The Winnebago County Bar Association Diversity Committee and the YMCA of Rock River Valley cosponsored a community outreach night in Rockford on March 28th. Attended by over 80 high school and middle school students, members of the Winnebago County Bar Association and judiciary from the Illinois 17th Judicial Circuit, the purpose of the event was to educate youth about the legal profession.
Practicing attorneys from both the public and private sectors as well as faculty from Northern Illinois University College of Law and attorneys from the not for profit sector described for the students what is required to be admitted to law school. While sharing their own stories of what led them to a legal career, participating attorneys emphasized the importance of an education and goal setting for success in any career.
The event included representation by several local community organizations and educational institutions to familiarize students with scholarship opportunities and community resources.
This was the third year the Winnebago County Bar Association Diversity Committee sponsored such an event for students. The free event was underwritten by the law offices of Hinshaw & Culbertson, the Rockford Association for Minority Management, the Winnebago County Bar Association, and the YMCA of Rock River Valley.
The Winnebago County Bar Association Diversity Committee was established to attract more minorities into the legal profession to better reflect Rockford’s and Winnebago County’s population. One of the goals of the Diversity Committee is to educate young students who are members of a minority group about the legal profession and to inspire under represented individuals to consider law as a career.
The YMCA of Rock River Valley Community Outreach Branch focuses on development of youth during their teen years, to help the students successfully transition to adulthood by mentoring and showing students positive options.
The community outreach night was a joint effort between the Bar Association and the YMCA to help local youth and achieve a more diverse local bar. ■