2012 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Nicholas Levenhagen

Nicholas Levenhagen

Name of Host Organization: Bet Tzedek Legal Services
City, State: Los Angeles, California
Issue area: Elderly
Sponsors: Greenberg Traurig

The Project

Holocaust survivors in the U.S. have been disproportionately affected by the hardships of poverty and social isolation. Of the 10-12,000 survivors currently residing in L.A., 30% live below the federal poverty level, significantly higher than the national rate. Aging survivors face unique medical needs and often lack traditional support networks, making it vital that they are able to access needed benefits, services and support as early as possible. My project will develop the tools and models necessary for reaching survivors throughout the community, assessing their needs, and providing assistance in the areas of public benefits, estate planning, and vulnerabilities to abuse and neglect.

The Inspiration

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My passion for serving the elder population comes from my experience as a Home Health Aide and Caregiver. Through this work, I witnessed the emotional and financial struggles individuals face trying to plan for the later stages of life and obtain needed care. Personal experiences with the Holocaust survivor community has fueled my commitment to ensure that these resilient individuals are provided with support and services that will allow them to live out their lives in peace and dignity.

Biography

Hometown:

Burnsville, Minnesota

Law school:

Words to live by:

"Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve.... You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love." ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

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