Sharla Barnes is the first recipient of the Legal Befrienders programme’s Lee A. Freeman Service Award for compassion and generosity to those in need. This is a Family Resource Centre initiative created to honour Lee A. Freeman’s life.
A paralegal with Priesley’s law firm, Ms Barnes was recognised as the Legal Befriender who demonstrated the highest level of dedication and selflessness – in keeping with the standards set by the late Mr. Freeman.
Legal Befrienders is a programme enabling qualified attorneys to assist the local community by giving free and confidential legal advice to those in need.
Ms Barnes donates several hours each month to assist in providing free legal guidance to men and women. After the recent passing of dedicated volunteer attorney Lee A. Freeman, the centre created this recognition in his honour.
Acknowledging the importance of recognising volunteers’ hard work and commitment, FRC’s Acting Programme Coordinator Miriam Foster said this annual award also allows Mr. Freeman’s legacy to live on.
“Lee gave his time generously and with compassion. Sharla is equally-dedicated, and was also a dear friend of Lee’s,” Ms Foster said. “Her selection was unanimous. She embodies the qualities of a model volunteer and we are grateful for her involvement.”
Minister of Community Affairs, Gender and Housing Mike Adam also thanked Ms Barnes, and all FRC volunteers, for their “commitment to a cause that brings light to an otherwise dark time in people’s lives.”
Legal Befrienders began in 1999 as a service to domestic violence victims, but due to the lack of any service like this Cayman, it expanded to offer advice in all areas of the law. It is one of the most accessed services the centre coordinates.
The dedicated lawyers and lay volunteers manage the walk-in clinics on Tuesdays from 5 to 6.30pm. There also is a phone service on Fridays from 2 to 5pm on 945-8869.
Contact the Family Resource Centre at 949-0006 or email [email protected] for more information on this service or how you can get involved.