Lodema's recent work, in keeping with the idea of empowering North End residents to have the knowledge and confidence to advocate for themselves, has been in planning several workshops designed specifically to address the needs and concerns of this community. The first one that is planned will be a Self-Help Legal Clinic, where we’ll be covering topics of legal concern for consumers, such as dealing with debt collectors, bankruptcy, and credit improvements. Our Tenants Rights workshop will cover topics such as escrow accounts, evictions, and landlord disputes. The Non-Custodial Parents Rights workshop will focus on teaching non-custodial parents and fathers how to advocate for themselves on issues of custody, visitation, and child support.
We’re also planning an Elder Issues workshop, where we’ll work with our Seniors regarding issues particular to their needs, in conjunction with NECIC’s Senior Night. We’ll discuss topics such as estate planning, guardianships, and social security issues. And one of the workshops we’re most excited about is Citizens’ Rights and Responsibilities for Safe and Effective Interactions with Law Enforcement. This will be an attorney-led symposium and community discussion, geared towards youth and young adults and the advocates and practitioners who work with them.
"I couldn’t be happier than to be where I am right now, working with Deanna West-Torrence and the folks at NECIC. I know that I'm right where I'm supposed to be. At the right time. The leadership. The team. The mission. The vision. It's amazing to witness, and I'm honored that I get to be a part of it. I'm surrounded by creatives and free thinkers. The entire building is bursting with intelligence, and just all-around amazing humans. It's very rare to be in a space where you get to really be creative and have the support system and collaborative efforts to really bring a vision to life. Just being in the presence of it is motivating."
Lodema's goal for the next couple of years is three-fold. First, she wants to empower anyone who is driven by self-reliance, but just needs access to the right tools and information to attain it. Second, M'Poko wants to raise awareness about the dire need for legal aid services within the Richland County Area while also encouraging local attorneys to participate in pro bono work for citizens who often fall through the cracks of civil justice, because legal costs are too significant. Hopefully, these programs will allow us to, at the very least, get these conversations going and spark some interest. Lastly, she hopes to learn everything I can about the business and legal dynamics of the non-profit sector. "It's a new frontier for me, and I appreciate the opportunity".