Reflections as a CFCC Student Fellow

Sophie Albert, UBalt Class of 2025 CFCC Student Fellow

By Sophie Alpert, UBalt Law Class of 2025

This semester as a Student Fellow for the Sayra and Neil Meyerhoff Center for Families, Children and the Courts (“CFCC”) I have grown so much as a student and future lawyer. Professionally, I am interested in pursuing a career in family law and/or immigration law. As a Student Fellow, I had the opportunity to connect with the Baltimore community and understand the needs of children and families that I will serve.

Two of the main projects I worked on were a mindfulness workshop for CFCC’s Tackling Chronic Absenteeism Program (“TCAP”) and a human rights survey of states’ child welfare systems.

The TCAP mindfulness workshop allowed me to capitalize on my psychology and family science background and connect it to my legal interests. I developed a mindfulness workshop to equip students in the Baltimore City Public School System with mindfulness tools and trauma awareness. I was able to facilitate my workshop in two TCAP schools: Park Heights Academy and Collington Square Elementary/Middle School. I began the workshop with a discussion regarding emotional triggers. Addressing the common traumas that students in the Baltimore community are facing provided me with a meaningful understanding of how to be a trauma-informed future lawyer. The students were receptive to the resources I provided and were engaged in the meditation exercise I led. Each student left with a book, “Alphabreaths” so they can continue practicing mindfulness at home. I feel proud and honored to have been able to work with the students in the TCAP program.

To expand on the mindfulness workshop, I connected CFCC with the Baltimore-based foundation, Holistic Life Foundation (“Holistic Life”). Holistic Life provides yoga and mindfulness education countrywide to underserved communities. CFCC is in discussions with Holistic Life on a possible collaboration to bring more mindfulness resources to TCAP. It was wonderful to learn and connect with Holistic Life. I was also able to develop communication and advocacy skills through this experience. I am so excited to see what TCAP and Holistic Life will do!

Lastly, I also gained valuable research experience. The research project I worked on focused on using the United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child (“CRC”) as a standard for identifying factors that will address human rights for children involved in the child welfare system. This project fostered my academic interests in international law, family law, advocacy, and public interest. I look forward to continuing to work on this project when I return to CFCC as a Student Fellow in the fall. I hope to collaborate with CFCC Executive Director, Aubrey Edwards-Luce, to create working groups of stakeholders who will continue  developing and refining the factors I have identified. Ultimately, the factors will be used to complete a survey of states’ action to meet the standards for human rights in the child welfare system.

I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a CFCC Student Fellow. My empathy, compassion, and understanding of the needs for families and children in the Baltimore community and beyond have grown exponentially. I cannot wait to get back to work for CFCC in the fall!

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