Crystal Hill-Pennington started volunteering as an advocate as a law student in 2020. She has completed several trainings with the ALSC advocate program and has assisted SNAP benefits and Wills clients in her time volunteering with us. She is generous with her volunteer time, diligent in her legal work, and develops an excellent rapport with clients. She is not afraid to dig deeper into their legal issues and goes above and beyond in her client service.
Why did you choose to volunteer with ALSC?
ALSC’s goal of increasing access to legal help for those who have traditionally been underserved and disadvantaged within the justice system is one I enthusiastically support. My family benefitted from the types of programs ALSC offers, and I sought out ALSC as a way to give back while in law school and after graduation. I have so much admiration for the people who develop the programs and training for both legal and non-legal trained advocates, and I continue to learn from them.
What are some of your experiences at ALSC that have made a positive difference in the lives of others and/or the community?
Especially during COVID, the programs that help connect families with direct resources and to ensure they receive the full amounts due have been the most impactful. These programs can mean the difference for a family having basic food and shelter. The opportunity to directly support the lives of others in a positive way and to help sustain family and community stability has been humbling. Without these programs, families and communities already hurting from lack of access to resources and COVID-related challenges would be further impacted.
How do you think your experiences with ALSC will benefit you in the future?
Often “access to justice” is a term thrown around within the legal field, and in legislative and policy-making settings. My volunteer work with ALSC has granted me an opportunity to see how those policies and systems impact people in the most direct way. The experience will continue to inform my legal career and opportunities to encourage others to also promote initiatives that truly advocate for “access to justice.”
What do you do when you are not volunteering with ALSC?
I have the privilege of consulting for government agencies and teaching for the University of Alaska Fairbanks. I also enjoy hiking and spending time with my family.