loan repayment assistance program
When children need someone with a bigger voice, they turn to Vincent Herman ’04, who is currently a staff attorney at the Children’s Law Center in Washington, DC.
The Long Island native’s first experience working with children was in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he was an HIV educator. Herman went to schools, community centers, and juvenile detention centers and worked with youth to discuss sensitive issues like drugs, sex, HIV, and AIDS. Herman found that he enjoyed working with children because they took the issues of which he spoke seriously and honestly.
“When you’re talking about issues that are serious, even if you’re talking to 50 kids, you know you have their attention,” he said. “Kids are very sincere; they’re not embarrassed about ignorance. They really do want to learn.”
Herman continued his work in Philadelphia at the Juvenile Law Center (JLC) where he had a two-year fellowship. The JLC advocates for policy that benefits children in foster care, as well as for those who are victims of abuse or delinquency. It also writes amicus briefs to the Supreme Court, one of which was for Roper v. Simmons. Herman testified before the Pennsylvania House Committee on the benefits of creating a bill of rights for children in foster care, an area in which he currently dedicates his time.
“There are some education rights to homeless youth, and I worked in extending them to foster youth,” said Herman. “Kids in the foster care system are particularly vulnerable, and they need someone to step up to the plate and give them assistance.”
Herman uses his passion for helping youth to represent children in the DC abused/neglect system. LRAP helped him pursue this position by recognizing the importance of public interest law and legal training in the service of others. As a result, Herman said he has benefited from the Children’s Law Center’s focus on training as well as public and legal advocacy. But the job itself isn’t without its own difficulties.
“It’s very hard because kids are in difficult positions, and a lot of times folks don’t like helping them out,” said Herman. “Working with kids for me is something I’ve perceived that I’m pretty good at, and I want to use that ability to help whoever I can.”