ALSC’s August Volunteer of the Month is the multi-talented Cindy Drinkwater! Some may recognize Cindy as a friendly face at the Cynosure Brewing taproom in Anchorage. We also know her as an extraordinary volunteer who makes a profound difference for our clients experiencing housing issues through ALSC’s Landlord/Tenant Helpline. In addition to her shift for the L/T Helpline, Cindy passionately advocates for clients by taking on individual pro bono cases. Read on for our interview with Cindy about her time volunteering with ALSC:
Why did you choose to volunteer with ALSC?
Volunteering with the Pro Bono Program is one important way for me to support ALSC’s mission to help low-income Alaskans facing civil legal problems.
What are some of your experiences at ALSC that have made a positive difference in the lives of others and/or the community?
I’ve had a regular shift with the Landlord/Tenant Helpline for several years. I think I’ve made a positive difference in callers’ lives by helping them work through the urgent problems or issues before them. Callers are often frantic, scared, or frustrated. Answering questions about the eviction process, rights and responsibilities under the Landlord-Tenant Act, or what goes on in small claims court generally makes callers feel better and empowered, or at least helps them sort out what to expect or do next. Also, I currently have a pro bono case which I hope will make a positive difference for my client financially and in terms of providing some peace of mind.
How do you think your experiences with ALSC will benefit you in the future?
There’s always a lesson to be learned from listening to and talking with someone in a difficult situation and trying to help figure out a solution. Sometimes the lesson is a simple one for me: gratitude and appreciation for the good fortune I’ve had. Also, since I am not working primarily as a lawyer now (see below), volunteering with the Pro Bono Program helps keep me in touch with the legal community.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
I now have a second career as a small business owner. My husband Clarke Pelz and I opened Cynosure Brewing here in Anchorage. Since the end of 2016 I’ve been managing the taproom and helping with other aspects of the brewery business.