CHICAGO – Before the founding of Hellenic Legal Assistance Services (Hel.LAS) clinic two years ago, low-income and older members of Chicago’s Greek community may not have known of anyone to turn to for legal help.
But since its founding two years ago, Hel.LAS, as the clinic is known, has helped about 140 families with legal services when it meets on the second Saturday of each month. On Saturday, May 16, His Eminence, the newly enthroned, Metropolitan Nathanael attended the two-year anniversary celebration of the clinic and blessed 65 attendees, many of whom comprise the 45 volunteer attorneys connected with the legal clinic.
The clinic was founded through a coordination of the Hellenic Foundation, the Hellenic Bar Association, and Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS). Peter Valessares, Executive Director of the Hellenic Foundation, first reached out to find legal help for an elderly woman in need and called then Hellenic Bar President Thomas Massouras for assistance. Members from the Hellenic Bar Association jumped in to give assistance to her, and the idea of a legal clinic began. The legal clinic handles many areas of the law such as wills, family law, landlord tenant, and divorce cases, but mainly immigration matters that the clients have.
Although founded only two years ago, the clinic was the first of 24 clinics under the CVLS umbrella to publish its own website.
Founders and Board Members Eleni Kouimelis (President), Judge Tony Kyriakopoulos (Vice President), Eleni Katsoulis (Secretary) and Thomas Massouras (Treasurer) were present at the celebration. President Eleni Kouimelis welcomed the crowd and introduced Metropolitan Nathanael. Metropolitan Nathanael spoke about the need for legal services in the community, and gave support to the clinic. He said that the clinics work is an arm of the church, and that its work is Christian in nature. At the end of his speech, the Metropolitan gave a blessing, and those in attendance had the opportunity to greet His Eminence and wish him well.
More information about Hel.LAS is available online at: https://hel-las.squarespace.