Honoree: Christina Helwig
Honored by: Human Options
Cause Area: Human & Family Services
Christina Helwig has been a pro bono volunteer with Human Options for over five years. She began meeting with clients at our Emergency Shelter, assessing their legal needs around immigration relief and advising them on the best course of action. If clients were interested in working with her further on U-Visa, VAWA, or other types of relief, Christina would provide her exemplary service at a free or extremely discounted rates.
She has not limited her volunteerism to just our shelter clients. She has also been incredibly helpful in providing her expertise in Immigration Law as part of our State mandated 40 hour domestic violence training we provide for the community, new staff and volunteers. She truly adds an important piece to the legal advocacy module and helps participants understand how legal services, especially around immigration, can increase a client’s chances to break free of a dangerous and abusive situation.
In addition to volunteering her services and expertise at our training, Christina volunteers at one of our Family Resource Centers for a monthly Immigration Law Clinic. She provides a vital service to survivors of domestic violence educating them about the types of immigration relief they are eligible for; which can often be a major step in clients finding the courage to leave their abusive partners. (Undocumented survivors are so often misled by their batterers that if they do report the abuse to law enforcement, or seek a restraining order, they will be deported.) The education and competent, compassionate, affordable legal services she provides are essential in breaking the cycle of domestic violence.
Christina’s demeanor with clients is phenomenal. Her understanding of trauma, specifically as part of domestic violence, means she is able to empathetically communicate with her clients while still maintaining professional standards and efficiency.
Christina is a vital part of our legal advocacy program and both Human Options and the clients she assists are grateful for her commitment to our organization and mission.