In late October, six high school students–including Maui High School junior Christopher Kim–were awarded $500 each for their entries in an essay contest on “Meaningful Volunteering and What It Means to Me.”
The contest was part of the 2013 Pro Bono Celebration and was sponsored by the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission and the Hawaii State Bar Association. The event was part of a national program designed to raise awareness about the increased need for free legal services.
The contest was open to private and public high school students. In addition to Maui’s Kim, awards went to Tram Ha from Moanalua High School; Da Hea Kim from Mid Pacific Institute; Zane Kunimura from Waiakea High School; Casey Nakamura of Kapa’a High School and Benjamin Steeper from Aiea High School.
Five attorneys were also recognized at the Pro Bono Celebration for their volunteer service to their communities. The lawyers included Jason Kim for his work in a class action case on behalf of disabled students; Catherine Taschner for being the driving force behind the launch of Business Law Corps, which helps entrepreneurs of limited means create successful businesses and new jobs in the community; and David Reber for his work with the non-profit Hawaii Appleseed Center. Also honored were Carol Lockwood for serving as a pro bono mediator in complex family law matters; and Samuel Suen for his contributions to the economically disadvantaged in the community.
Several members of the judicial and legal systems were on hand for the Oct. 24 event including Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald; Associate Justice Simeon Acoba; Associate Judge Daniel Foley, Chair of the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission; and Craig Wagnild, president of the Hawaii State Bar Association.
The Hawaii Access to Justice Commission began in May 2008. The Commission’s primary purpose is to increase access to justice in civil legal matters for low- and moderate-income residents of Hawaii. For more information about the Commission, visit their website at hawaiijustice.org/hawaii-access-to-justice-commission.
Photo (left to right): Zane Kunimura, Benjamin Steeper, Casey Nakamura, Christopher Kim, Tram H and Da Hea Kim