Every day, paralegals, attorneys, and legal advocates at JAMLAC are exposed to trauma through the stories of the survivors we work with – whether the stories are heard in person, in writing, over the phone, or through social media. Constant exposure to trauma can take a toll on an advocate’s well-being, and engaging in self-care activities is essential for all victim advocates.
Carmen, one of our immigration paralegals, is also a certified Zumba instructor, and every other week she brings creative initiatives to practice self-care activities.
“I started to teach a Zumba class for a local catholic church before moving to Denver. It was fun because we only charged $1.00 per class and all the proceeds went to the Social Justice Committee at the church; those funds were used to help folks with food, gas, and other needs. It felt very good to give back by exercising in and with the community.
To me, Zumba has changed my life, not just physically, by helping me lose weight and get pregnant after trying for five years, but also mentally and emotionally. When I lived in Alamosa and was working with immigrant crime victims (like we do here at JAMLAC), I remember how happy I was on the days when I got to teach the class. Some of my students would ask me if I had a hard day because I would go so hard on the moves/dances/etc. However, Zumba has always been so therapeutic for me. When I started working at JAMLAC, I wanted to share that with my coworkers.”Carmen Stevens, Immigration Paralegal.
The classes are not open to the public… yet. However, Carmen is hoping to offer it to clients in the future. For now, we are beyond grateful that she is bringing well-being, peace, and unity to our staff. This unity has been helping us to successfully work together by pulling in the same direction and seeking justice for those who struggle with poverty and oppression.
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