Eric, Brianna and Ben in front of Lotus House.

The more I get to learn about what it means to be a part of Bilzin Sumberg, the more I learn that the firm is more than just the high quality and complex work that it does, but it is also about the work that it does for the Miami community. As part of the Academy program yesterday, Ben, Eric, and I had the opportunity to speak with Jeff Levin and Mimi Klimberg of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation on the importance of charity and involvement with the community. On the third day of the Academy schedule, the other first-year associates and I had the privilege of seeing that discussion realized by visiting the Lotus House Women’s Shelter, which has the incredible task of focusing on homelessness faced by women, children, and LGBT youth.

As part of the visit, we toured the facility and learned about the many services it provides to its guests. Everything from therapy sessions, art classes, salon services, and dance sessions are offered in addition to the standard amenities of housing and meals. I was most intrigued by our tour guide, Beatrice’s, discussion about was how these additional activities, unfortunately not usually offered in other shelters, come together to provide the guests with a sense of dignity and humanity. Many times, these important feelings that define our sense of self are lacking in other shelters due to lack of resources. The Lotus House, through the generosity of Bilzin Sumberg and many other partners within the community, has truly redefined the image of a typical shelter and has been able to provide a wide-range of benefits that go beyond a quick fix and are geared towards the long-term independence of its guests. The Lotus House has even employed innovative techniques to encourage self-sustaining practice. For example, our tour guide showed us a hydroponic gardening chamber, which consisted of using shipping containers to grow vegetables without the use of soil.

 The Lotus House is truly pushing the boundaries on how it is serving the community and our experience there was amazing! I want to thank Bilzin Sumberg and Jessica Buchsbaum for creating that opportunity for us.