The Chester Fund for Education and the Arts, a private foundation also known as The Chester Fund (TCF), recently announced its plan to apply to open a charter school in the Chester Upland School District.
The proposed charter school would ultimately serve students in Kindergarten through 12th grade, building on the successes of Chester Upland School of the Arts (CUSA). The school will be called Chester Charter School of the Arts.
The Chester Fund for Education and the Arts is a nonprofit organization founded by Swarthmore College music professor John Alston, who is dedicated to providing Chester’s disadvantaged children with a first-rate, arts-enriched education that will prepare them for college and success in life. Alston is also the Founder and Director of the acclaimed 120-voice Chester Children’s Chorus.
In 2008, TCF formed a partnership with the Chester school district to create CUSA, with TCF providing private funds for arts and technology programming as well as teaching assistants in every grade and an extended-day program for the older children. This year CUSA will serve 275 Chester children in Kindergarten through 5th grade.
“Last year CUSA had such a terrific year; the school has made so much progress both through social and academic performances,” Alston said. “The school’s fourth-graders made a twenty percent gain in reading proficiency and fifteen percent gain in math. They improved their results as third graders last year. Then in the middle of the summer, all of our staff was furloughed.”
CUSA was the latest school in the Chester Upland School District ravaged by massive reductions in the school district budget as a result of the state government’s cuts in education funding.
In the wake of these events, CUSA’s educational programs have been compromised and all but two of the classroom teachers have been laid off due to teacher-union seniority rules.
The inability to protect staff and programming was the key reason TCF decided to terminate the partnership, effective the end of the current school year (June 2012), and apply to open a charter school.
“The principal team has told us proudly that the new teachers in the building are wonderful teachers,” Alston said. “I’m glad we have extraordinary teachers in the building and after teaching with each other for one year or five years together they will be even more extraordinary. The issue is we don’t know where these teachers will be after next year; we don’t know if they will be in our building or somewhere else in the Chester Upland School District.
“The advantage of being a charter school is that you have more control over your budget and you always know a year in advance what our budget will be,” he said. “We deeply appreciate the partnership we’ve had with the district over the last three years, but also realize that to continue educating Chester children, we have to be able to design our own programs and hire and keep the best teachers. The only way to accomplish this is to apply for a charter school.”
The process has begun for the new charter school. There are currently six different locations that that are being tossed around for the school, but a definite location has yet to be determine.
The charter school will open in September 2012 pending approval of the charter application. All students in the district will be eligible to attend.
“The children’s education must come first,” said Maurice Eldridge, board chair of TCF. “We are saddened by what has happened, but we are excited about our future charter school.”
As the unemployment rate nears eight percent in Pennsylvania and nine percent across the country, many people are wondering what they need to do in order to obtain a good job in today’s job market.
Rather than viewing this issue as cause for despair, Tyrena Richardson looked at the unemployment rates as a cause for action.
Richardson, a member of the Prayer Chapel Church of God in Christ in Upper Darby, was unemployed for nine months after working in human resources since 1996. Determined not to let her situation defeat her, she decided she was going to help other people who were going through the same situation.
Richardson will be teaming up with her church for a job fair on Friday, Sept. 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The job fair will be held on the church’s grounds. The event is sponsored by Seeking with a Purpose (S.W.A.P.) ministry. The ministry’s mission is to help people who are looking to be gainfully employed. Richardson is the ministry leader.
“Rather than going through why I am going through this, I decided that I wanted to help other people that was going through the same thing as me,” Richardson said. “I went to my pastor, Reverend Nathaniel Goodson Jr., and asked him if I could help people find jobs by giving them advice. I started helping people with their résumés and [began] conducting mock interviews with people who were uncomfortable in job interviews.
“I do a face-to-face assessment with people when I go over their résumé,” she said. “I ask them, does their résumé capture what they want their employer to see. A lot of the résumés that I do need to be a little bit more detail oriented. In your résumé you have to [shape] it to what your accomplishments and skills are, so I think the most crucial part for job seekers is having that confidence and putting it down on paper. I want people to understand how important it is to sell yourself in order to obtain a job.”
