Welcoming the Bluegrass State to the JFON Family!

Neighbors Immigration Clinic of Kentucky is our newest JFON site

When John Gallaher, pastor of Lexington’s Embrace Church, a church renowned for its social justice work, approached parishioner Sarah Ellen Adkins about the possibility of forming a JFON site, Sarah knew this was something she wanted to do.

“I’ve always wanted to help populations with the least amount of voice in society,” she explains. Her entire career as an attorney gives proof of her dedication to serving the vulnerable and marginalized. She was absolutely the right person to become the founding executive director for Neighbors Immigration Clinic.

Founding Executive Director Sarah Ellen Adkins.

“We knew it would be really hard,” says Sarah, of the work involved in starting a JFON office in Kentucky. “But National JFON provided a lot of institutional guidance and assistance. So it was like starting a non-profit lite,” she adds, smiling. “It was still hard, but do-able.”

Sarah estimates there are currently 150,000 immigrants in Kentucky, with 50,000 of them being undocumented. Many come from the Northern Triangle of Central America—Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala—and work in agriculture or in the horse industry. There is also a large refugee population from the Democratic Republic of Congo and other African countries.

These are underserved populations in urgent need of immigration legal services.

Although the site won’t begin seeing clients until the early summer, there is still a great deal of work for Sarah and the board to do—getting the office ready, hiring staff, and reaching out to the greater community.

“Kentucky is a pretty conservative state,” says Sarah. “Having said that, I’ve been very, very encouraged by the number of people who are very supportive, the churches who invite us to speak, and the many people who want to volunteer.”  

Want to learn more?

Visit the website: Neighbors Immigration Clinic

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