September 28, 2011 Articles

Helping Disadvantaged Children Build a Brighter Future

Educate Tomorrow is a nonprofit committed to making education an attainable goal for the disadvantaged.

By Patricia C. O'Prey

I originally met Melanie Emmons Damian through the Woman Advocate Committee a year or so ago. I was immediately impressed by the very smart and accomplished woman that she is. I learned that, in addition to being a stunning blonde, Melanie, with one other partner, founded her own law firm, Damian & Valori, LLP, which has become one of Miami’s top boutique litigation firms. Recently, however, my admiration for Melanie reached new heights upon learning of her work on behalf of foster children through an organization she founded, Educate Tomorrow.

Melanie has long been involved in children’s issues. Beginning in law school, Melanie served as a guardian ad litem for children. Then, as an associate, Melanie began to represent children in foster care as part of her pro bono commitment. At that time, Melanie learned that there was a Florida statute providing that children who were in foster care when they reached the age of 18 could get free tuition to a Florida state college as well as a monthly stipend for living expenses. But because very few foster children or parents knew of this program or how to take advantage of it, many foster children who turned 18 were moved out of the foster system and became homeless.

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