Some of the businesses participating in the job fair are Allied Barton Security Systems, Colonial Penn Insurance Company, Community YMCA of Eastern Delaware County, the Philadelphia Department of Human Services (DHS), Embassy Suites Hotels, Horizon House Inc., Juno Search Partners, the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania, New Penn Financial LLC, Target, U.S. Army, U.S. Marines and U.S. Navy.
“I wanted to bring employers into the neighborhood, so that people who have varying skills set could meet different employers,” Richardson said. “The desire for the job fair is that it truly be diverse in nature and really transcend all lines of business and all industries.
“The job fair became a desire to give back to the community, because the church is a large part of the foundation of the community,” she said. “I want people to feel encourage, empowered and uplifted when they come to this job fair. They need to know that they are not alone and we care.”
In addition to the job fair, there will also be a free seminar for attendees. The seminar speaker will be career and leadership development consultant, coach and trainer of Career Consciousness Inc., Helen A. Richardson. Radio personality Marcus C. Smith, also known as Brother Marcus from Praise 103.9, will also be at the seminar.
“I just want to lift people up and inspire them,” Richardson added. “We all have the ability to touch a life. Everything happens for a reason, but it is up to us to help each other in time of need.”
Darrell Johnson, 19, started running track for Chester High School when he was 16-years-old. Over the years, Johnson has won numerous awards and ran up against some of Delaware County’s elite, but all of that is on the line as Johnson was recently told by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) that he was ineligible to run track his senior year because of his age.
“When I heard that they weren’t going to allow me to run; I was upset,” Johnson said. “I was 16 when I started running track. I won my first medal in the ninth grade in cross country.
When I was in the tenth grade I wasn’t doing good; mainly because it was just better people coming out.
“Last year, I started to accomplish some of my goals,” he added. “My coach put me in 110 hurdles indoor and I moved up to sixth in the state. I have accomplished a lot since I’ve been running and it is something that I like to do, so the thought of not being able to run for my last year does bother me.”
In order for a student to participate in interscholastic athletics at a school in grades 10 through 12 the student must not have reached their 19th birthday by June 30, according to the PIAA website. Johnson turned 19 on June 15.
“From my understanding, and from what people have been telling me, … there is a four year eligibility for high school players as long as you don’t flunk in high school,” said Darren Johnson Sr., father of Johnson. “I just want him to be able to have the chance and opportunity to show his full potential, especially with this being his senior year and a lot of recruiters will be coming out to look at the kids.
“I’m real proud of my son. I support him and am behind him every step of the way. It does hurt to see this happened to him, but I’m hoping he will be able to run.”
The Johnsons met with the PIAA board in Norristown on Sept. 14. The board consisted of about 28 members, who all voted that Johnson was ineligible to run track this year due to his age. The Johnson’s are appealing the decision.
“As a part of the appeal process we were told to get a petition from all of his teachers,” said Pamela Payne-Johnson, mother of Johnson. “The petition would say how good he is in school. I have to also go to the principal and the administration office. My son has never been suspended from school and his grades are up to par. I’m upset about this decision because this is his last year of school. He’s a good kid who deserves to play a sport that he loves.”
Chester athletic director Randy Legette says while this wasn’t the first time he went to a hearing in front of the PIAA; it was the first time the board told him no in that hearing.
“I been to eight or nine of these hearings and this is the first time they told me no,” Legette said. “I was shocked, but also this was the first hearing we went to where the athlete was over age. I thought we had a very good presentation and I don’t think they took us seriously enough.
“They just looked at the rules that they were following and stood by it. I wished they would’ve listened to us and took what we were presenting them with into consideration,” Legette added. “I just want him to be given the opportunity to live out his dream by allowing him to run.”
Johnson is still practicing with his track team. He hopes that he will be able to run for his senior year.
“My ultimate goal is to go to college and get my degree,” he said. “I still want to run for my school and my team, but I also know that there’s a possibility that that might not happen.
“Even if the outcome of my situation remains the same, I would still practice with my team because this is something I like to do and worked hard for,” Johnson added. “I just want to be given the opportunity to run.”
Delaware County Council will be holding two free Senior Citizen Resource forums in the month of October.
The senior forums will take place on Tuesday, October 4 at the Drexelbrook Corporate Events Center in Drexel Hill and Monday, October 17 at the Concordville Inn in Glenn Mills. Both forums will be from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The forums, organized by the County Office of Services for the Aging (COSA), will feature a panel of representatives from various county programs who will discuss senior safety, consumer affairs and veteran’s services.
