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August 20, 2012

Professor John Adler and USF students met this spring with middle and high school students at Canal Alliance, a program that aims to help low-income, Spanish-speaking immigrants in Marin County become self sufficient and develop leadership skills.

USF law students visit Canal Alliance to speak with Latino youth about the importance of education.

Adler is president of the board of directors, and has been involved in the organization for about eight years.

“Canal Alliance provides… legal, educational, emergency, and social/psychological (services) for a community of hard working, mostly poor immigrants otherwise without support. Although the community is in the heart of affluent Marin County, it is largely invisible,” he said. “I wanted to contribute to an organization that, even in a limited way, extends a helping hand to the people who are struggling.”

During their visit, USF law students shared their aspirations and spoke on the college application process, the importance of education, and obstacles overcome as students of color. Adler, who has brought USF students to Canal Alliance on two occasions, initiated the visits because he thought the participants in the organization’s after school program could benefit from interacting with law students who have similar backgrounds.

“Upon arriving to Canal Alliance, I was immediately reminded of the community where I grew up and was eager to personally connect with students and emphasize the importance of seeking a higher education,” Daniela Conde 3L said. “We shared our personal stories about how we have persevered among various obstacles in order to get to law school, and they were extremely grateful.”

The USF attendees, members of La Raza Law Students Association, said the experience was rewarding.

“Whether they follow along the same path we took to law school or not, it was rewarding to see them imagining their own futures,” Vivian Valencia 3L said. “Wherever they go, whatever they do, they have begun to dream big and that was inspiring.”