Thursday, July 22, 2010
Valley Bar to Replace Terminated Youth Program, Official Says
By a METNEWS Staff Writer
The San Fernando Valley Bar Association will create a new youth program to replace one that the trustees voted last week to terminate, the group’s president-elect said yesterday.
“We don’t want to abandon the kids” who belong to Law and Government Post 1926, Seymour Amster told the METNEWS.
SFVBA trustees voted last week to end the association’s sponsorship of the post, part of the Exploring program run by Oklahoma-based Learning for Life, by mid-October.
Amster acknowledged that trustees became concerned after receiving a letter from the gay advocacy organization Lambda Legal questioning the relationship between the bar group and Learning for Life, a subsidiary of the Boy Scouts of America. While the post itself was run on a completely non-discriminatory basis, all involved agree, the relationship between Learning for Life and the BSA, which denies homosexuals the right to serve as adult leaders, triggered opposition.
For him, Amster said, the pivotal issue was not the relationship between Learning for Life and the BSA, but the post’s inability to serve a broad swath of the Valley’s young people. Many of the students at Valley schools have single parents and can’t obtain transportation to meetings away from their own schools, he explained.
The solution, according to a paper prepared by Amster and SFVBA Secretary Alan Sedley, is to create individual posts “in as many high schools in the San Fernando Valley as feasible,” with a “General Law Post” as an umbrella organization. The individual posts would utilize existing structures such as law clubs where possible, and would be coordinated at each school by a teacher, a parent, and an attorney volunteer.
Amster said he was fully prepared to take responsibility for starting the program, beginning with a post at Northridge Academy High School, which his child attends and where he is already actively involved.
NAHS is a public high school on the campus of California State University, Northridge.
While officers of the association traditionally attend a number of formal events throughout the year, “I told the board I’m going to be going to a lot of high school spaghetti dinners,” Amster said.
Volunteers who have been advising the current program will be asked to perform a similar role, Amster said, although one advisor, Studio City attorney Donna Laurent, told the METNEWS on Monday that she doubted she would be involved in any successor program.
“I don’t know if the bar is going to find enough good committed people to replace [Post 1926],” she said.
Copyright 2010, Metropolitan News Company