Dec 1, 2023
Our conversation for United Way Day featured United Way Northern Shenandoah Valley's CEO, Kaycee Childress and her guest, Tori Babbington. Tori is the managing attorney for rural programs with Just Neighbors. Just Neighbors is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization dedicated to serving and supporting the immigrant community of Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.
Tori discussed her organization's mission to provide free legal
representation to non-citizens earning under 200% of the federal
poverty guidelines. She highlighted the complexities and lengthy
process of the immigration system, often taking many months or
years, particularly for temporary residents or undocumented
individuals. Tori emphasized the need for a bipartisan effort to
reform the current immigration system, as a significant portion of
their clients do not have a clear pathway for legal
We discussed the issue of veteran deportation and the challenges
faced by deported veterans who have made significant contributions
to the country. Tori explained the challenges faced by one of her
clients currently in the asylum application process, which included
waiting for almost two years for a decision (still pending) and
dealing with an under-resourced system with a backlog of over
cases. Tori highlighted the financial difficulties faced by families in the immigration process, including the cost of application fees. She also noted the negative effects of the delay in approvals, such as preventing family reunification processes.
Tori discussed the various ways people can get involved with the
nonprofit organization Just Neighbors. She emphasized the
importance of their partnership with Braddock Street United
Methodist Church, and Literacy Volunteers Winchester Area. She
highlighted the power of these interactions, noting that they
connect diverse community members. She also mentioned the
availability of both in-person and remote volunteer opportunities, making clear that bilingualism is not mandatory. She further explained that their website offers a consultation request form and that clients can call their office, with bilingual staff available.