The vision for a Justice for Our Neighbors clinic began years ago when Judy Kading lived in Marshalltown. As you are well aware, this has long been a passion for Judy. She led study groups among United Methodists and others, eventually making an application for a Marshalltown clinic. However, that application was denied. I believe, Cedar Rapids received the new clinic at that time. The thought was that persons from Marshalltown could seek assistance from the already established and growing Des Moines clinic. Judy's vision and hope for a clinic in Marshalltown never died.
Approximately two years ago, we began dreaming of a clinic in Marshalltown once again. Our community's population has continued to grow as we have welcomed new immigrants. We learned that their number one need is quality legal assistance and hospitality. Immigrant Allies, a community organization, helped bring people together to write and submit a new application. Because of our increased need and a greater staffing presence by JFON in Iowa, our application was approved.
Joa LaVille, who works with immigration issues almost every day as Children/Youth Librarian at the Marshalltown library, is our clinic director. She works tirelessly as an advocate for immigrants and their families within our community and the state of Iowa. She has surrounded herself with many people who share her passion and vision.
We have held three clinics in our community. Many faith-based groups and service clubs are behind this effort. Volunteers from many sections of our community are involved under the capable leadership of Sue Martin, former director of the Martha Ellen Tye Foundation. Several churches and many individuals are giving financial resources toward this ministry. First United Methodist Church is providing space and office equipment/supplies. Hope United Methodist Church cares for the financial concerns. Our clinic is truly a team effort.
We wish to thank both the national JFON organization and the Iowa board of directors for their support of our new clinic. The many donors in our community and across the state, we thank you. We also express our gratitude to the attorneys and other staff of JFON of Iowa, who are helping many families in our community and the surrounding area. The work of JFON helps make Marshalltown a better place and builds beloved community.
From Rev. Scott Lothe on July 26, 2017 pastor at Laurel UMC