“Our goal is to provide senior citizens with the tools they need to navigate today’s challenging economic climate and to inform them about the many services and program that are available to them through county government,” said Jack Whelan, councilman of Delaware County. “Studies indicate that during a recession, those hardest hit are senior citizens on fixed incomes.
“Not only do their resources get stretched, but there is an increase in the number of predators who will offer them get-rich fixes that are fraudulent,” he added. “That’s why it’s important that we educate our seniors and help them find solutions to maintain their quality of life during all economic conditions.”
Some of the representatives that will be at the forum are COSA, District Attorney’s Office, Senior Exploitation Unit, Consumer Affairs, Veterans Affairs and Treasurer’s Tax Claim Bureau. Representatives will also be available from Community Action Agency, the Consumer Credit Counseling Service and Social Security. After each panel presentation, representatives will be available to speak with individuals.
COSA offers seniors a variety of information on counseling services including health insurance counseling, crime victim services, legal services, volunteer opportunities and nursing home eligibility. The District Attorney’s Office, Senior Exploitation Unit, educates seniors about crimes such as identity theft, fiduciary theft, credit care theft or misuse and financial or physical abuse.
Consumer Affairs helps seniors with major purchases and transactions particularly in the area of home repairs, credit issues and tenant/landlord agreements.
More than 50 percent of the complaints filed by Consumer Affairs are done by senior citizens.
Veterans Affairs helps veterans and their families apply for certain benefits from the state and federal governments. These benefits include federal pensions for veterans or their widows and real estate tax exemptions for veterans with 100 percent service-related disabilities. The Treasurer’s Tax Claim Bureau helps seniors understand the collection process and the on-account payment agreements that are offered to people with financial hardships.
“Today’s recession can be particularly hard on seniors who are living on a fixed income,” Whelan said. “We want to ensure that they are able to remain in their homes and communities with appropriate supports.”
Students at Stetser Elementary in Chester spent their summer recess supporting first lady Michelle Obama’s healthy eating initiative by planting and maintaining two schoolyard vegetable gardens.
Students grew two 4’ x 8’ raised garden beds featuring a variety of fresh vegetables including radishes, beets, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, string beans, zucchini and yellow squash. All of the vegetables will be incorporated into the school’s lunch program.
“Our goal was to keep students actively engaged in learning during the summer while increasing their interest in eating vegetables,” said Janet Baldwin, principal of Stetser Elementary. “Teaching them firsthand how to construct a raised vegetable garden bed and how to grow a variety of fresh vegetables proved to be a fun and exciting way to accomplish what we set out to do.
“Because we planted so late it actually worked in our favor, because the garden is still going strong right now. As kids came to work on the garden, they harvested what was there and we would send it home with them. Now that school is back in session, we picked a ton of vegetables and I gave them to our cafeteria manager, and she is working on preparing those vegetables so that we can incorporate them in our school lunches.”
Master gardeners, local environmental groups and parents provided assistance to students at scheduled summer gardening check-ins.
A student gardening club coordinated garden activities and developed the final plot plan. Students at all grade levels were involved in the project. The students will also learn in their classes about the many different ways fresh vegetables can be prepared.
A service-learning grant from Earth Force Southwestern Pennsylvania and in-kind donations from the Folsom, Pa., Home Depot covered expenses related to the gardens, including tools, supplies, plants and truck rentals.
“The kids are so excited about the garden. In today’s lifestyle a lot of children don’t get gardening experience,” Baldwin said. “I believe that the kids who were involved in the planting, harvesting and watering are now more likely to try something that they might not have otherwise. I always say to kids you can decide whether you like something or not, but you can’t decide that unless you try it.”
Students took ownership of the gardens and shared responsibility for all aspects of planting and maintenance, including constructing raised beds, mixing soil, weeding, watering and caring for the plants. The students took turns researching plant characteristics, selecting appropriate cultivars, designing a plot plan, planting seeds and seedlings, and harvesting the produce.
“We had the kids measure and put eye screws in and put string across, so that we ended up with a grid in each bed,” she said. “I surveyed kids to see what vegetables we should plant. We made a plot plan for the vegetables that we were going to plant. One of the nice things about a raised vegetable garden is since we were creating new soil we had very little weeding to do.”
