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Community Outreach

The Lawyers Helping Lawyers (LHL) Committee of the Bar Association of Erie County was established in 1978 to provide confidential assistance to lawyers and judges struggling with drug and alcohol abuse. According to the Association, one in five lawyers is addicted to drugs or alcohol, two times the rate of the general population. This higher risk can at least partially be attributed to the fact that lawyers are often highly driven individuals who work long hours in high-pressure environments.

Just as in the general population, one legal professional’s struggles with drugs or alcohol may differ substantially from those of others; whereas one individual might drink daily, others may abstain for long periods and then binge. Similarly, while some people begin exhibiting out-of-control behavior rapidly, others develop addictions over time. Common symptoms of addiction include lying about drug or alcohol use; feeling nervous, tense, or angry when drugs or alcohol aren’t available; and missing work because of drug or alcohol use. Depression and poor decision-making, as well as neglecting personal relationships with friends and family, are also symptoms.

The LHL Committee offers discreet, confidential assistance through referrals, local support groups, and help getting connected with organizations that specialize in assisting people with addictions.

Legal professionals at Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C., are members of the Bar Association of Erie County.

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Genesee County Habitat for Humanity pic Three families are potentially moving into homes in Batavia, New York, thanks to a partnership between the City of Batavia and Habitat for Humanity of Genesee County. Through this program, the city sells longtime vacant homes to nonprofit organizations with the goal of combating blight and providing affordable houses to people in need.

Habitat for Humanity of Genesee County recently made plans to renovate houses on Oak, Pearl, and State streets in Batavia, essentially stripping the structures to the studs and rebuilding them, according to the organization’s CEO Jessica Maguire-Tomidy. She said the nonprofit and the city believe that the current housing situation for many families is not acceptable and that the program improves neighborhoods and people’s lives. Work on the three houses will take about a year.

Qualifying families must demonstrate that they need adequate housing, can afford it, and are willing to help renovate the house. Children in families who live in decent housing are more likely to graduate from high school, attend college, and be active in their communities, Ms. Maguire-Tomidy said.

Carla Cole serves Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C., as the team lead in its Batavia office. She also sits on the Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity of Genesee County.

The Dutchess ARC Youth One Stop Program, which was established in 2013 and is a program of the Workforce Development Center, helps at-risk youth between the ages of 14 and 21 find job training and employment or begin postsecondary education. The program was founded by the Dutchess County Workforce Investment Board (WIB), which gave Dutchess ARC a 23-month contract to build and run the program. Youth One Stop is free for eligible youth and foster children.

Each candidate is paired with a case manager who can help him or her with housing, transportation, childcare, and other services available from local agencies. Case managers also work with clients with everything from completing GEDs to filling out financial aid forms and creating individual employment plans. Job training and internships are available for Youth One Stop participants, who can also receive mentoring and tutoring and are eligible for various certification programs.

The Workforce Development Center has helped connect businesses to the public workforce system for more than 27 years. Its mission is to build a skilled and competitive workforce, promote an understanding of workplace trends, and help businesses and individuals become lifelong learners.

Tom Frost, a senior attorney in Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C.’s Fishkill office, is a member of the Dutchess County WIB.

The Joint Commission has ranked Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre, New York, as a Top Performer on Key Quality Measures for the second year in a row. One of the foremost health care organization accreditors in the United States, The Joint Commission works with more than 20,500 such organizations. Mercy Medical Center was one of four hospitals on Long Island to earn the Top Performer designation. Like Mercy, two of those hospitals, Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip and St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson, are Catholic Health Services facilities.

The Joint Commission calculated its ratings using accountability measure data collected during 2013. Mercy scored high in measures for pneumonia, surgical care, heart failure, and heart attack. Moreover, it achieved a score of 95 percent or higher for its overall performance threshold.

Mercy has received several other accolades recently, including the 2013 Outstanding Achievement Award from the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer and the American Nursing Credentialing Center’s Pathway to Excellence designation.

Bob Molloy, Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates’ CFO, has been a sponsor member of Mercy Hospital since 2000.

Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C., encourages its employees to remain actively involved with the local community through a variety of organizations. Kelly Ann Poole, a partner at Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, has served on the Board of the Girl Scouts of Nassau County since 2014. This organization provides young women with a number of empowering opportunities, including multiple summer camps. A camp experience can instill in young women a deep appreciation for nature while also offering them a strong sense of community and bolstering their self-confidence.

Girl Scouts in Nassau County can attend Camp Blue Bay Sleepaway Camp in East Hampton or Summer Fun Day Camp at Wantagh Park. The sleepaway camp offers young women the opportunity to sleep in a tent and explore nature through swimming, boating, and other camp activities. Campers participate in one- or two-week sessions. The day camp runs for eight sessions, and Girl Scouts can participate in as many sessions as they wish. The girls engage in differently themed activities each week in addition to the typical camp experiences.

For Girl Scouts who cannot participate in these two programs, several other camping options exist, including a unique parent/child overnight camp in East Hampton.

Habitat for Humanity recently shared news from a study by Johns Hopkins University showing that when families spend most of their money on housing, their children’s cognitive performance suffers because they don’t have money for educational items such as computers and books. On the other hand, the study also found that families who allocate less than 20 percent of their income toward housing often live in distressed areas, which has a negative effect on children. “People are making trade-offs, and those trade-offs have implications for their children,” one of the study’s researchers said.

Children with the best cognitive outcomes come from families who spent about 30 percent of their income on housing, according to Johns Hopkins professor Sandra Newman, who is also director of the Johns Hopkins Center on Housing, Neighborhoods and Communities. The study found that children were better served when families sought low-income housing in stable neighborhoods, as opposed to paying a small price for low-quality housing.

Habitat for Humanity works internationally to provide people with a decent, safe, and affordable place to live. Carla Cole, a team lead for the Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C., Batavia, New York, office, is a board member of Habitat for Humanity Genesee County.

Erie County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers ProjectThe staff and volunteers with the Erie County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP) provide free civil legal services to people and small nonprofit organizations that otherwise could not afford legal representation. VLP recruits and trains volunteer lawyers, who work pro bono. The organization was founded in 1983 and incorporated as a nonprofit five years later. Currently, about 400 Erie County lawyers volunteer with VLP and provide almost $1 million in services a year.

VLP opens about 3,000 cases annually and refers one-third of those to lawyers who provide pro bono work. On the other cases, VLP volunteers either offer full representation or advice. The nonprofit estimates that it saves taxpayers about $1 million a year by helping people to stay off welfare and avoid homelessness by ensuring they are receiving the proper benefits.

The nonprofit has implemented several programs that have become national models, including the Attorney of the Morning Program in Buffalo City Court. Through this program, an attorney trained in housing and tenant law represents all defendants in need dealing with eviction issues that morning.

Deborah Gallo, an associate partner with Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, is a member of the Erie County Bar Association.