Thursday, March 20, 2008

Executive Director's Desk

A few weeks ago I visited a local coffee shop to get my morning coffee . As I was going into the coffee shop a woman coming out of the coffee shop recognized me from our "Access to Justice" Cable Access Television Show in Erie. She told me that every other week she tunes into the show because she finds it very informative.

If the story ended here I would be happy to get that positive feed-back from a person who watches the show. But the woman went on to tell me that she recently saw our television show about the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). She said that she did not realize that LIHEAP would be available for her and that after she saw the television show she immediately applied for LIHEAP assistance.

She said she would not have applied for LIHEAP if she had not seen our show. She again complimented our community outreach efforts and thanked us for providing the information.

After talking to this woman, I realized more than ever how necessary it is to continue to do community legal education and outreach. Although our Cable Access Television Show is only available to cable television subscribers in the City of Erie, it actually reaches far beyond -- taping into the world wide web. NWLS processes these television shows into video clips and makes the content available for viewing via our website and media blog.

Beyond the world of video, we also post audio podcasts of our bi-monthly radio shows focusing on a variety of civil legal topics. We are excited about these new methods of delivery which reaches people who have impairments such as vision and literacy issues. Further, Northwestern Legal Services has incorporated RSS feeds to each posting which pushes the information to users who are tapping into this innovative way of acquiring knowledge and information. Our website also offers a pathway to a whole host of written legal education materials, self-help forms, government benefit calculators, and pre-screening tools.

Please visit our website at to learn as much as you can about your rights, benefits and our services.

Very truly yours,

Robert A. Oakley, Esq.
NWLS Executive Director