Baldwin noted while this was the first year Stetser Elementary had the garden, everyone at the school is already thinking about expanding the garden in the future.
“This was our first gardening experience this summer as well as our first attempt to do it,” Baldwin added. “We do want to expand in the future. We have a big hill, which would be good for planting some vines for watermelons or cantaloupes.
“Even though watermelons take longer to grow and take up a lot of room, the kids really like watermelons. Planting pumpkins is also another option for the garden as well. I strongly believe that the more exposure the kids get from doing different projects like this, the better off they will be.”
A discount prescription card that is being offered throughout Delaware County could be just what the doctor ordered to help local residents cope with the cost of prescription medication.
Trust Scripts is a free discount prescription card that is accepted at over 56,000 pharmacies nationwide, including independent pharmacies and major chains, such as CVS and Wal-Mart. The cards are free and require no sign-up.
Residents can simply present the card with their prescription script to the pharmacy before payment and available discounts are applied to the cost.
“This is about helping people at a time when help is needed the most,” said Christian Stearns, co-founder of the Trust Scripts organization. “We created Trust Scripts to change the way people get prescription drugs they need, regardless of coverage, employment, or finances. Our card helps people.”
All Delaware County residents may use the discount card, regardless of whether or not they are insured. Individuals with insurance plans and Medicare may also be able to use the discount for medication that is not covered by their current health plan.
The card fully explains how the program works and there is no enrollment, no paperwork and no fee in order to obtain a card. The card will be the most helpful for people without prescription coverage, for senior citizens in the Medicare Park D coverage gap and for people taking medication not covered by their insurance program.
“My 24-year-old daughter is currently in need of medical insurance,” said Jasmine Weaver of Chester. “She has asthma, and up until now her father and I have been trying to help her find another alternative for her to receive her medicine without paying for everything out of her own pocket.
“This prescription card will definitely help take the financial load off of her a little bit,” she added. “Health insurance is a huge issue that is affecting a lot of people, so any program or prescription card that will ultimately help people receive medication or treatment is a huge plus.”
The Trust Scripts website will provide a helpful online drug-pricing tool to help residents find the best possible deal by shopping around.
All the resident would have to do is type in the name of the medication, dosage and zip code and the user will receive an automated search of local pharmacy prices for both brand names and generic drugs. A list of the most popular discounted medications is also available on the web-site.
“The reality is there are a lot of people in this country who does not have medical insurance, and for some they are on a two-year waiting list in order to receive medical insurance,” said Andrea McCalle of Media. “Even though you may be on that list, what happens when you get sick and need an antibiotic or another prescription drug? That begins to add up over time. I think this prescription card will definitely help a lot of people with the cost of medication.”
For more information on Trust Scripts call (800) 340-0047 or visit trustscripts.com.
Readers of all ages in Delaware County recently learned how to download ebooks and audiobooks from the library through interactive demonstrations and high definition instructional videos.
The Digital Bookmobile National Tour visited Ridley Township Public library last week; the Delaware County Library system hosted the event.
“The use of our downloadable materials is soaring,” said David Belanger, director of Delaware County Library System. “This year our circulation of downloadable audio books and ebook will pass the circulation of 12 physical libraries in the county.”
The Digital Bookmobile is housed inside an 18-wheel tractor trailer. The 74-foot community outreach vehicle is a high tech update of the traditional bookmobile that served communities for decades.
The vehicle is equipped with broadband Internet-connected PCs, high definition monitors, premium sound systems and a variety of portable media players.
The vehicle helped visitors explore the Delaware County Library System’s download service via a gadget gallery.
The gallery featured an iPod Touch, Android tablet, Nook, Sony Reader, Blackberry and the Windows phone. The goal of the gallery was help visitors discover portable devices that are compatible with the library download system.
“The bookmobile was a great way for kids and parents to adapt to the new way of reading books,” said Morgan Garrett of Ridley. “I brought my little sister out here because she loves reading books through her Sony reader. I also wanted to show her that you can do so much more though the library website.
