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Abril Vale-Luzardo

Gentle Ironhawk Shelter Drive

By News

In May, the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion in partnership with the Utah Tribal Relief Foundation Organized a drive for the Gentle Ironhawk Shelter, which supports victims of domestic violence. UCLI accepted donations that could support this wonderful opportunity on three different days. Thus, the team and also volunteers stepped up to make sure they could provide additional assistance with any task that needed to be done! 

The Gentle Ironhawk Shelter was in need of items such as laundry items, food storage containers, shampoo and conditioner, body and baby wash, skincare, hair accessories, feminine hygiene products, clothing, etc. People from various law firms came, in person, to the Utah State Bar in order to drop off any donations that they were willing to provide. Some others decided to do online financial donations, which we are truly grateful for! 

Then, it was time to take all of the donations that were received to the Gentle Ironhawk Shelter. Nick Stiles delightfully volunteered to make the drive and take the donations to the final location! We are really grateful for his support and stamina–it was a long drive! 



This event has had a sensational impact on our community. We were able to connect with each other to achieve the same goal: to provide assistance to the Gentle Ironhawk Shelter. It has given us the opportunity to visualize the influence that a supportive community can have on a specific objective and project. We recently received a delightful statement from Cynthia Atine, GIS Program Manager: 

“Gentle Ironhawk Shelter and UNHS, are extremely grateful for the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion and Utah Tribal Relief Foundation for coordinating this donation drive. Many of our families in need will benefit from these supplies that you so graciously donated. Due to domestic violence/sexual assault, many of our families/children/individuals will leave everything behind and start over. Your donations will help our families get a head start on a new life. On behalf of the families who are here at the Gentle Ironhawk Shelter, ahe’ hee’!”

If you would like to make any additional monetary donations, click here! Then, click on the “Donate” button, and when asked “How would you like your donation to be used?” select “Shelter for Domestic Violence Support-Gentle Ironhawk Shelter” in the drop-down menu. 

Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers we had for this event, and to our supportive legal community. Your efforts contributed greatly to the success of this event. We are humbled by your generosity, both your volunteerism and donations. If you are interested in volunteering in any future Utah Center for Legal Inclusion events, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at . We’d love to have you on our journey to help our communities!

UCLI Legal Relaunch Event

By News

On May 10, 2022, the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion held its first-ever Legal Relaunch event. This event was targeted toward those individuals who were interested in law school and/or pursuing a legal career later in life or while raising a family. Panelists in this event were legal professionals who attended law school as parents, single parents, and grandparents. Discussion topics included how to finance law school, balance family life while pursuing a legal career, and overcome barriers as “non-traditional” law students. It was a truly fulfilling event for our panelists and for those who attended! Anyone who missed it can catch the recording here.

The virtual event was kicked off by Melinda Bowen,  co-president of the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion, and Cherise Bacalski, who is an appellate attorney on motion practice in the district court. Cherise was able to effectively communicate with the rest of the panelists to understand and learn from their experiences. Then, questions were asked to Geidy Achecar, who went to law school in her thirties as a single mom with two young kids and also experienced financial stress and childcare issues. It was truly interesting to learn from Geidy’s experiences as they provided a different perspective. During this event, those who attended also had the opportunity to hear from Pam Schools, who started this journey by getting an associate’s degree. After getting divorced, Pam went back to college nights to complete a bachelor’s degree. She will be graduating on May 13 and could not be more excited for this next phase of her professional life! 

Attendees also had the opportunity to hear from Zakia Richardson, who attended law school when she was younger, took the Bar, and relaunched after a ten-year break. Learning from her experience provided a stronger foundation for those individuals interested in law school and/or pursuing a legal career later in life or while raising a family. After this, attendees had the chance to hear from a married couple, Kristen Olsen and Marshall Thompson. Marshall’s experience and perspective as a veteran provided a fascinating understanding to those students considered “non-traditional.” In addition, with Kristen’s words, the event reached a stronger sense of community as everyone was able to open up a little more and listen to each other’s opinions. Lastly, attendees had the wonderful opportunity to hear from Suzette Rasmussen, who went to law school after being a stay-at-home mom and had eight children when she started as a 1L. Suzette mentions that since she was a daughter of immigrants, she did not grow up knowing attorneys. However, she mentions that she felt that going to law school was the path that she should take! 

This was a very wonderful event where attendees were able to understand a little bit more about the different ways in which “non-traditional” students are able to navigate law school, even though they face different challenges! We would like to thank those who attended, and a big thank you to the wonderful panelists who were willing to participate! If you are interested in attending law school as a “non-traditional” student, don’t hesitate and get in touch with us at . We’d love to help you on your journey in any way we can!


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