Person of the Week
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Jim Barrett

Updated: Friday, August 2 2013, 10:21 PM EDT
For people living in poverty, unable to fight for their rights and in some cases even for their lives because they can't afford the things they need, hiring an attorney is impossible.   

Our Person of the Week leads an organization that defends them for free.
He has been called the heart and inspiration of a group who have made it their business to give a voice to the voiceless.

Pisgah Legal Services is a beautiful sight for those living in poverty.
"Roughly 20% of the kids are below poverty level."

Executive Director Jim Barrett has been helping free of charge for 30 years.

"They are people who are homeless. They are people being abused."
17 staff attorney's and 300 more who volunteer in Western North Carolina, are going to court for those who otherwise can't.

Jim Barrett, "my first client was a woman who needed unemployment benefits and she was clearly eligible and she won those benefits.  Then she made me chocolate chip cookies."

As Pisgah Legal celebrates 35 years, they also celebrate Jim Barrett's leadership.

Shelley Brown, attorney, "he cares so much about poverty and the people in poverty."

Kerry Friedman, attorney, "let me put it to you this way.  In 2008 we came up with the idea of trying to raise money for a building...  I'm sorry."

Jim led the effort to move his staff from the old location, a home on Montford Avenue, to a place with more room.

They now have more attorney's and serve almost twice as many people, 1300 last year alone.

Under his leadership, PLS has helped other non-profits get up and running.

And he's had to focus on preventing a loss of staff while facing government spending cuts.

"Because there are certain kinds of cases where you can make all the difference in the world."

To learn more about Pisgah Legal Services, who qualifies for help, or how you can volunteer and help them click here.Jim Barrett

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