Veronica Macias (J.D. ’21) sorted through books with a group of incoming first-year Georgia State Law students while volunteering at Books for Africa. During their community service project, the students reminisced about the books they read as children.
The discussion made Macias reflect on the importance of the organization’s work. “I realized the impact reading can have on a child’s future; it’s important foundational learning,” she said.
This is the ninth year a group of Georgia State Law first-year students have volunteered at Books for Africa during the week of orientation. The organization works to fulfill its mission to end the book famine in Africa by collecting, sorting, shipping and distributing books to African students of all ages.
Kelly Cahill Timmons, associate dean for student affairs, started the volunteer opportunity to give incoming students a chance to bond with their classmates while emphasizing the importance Georgia State Law places on public service.
“We are a service-oriented law school, and this project shows the value that the leadership here places on service,” said Kimberly Carabotta (J.D. ’19), president of Georgia State Law’s Student Bar Association (SBA). Carabotta, SBA Vice President Eugene Butler (J.D. ’20), and Michael Duffey (J.D. ’19), SBA secretary, joined the 50 first-year students.
Carabotta said it was also a great way to meet peers outside of the law school setting.
“Working together as a group builds a different kind of friendship—especially when it’s volunteering. The students that participated are going to have a special bond that will carry through the whole law school experience.”
Macias also participated in a service project led by SBA a few weeks before orientation. The students organized items for care packages at Caring for Others, an international human services organization seeking to eradicate poverty through feeding, educating, clothing, and housing individuals and families around the world.
“It was really awesome seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces as they picked out new shoes and bookbags. It was also really humbling,” Macias said.
She added that she was grateful for both opportunities to volunteer alongside future classmates.
“It’s a testament to Georgia State’s commitment to the community,” Macias said.
Giving back is what led Macias to pursue a law degree. Her parents were restaurant owners and, as a child, she was inspired by the various lawyers her parents interacted with for licensing, tax issues and other business concerns.
“I was always amazed at their ability to calm us in a moment of crisis and how knowledgeable they were about a subject we were so unsure about,” she said. “That is something I hope to do one day, advise someone in a time of need.”
SBA is organizing another service project with Caring for Others on Nov. 17, which is open to students, faculty and alumni. Sign-up will be available in October.
For more volunteer opportunities, see The Center for Access to Justice’s Pro Bono Program listing at law.gsu.edu/center-access-justice/pro-bono-program.