In the U.S, people are not guaranteed lawyers in civil cases — cases that involve issues like domestic violence, the potential loss of homes and children, and adoption. Atlanta Legal Aid provides free legal help to people living in poverty so they don’t have to face a complicated legal system alone.
When new mom Lasteña Shahid (pictured above) first came to Atlanta Legal Aid many years ago, she was distraught. Two months after giving birth, she left her son, Zak, with his father to visit a friend. When she returned, she found her son unresponsive, and upon visiting the hospital, learned that the baby had been violently shaken by her then-husband. The abuse had resulted in the child having cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and blindness. Although the odds were against him, Zak lived.
Lasteña sought help from Atlanta Legal Aid, who helped her secure a divorce and child support from her husband. Later, he would go to jail for his abuse. At that point, Lasteña vowed to stay single for the rest of her life, but the future looked different than she expected.
Through her community, Lasteña met a kind man named Khadir, and though she was resistant at first to letting someone into her life who was not already aware of her circumstances, Khadir proved to be a blessing to Lasteña and her son. He treated the child with tenderness and care. As time went on, they formed a close bond, and one day Khadir told Lasteña that “it would be his honor to have Zak share his last name.” Again, they sought Atlanta Legal Aid’s help in the adoption, and the family got their happy ending.
Without a lawyer by their side in court, people tend to fare worse. Often this means devastating loss — potential homelessness, lack of protection from abuse, or the loss of life-saving benefits. But it doesn’t have to be this way. With the help of your gift, people like Lasteña will have a fair shot at the justice they deserve. Please make a gift today to support this vital work.
Private donors cover our operating costs, so you can give knowing your whole gift
will go to the people in our community who need it most.
OTHER WAYS TO GIVE
DONOR ADVISED FUNDS
Donor Advised Funds (DAF) offer another tax-beneficial way to give. For more information, contact Angie Tacker at firstname.lastname@example.org