“I personally still love to read the hard copies of books, but I’m also adapting to the new way of reading,” she said. “A book is convenient for me when I’m home, but when I’m on the go an ebook is more convenient. The bookmobile was a great way for kids to get excited about reading and for the adults to get more tech savvy. I hope they continue to do this in the future.”
Residents also took advantage of the download service by visiting the library’s website.
One of the things the residents were able to do once they searched the website was browse the growing collection of bestselling, new release, and classic titles.
Once downloaded, digital titles could be enjoyed on a computer or transferred to supported mobile devices. Many of the audio titles could also be burned to audio CD. At the end of the lending period, titles will automatically expire and are returned to the digital collection. There are never any late fees or damaged items.
The Delaware County Library System website does have regulations for participants who want to download from the system.
Readers must have a valid library card, internet access, and a computer or device that meets system requirements for the materials. All downloads can be done from the home computer and all borrowed materials will automatically be returned.
The website is a part of the department of county government providing support services to 25 libraries in Delaware County.
From the time she was a tot, Avery Sunshine was always surrounded by music.
Born in Chester, she began singing at the age of 8. When she was 13, she nurtured her natural talent by singing in church and leading and directing choirs. Sunshine was a former member of the renowned Wilmington Chester Mass Choir, where she sharpened her vocal skills and her ability to play piano.
She attended Spelman College where she majored in music. It was in college that she joined her friend Maia Wilson to form her first group, DaisyRew. While music had always played a part of Sunshine’s life, it wasn’t always her dream.
“I was about 18-years-old when I realized I could sing,” Sunshine said. “I never thought about having a singing career; I always wanted to be a corporate lawyer, but music has always been a huge part of my life. I knew when I went to Spellman that I wanted to do something in music; I just never imagined that being an artist would be a part of my plan.”
After making her mark on the Atlanta-soul music scene, Sunshine decided to take the steps toward a singing career.
Changing her name, which is taken from characters in her two favorite movies, was just the beginning of her musical journey.
“I needed to come up with a name at the last minute,” Sunshine said. “My real name is Denise White. I was in Atlanta, outside of my studio, before a trip to Japan. My music partner, Dana Johnson said, ‘What do you want to be billed as?’ I just said, Avery Sunshine. The name comes from my love of characters in two my favorite movies. Avery comes from ‘The Color Purple’s’ Shug Avery, and Sunshine comes from the character in ‘Harlem Nights.’”
Sunshine released her independent self-titled album last year. Since the album has been released, she was named one of iTunes Best in 2010 and has been recognized as the SoulTracks 2010 Readers Choice Best New Artist and one of JET Magazine’s Top 5 Rising Indie Artists.
Her CD was listed as a 2010 Album of the Year in the Atlanta’s Creative Loafing and has received positive reviews from various publications across the country.
“Most of my songs are full of soul, R&B, and jazz,” Sunshine said. “I grew up in the church, so it’s only natural that some songs reflect my Gospel roots, but all of my music is inspirational because it tells a story. All of my songs have a clear and distinct message. It’s a mixture of what I like to call a rew. I never want to feel boxed in as an artist.”
She lent her voice to the soundtrack for Paramount Pictures “The Fighting Temptations” and in 2005 was hired as lead keyboardist for Tyler Perry’s stage play “Meet the Browns.” In 2007, Sunshine was sought out by Grammy and Tony Award Winning vocalist Jennifer Holiday to be the choral director for the theatrical production of “Dreamgirls” during the National Black Arts Festival.
Her recent performances include BET’S “Black Girls Rock and Soul” concert series in Washington, D.C. and a three-night gig opening for blues guitar legend B.B. King at London’s Royal Albert Hall.
Last weekend, Sunshine bought her talents back home as she performed at Warmdaddy’s in front of family and friends. It was her second concert near her hometown in three weeks. On Sept. 30 she performed at the Baby Grand in Wilmington.
“Chester has shaped who I am,” Sunshine said. “Growing up, there was always someone at my house, and it taught me to really enjoy people and that a sense of community is the most important thing. It always feels great coming home and performing in front of family and friends. The support has always been amazing and I’m happy they are able to go on this journey with me.”
The Chester Alumni Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. held a breast cancer event called “Sisters United for a Cause: Breast Cancer Does Not See Color” last weekend at the Media Borough Hall in Media. This was the first time the sorority hosted this event. About 75 women attended.
