November is a month of giving thanks, and Sara Schmook and Esther Salas couldn’t be more thankful for the connection The Lawyers of Kendall Whittier has developed with Night Light Tulsa.
Schmook, Salas, and countless other attorneys and legal personnel from The Lawyers of Kendall Whittier and Rivas & Associates will be volunteering Thursday night at Night Light Tulsa – a well-known weekly outreach program for the homeless community in Tulsa organized by City Lights Foundation of Oklahoma.
“Night Light Tulsa is by far my favorite event of the year,” Rivas & Associates’ office manager Esther Salas said. “Although I love Christmas and all the celebrations, I am always humbled by the experience of giving back to my community and volunteering with City Lights.”
Night Light Tulsa takes place every Thursday from 6:30-9:30 p.m. during which time volunteers meet under the bridge at North Maybelle Avenue and West M.B. Brady Street with the common goal of building relationships with Tulsa’s homeless community through sharing a meal, donating clothes, and blankets but most importantly by lending an empathetic ear. Those interested in participating should visit the City Lights Foundation of Oklahoma website.
The weekly event can best be described as powerful and impactful.
“I always leave the event feeling very fulfilled to be giving back to some of the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Sara Schmook, whose father has worked for Night Light Tulsa for several years. “I really enjoy sharing this experience with our team and seeing their enthusiasm about volunteering for this event.”
Schmook’s schedule is hectic to say the least as a successful Tulsa attorney. Yet, Schmook knows giving back to the Tulsa community needs to be prioritized, as does the City Light Foundation of Oklahoma.
The organization began sponsoring the now-weekly event in September of 2013 when it attracted about 60 people. The event now draws as many as 300 people.
“It’s crazy how it’s grown,” Night Light Tulsa co-founder Sarah Grounds told the Tulsa World. “We never imagined it would turn out like this. We never imagined the friendships that would be made.”
Kendall Whittier Law Firms Who Give Back
Of course, much of Night Light Tulsa’s success comes from the support of area businesses and community leaders such as The Lawyers of Kendall Whittier and Rivas & Associates.
Both law firms are highly active in the Tulsa community, particularly the Kendall Whittier District where each firm is located.
Co-owner and founding partner Lorena Rivas serves on the Kendall Whittier Main Street Board of Directors. The two firms have volunteered at everything from the Rose District Cinco de Mayo Fiesta to the Tulsa Pride Parade to Night Light Tulsa last year on Veteran’s Day.
“Last year, we were lucky enough to be able to offer the guests at the Thursday night Under the Bridge event turkey legs the week before Thanksgiving,” Sara Schmook said. “It was an incredibly rewarding and memorable experience for all of us who volunteered.”
As an active member of the Cornerstone Hispanic Church (Iglesia Piedra Angular), Salas has done her share of volunteer work within the Tulsa community. She believes the opportunity to volunteer is one of the more appealing aspects The Lawyers of Kendall Whittier and Rivas & Associates provides to its employees.
“Absolutely,” Esther Salas said. “Growing up, I’ve always helped my church in any event and volunteered with different organizations throughout the Tulsa area. Now, as an adult, the opportunity to give back to my community through my job makes it so much better! I always look forward to this event and am grateful for the opportunities given here to volunteer.”