Pam Robinson, the tireless director of the University of South Carolina School of Law Pro Bono program, will be a special guest at the White House for a reception on Monday, July 15, as officials announce the 5,000th Daily Point of Light.
The event will also celebrate President George H. W. Bush’s vision for the “Points of Light” program, recognizing those Americans who have made a difference in their communities through volunteerism.
Robinson, one of only 200 peopled invited to join President and Mrs. Obama for the ceremony, received the honor for being part of the selection committee who chose the 5,000th Point of Light.
But this is not Robinson’s first brush with Points of Light program.
When she created the USC Law Pro Bono program in 1989, it became the country’s first voluntary law school pro bono program.
Less than two years later, her dedication and hard work were rewarded on a national stage.
On May 1, 1991, President Bush chose the USC Law Pro Bono program as the 444th Point of Light (It remains the only law school to receive this distinction).
Since that time, the Pro Bono program has steadily increased the number of available opportunities, and now includes over 20 different ways for students–and South Carolina’s legal community–to make a difference.
In fact, a few of the programs that were part of that first year’s efforts are still in existence today, including Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), Richland County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), and the Lexington County Juvenile Arbitration program.
Other new and innovative programs are continually being added, such as the Rural Justice Project and the SC Probate Court Special Visitors Project, both begun in 2012.
The projects are incredibly varied in scope, but all share a three-fold purpose: To help those in need, to instill in students a strong ethic of service to others, and to help students gain valuable professional experiences that will benefit their legal careers.