Our capacity to increase access to justice for low-income British Columbians relies on the charitable efforts of more than a thousand volunteers each year. Behind the scenes of hundreds of volunteer lawyers serving clients in clinics, hearing rooms and courthouses throughout BC, hundreds of administrative volunteers work diligently to ensure that our clients receive the timely legal services they need. Our profiled volunteer for March 2016 is Wilbert Wong.
“I started volunteering with APB in June 2015 as a Clinic Assistant with the Summary Advice Program and as a Community Worker with the Mental Health Program after reading a CBC article about APB’s work. I support APB’s legal professionals in a wide and engaging variety of tasks. There are always records to gather, forms to sign, summaries to write, appointments to confirm, and clients to interview. With many years of experience working in the mental health setting, I also helped develop safety guidelines for MHP volunteers. Since I started with APB, I have met with many clients and learned about the varied legal problems they face. Being able to constantly connect with our clients and assist our lawyers continues to motivate me to volunteer with APB.
Prior to APB, I received an undergraduate honours degree in history from UBC. My graduating thesis traces a group of individuals from all walks of life who came together and created an NGO to provide refugee relief in 1930s China. My research has reinforced my belief that anyone can contribute something, no matter how challenging the task. APB is proof of that. Not only are legal professionals and law students volunteering, APB offers community members with no legal background like myself a way to step up in a very hands-on way. Access to justice is everyone’s responsibility, and I truly feel I am making a difference as an APB volunteer.”