ALSC’s September 2017 Volunteer of the Month is Nicholas Kittleson!
We are always amazed and inspired by the passion and dedication Nicholas brings to his clients and cases. Read on for more about Nicholas and his interview about his pro bono experiences with ALSC:
Why did you choose to volunteer with ALSC?
I think there is a real need out there for justice for low income Alaskans. I like to fight for the underdog. ALSC gives me the opportunity to live out my faith and my values. A lot of people have supported me to be able to get to where I am, and they continue to do so. This is a way for me to pay it forward.
What are some of your experiences at ALSC that have made a positive difference in the lives of others and/or the community?
Access to justice is a key component to maintaining a peaceful community. If a person has an opportunity to bring a grievance to Court, it is less likely he or she will resort to violent actions against others. Likewise, if people are denied fairness and justice, they are more likely to act on the rage they feel. Volunteering to help on pro bono cases allows people to be heard that might not otherwise have the ability to participate in the justice system.
How do you think your experiences with ALSC will benefit you in the future?
I always learn from my encounters with ALSC clients. Sometimes it is learning patience. Sometimes it is learning about painful realities that others struggle with, that I had no idea. Sometimes it is learning that others struggle with similar problems I have. Sometimes it is a strengthening of faith. The problems people bring can be so overwhelming that I feel there is nothing I can do that will get this person to a place of healing. So I have to rely on God to take care of the rest. I am only being tasked with this one part of it. I have to have faith that there is a “Power Greater Than Myself” that can work on the rest. My role may be minimal. But the client sure seems to appreciate what I can do, and that there is somebody who cares about him or her.
I also gain an appreciation of my paying clients. I could not do this if others were not putting their own financial well-being on the line in bringing their cases. And I gain a huge appreciation for my brothers and sisters working in the legal system, including the employees at ALSC who deal with the avalanche of need every day. One client can be overwhelming for me to deal with. I don’t know how they are able to work with multiple clients with so many levels of need on a daily basis. Judges, clerks and staff having to deal with these issues and try to make the best decisions each day. I admire the progress they are making on mental health courts. I do not know that I would have an appreciation for the work they do if it were not for the experience of working with ALSC pro bono clients.
What do you do when you are not volunteering with ALSC?
I love to DJ. In my spare time I run Red Carpet Entertainment, a mobile entertainment company. I have a commercial drone pilot license and enjoy aerial and underwater photography. I like growing things that I can eat and am working on building a fruit forest in the back yard. I am really into energy conservation and renewable energy generation. I am a member of Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church.