The Gulfcoast Legal Services Birth Certificate Program was pleased to receive donor funds from community supporters to begin a paid internship in the name of birth certificate program founder, Pamela Wiener Dubrule.
Pam knew that obtaining shelter and benefits (food and access to medical care) was highly contingent on a person’s ability to present identification. Without it, many are denied access to services.
Since the program’s inception, demand has increased dramatically. With only one staff member on the project, GLS has sought assistance in alternative ways, one of which was to create a paid summer internship for a Stetson University’s College of Law student to work full-time with program attorney, Kathryn Hynes. With help from GLS donors and the Stetson Office of Career and Professional Development, GLS found intern Lora Vineberg, Candidate for Juris Doctor 2021. Under supervision of the program attorney, the duties of the internship include conducting intake interviews with new clients during the walk-in clinic, researching legal documents and public records databanks throughout the US and overseas, working with partner agencies, and compiling birth certificate applications, among other responsibilities.
Lora is an outstanding student, having graduated from Eckerd College with High Honors and maintaining a high ranking at Stetson. She is a seasoned writer and her background in management, operations, and HR made her uniquely suited to understand the challenges faced by those who are without a form of identification.
“Those of us with access to our vital records tend to take for granted how much our social freedoms hinge on this access. The clients I’ve met with through the Birth Certificate Program have been trapped in a vicious cycle, unable to secure societal essentials like employment and shelter because they are without the required identification.
As their legal representative, Kathryn acts as a conduit for obtaining the needed records, using her own ID to apply on each client’s behalf. This means her stake in the outcome of this work is significant. Though my stake as intern is not as tangible, I’m deeply invested in the program. During my first week here, I had the privilege of calling a client to inform him that his birth certificate had arrived. I was so moved by his response on the phone: “Thank you, you have restored my life,” that I have made it a personal mission to contribute all I can to ensure the same result for each client I have.” – Lora Vineburg
In addition to Pam’s paid internship, GLS has been fortunate to receive volunteer assistance through Stetson’s Homeless Advocacy Externship, which provides students with 128 hours of hands on learning experience working with those experiencing homelessness. These students provide significant assistance to GLS in meeting the overwhelming need this program has seen in the community.
GLS is incredibly thankful for the work of their volunteers, who dedicate their time, energy, and resources to changing the lives of our Tampa Bay community.
*From left to right: Lauren Rosenthal (Stetson Homeless Advocacy Intern), Kathryn Hynes, Esq. (BC Program Attorney), Lora Vineberg (GLS Pam Wiener Dubrule Intern)