The City of Holland Human Relations Commission selected Justice for our Neighbors (JFON) for their 2010 Social Justice Award in Government and Community Relations on January 19th, 2011 in the city council chambers. This annual award was established to recognize persons and programs that have provided exemplary service with regard to equality for all in
the Holland Community. Four other awards were given out in Youth, Employment, Education, and Housing.
The commission noted that JFON provides excellent immigration legal services, education, and advocacy for many immigrants in the community. Through JFON’s faith driven and welcoming program, 300 clients from 35 different countries have been assisted since 2006 in Holland helping immigrants navigate through the maze of complex immigration requirements. Laura Rampersad, JFON regional director, accepted the award and announced that through both JFON ministries in Holland and Grand Rapids (since 2004) over 900 clients in 60 countries have been helped.
Clinics are held about once a month and our JFON attorney, Liz Balck, typically assists an average of 10 individuals or families. She stays with each case over time until it is resolved or no other avenues are available. Clients can call to make appointments on their own or may be referred by local agencies. About 35 local volunteers help with this program in Holland from First United Methodist Church as well as the community. JFON has developed an informational brochure in English and Spanish that is distributed to nonprofit agencies, schools, and churches in the area.