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Courtney needs your help with her legal costs.
$620 raised
6% of $10k goal
4 contributors
60 Weeks running

As many of you know, I have been personally involved with the issue of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) for over 20 years. My interest and passion with this issue began in Hennepin Court District Court/Juvenile Division where I saw many youth with mental and behavioral problems along with learning disabilities. They came from families with long histories of substance abuse problems and often from the child protection system as well. I had heard of FAS and questioned whether the damaging effects of prenatal alcohol exposure might make them at risk for getting into trouble with the law. From my research, I learned that there was a very powerful connection and we, in the system, are failing to recognize or understand it. I have stayed involved on both the state and national levels because I know we can do better in preventing FASD and helping those impacted by it.

Now, this issue has become very personal.  Last year, I became acquainted with Courtney, a young adult woman with FASD who spent the bulk of her childhood  in the foster care system.  But despite this difficult childhood, Courtney graduated from high school, attended community college, become a FASD youth advocate and a caretaker for her younger siblings also with an FASD and has been gainfully employed for the past 4 years as a receptionist. She is also the mother of a darling 5-year old daughter who was NOT exposed prenatally to alcohol.  Courtney appeared with me on a panel at a national conference to share her story on FASD and how it has impacted her life. Conferees gave her rave reviews for the presentation, honesty and courage.  I agreed with them.  She was so inspiring.

Now Courtney is in serious trouble with the law and facing three felony counts of aiding and abetting:  first-degree firearm assault, drive-by shooting and second-degree assault with a firearm.  I know that Courtney may have gotten herself into this situation because of stress from the unexpected death of her father  coupled with poor judgment exacerbated by her disability, but I know that she is innocent of these charges.  She could be facing significant time in prison if convicted of any one of them.

Because I saw so many kids like Courtney who get caught up in the legal system and had no one to help them "right the ship". Courtney is in that situation and I hope I can be that person to help the justice system understand her complex disability.  Arne had so many wise sayings in his speeches, but the following expression is the one I always come back to and it seems so appropriate in this case.

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others

I am asking for help for Courtney's defense and other expenses during this difficult time.  I know without this financial help, Courtney will become one of the many of those with FASD who used poor judgment, but who are not criminals and will spend the rest of their lives paying for that poor judgment.   Please also feel free to share this campaign with others. I know Courtney will be so thankful for the help and the belief in the value of her as a person. I know I will. If there are any leftover funds, they will be donated to a charity which provides legal help to those with disabilities. Thank you for reading my campaign.

 

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