“We really wanted to bring awareness about this illness not only our sorors, but also the community,” said program planning chair of Delta Sigma Theta Chester Alumnae Chapter Carolyn Clayton. “Under our programmatic thrust of physical and mental health we wanted to just bring this information to women of our community. African American women are dying more from this disease than any other race. If we have more awareness, we can be more prepared, detect things earlier, and hopefully change those statistics by doing so.”
The speakers at the event included breast cancer survivor Kathy Dawson of Living Beyond Breast Cancer LLBC, Faith Mutale of University of Pennsylvania Hospital, and Kerri Conner, author of “My Mommy Has Breast Cancer, But She Is OK!”
Conner, who is an advocate of breast cancer, has been affected personally by the disease. At 41-years-old her mother was diagnosed with an advanced and aggressive form of breast cancer. At 33-years-old Conner found out she had stage three breast cancer; ten years after her mother. Both women are cancer free today. Their determination and support for each other is what inspired her book about breast cancer.
“The inspiration behind the book comes from me wanting to share my story with other women who are going through the same thing that I went through,” she said. “I wanted something that was going to encourage and inspire not only children, but families to never give no matter what comes your way. I wanted to educate our children and that’s what the book does as well as brings awareness about breast cancer to the community.”
In addition to the speakers, there was a special flower presentation for breast cancer survivors and people who were affected by the disease. There were also informational vendors on breast cancer.
“Having an event like this is very important to me and it does empower me,” said assistant financial secretary of Delta Sigma Theta Chester Alumnae Chapter Yolanda Hughes. “I volunteer at a lot of other breast cancer organizations, so I wanted to bring that to the sorority because a lot of women are dying from this disease.
“I lost my mom, my aunt, and my cousin at such a young age to breast cancer, and I was in a state of fear because I wondered if I would also get the disease at a young age, but what I found is the more involved I became with other organizations, I met breast cancer survivors,” she added. “That was important to me, because no one in my family has survived breast cancer. This is a disease that is affecting everyone, but people can beat this disease if given the proper information on it.”
G.I. Jobs magazine recently selected Widener University as a Military Friendly School for 2012. The honors place Widener University in the top 20 percent of all higher education institutions nationwide.
Widener was once known as Pennsylvania Military College until 1972.
G.I. Jobs is a premier magazine for military personnel making the transition to civilian life. Published by Victory Media Inc., a veteran-owned business, G.I. Jobs annually selects the nation’s Military Friendly Schools and publishes results in the annual guide.
“Given Widener’s mission as a university committed to civic engagement and service to the nation, and our history as Pennsylvania Military College; this is a great honor,” said James T. Harris III, president of Widener.
The 2012 list of Military Friendly Schools was compiled through extensive research and a data driven survey of more than 8,000 schools nationwide. In its effort to help student veterans find the right school, G.I. Jobs incorporated a survey of student veterans for the first time.
This feedback provides prospective military students with insight into the student veteran experience at a particular institution based on peer reviews from current students.
“The Military Friendly Schools list is the go-to resource for prospective student veterans searching for schools that provide the right overall experience,” said Michael Dakduk, executive director of the Standard Veterans of America. “Nothing is more compelling than actual feedback from current student veterans.”
Widener University participates in the Post 9/11 G.I. Yellow Ribbon Program. The program offers matching tuition assistance to all eligible and undergraduate and graduate students attending Widener’s University campus in Chester. Ten students from the Widener School of Law can also participant in the program. Participating students can receive a maximum of $8,600 per year.
Eligible graduate students can receive up to $1,000 per year and doctoral students can receive up to $5,200 per year.
In addition to participating in the Post 9/11 G.I. Yellow Ribbon program, the university introduced the Children of Active and Reserve Military Personnel Educational (Widener CARES) scholarship in 2005. The scholarship fund ensures that the children in the U.S. military personnel, who are killed in action in either Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom will have the opportunity to pursue higher education.
“At Widener, we feel a sense of responsibility to provide these children with the opportunity to pursue higher education regardless of their financial situation,” Harris said. “We hope to see other colleges and universities throughout the county institute similar programs so that, ultimately, all children are given the opportunity to pursue higher education.”
The Widener School of Law also provides one of the few veterans law clinics in the nation, providing free legal aid to veterans in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.