Project Give Back will provide support with legal matters that involve family law, housing, employment, harassment and Title IX cases. Those already engaged with the YWCA will be referred to the appropriate assistance through the program.
“Sometimes it’s just a matter of knowing, ‘Is there somebody who can stand with me who can advocate with me, so I don’t have to do it alone?’” YWCA CEO Charisse Mitchell told News 8. “(In) an abusive relationship, people are often told for years that you are by yourself. That isolation is a tool of abuse, so being constantly reminded that you are by yourself, that no one cares, that there’s no one who will help you, that’s a tough barrier to break through, and having resources and support from Miller Johnson lets people know you don’t have to do this alone.”
Mitchell shared a startling statistic: In Michigan, 301,000 women reported that their intimate partner had stalked or been physically or sexually violent with them within the past 12 months.
“There’s no way to address that level of need alone, and the idea of working together and having collective impact in a meaningful way is a beautiful testament to what community actually can do when it works together,” Mitchell added.
“I, quite frankly, am honored to lead this team and to be able to come in and have a real-world impact for somebody who may not have thought help was on the way,” Reid Williams said.
Miller Johnson’s teach includes more than 100 attorneys with offices in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and Detroit.
The YWCA partnership is part of $1 million Miller Johnson will donate in legal services this year, which also includes a component assisting entrepreneurs.
If you need assistance, the YWCA is ready to help. You can learn more about its services on its website, ywcawcmi.org.