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Carlton sips coffee out of a styrofoam cup. He concentrates on every word Fulbright & Jaworski partner Rod Wenner says, occasionally nodding in agreement. Every Wednesday night at the Gospel Rescue Ministries (GRM), a faith-based homeless mission on the outskirts of Washington’s Chinatown, men listen to Wenner speak on how they can break their addictions and turn their lives around. Wenner knows that not all these men will make it through the program. Some of them listening tonight will beat their addictions, and some of them won’t. Carlton is just one of the many men and women whose lives have been changed through a partnership created by Fulbright & Jaworski and its client, the International Finance Corp., part of the World Bank Group. Fulbright and IFC have teamed together through pro bono work and volunteerism to create a successful drug rehabilitation and job placement program in Washington’s inner city. Wenner’s work began with the mission in 1990. “I initially went down to the mission to help serve Thanksgiving dinner,” he says. “After that visit, I felt I should be doing more for the community, so I started to spend more time at the mission helping the men with their legal problems. Over time, I saw that the real problem for most of the men was not legal — it was drug addiction and lack of basic life skills. So I switched gears and went to work on setting up a drug treatment and counseling program.” Since 1993, under an arrangement with Fulbright, Wenner has worked on a reduced-time basis at the firm and spent the remaining time working with the men at GRM. In April 1993, Wenner recruited a psychiatrist specializing in drug addiction, Dr. David Allen, and together they founded a drug treatment program at GRM to help men overcome their addiction to crack cocaine and other drugs. Participants generally come to GRM from the streets or prison, often battling drug and alcohol addiction, as well as problems with anger and violent behavior. “The drug treatment program that Rod and David Allen founded at GRM more than 10 years ago is now at the core of our operations and has had impressive results. About 60 men and women per year participate in the year-long program, each individual having her or his own detailed treatment plan,” says John Jackson, executive director of GRM. In addition, Wenner worked with partner Rick Robinson and other Fulbright attorneys to represent GRM in buying the Fulton Hotel, formerly a “crack hotel” seized by the U.S. Marshal’s Office under a federal forfeiture statute. For the past four years, this hotel, now called the Fulton House of Hope, has provided a women’s drug treatment program. CLIENT INVOLVEMENT After Wenner discussed his volunteer and legal work at GRM with the general counsel of IFC, Jennifer Sullivan, she presented the idea of combining the resources of IFC and Fulbright in a pro bono venture. “Jennifer suggested that the records section of IFC’s legal department serve as a training ground to help those in recovery at GRM get back into the work force,” says Wenner. She was also pivotal in garnering the support of World Bank President James Wolfensohn, who has pledged ongoing commitment to the program. Through its partnership with Fulbright, IFC established A Chance to Work, a comprehensive program that functions in collaboration with GRM to provide job opportunities and training to men and women who have graduated from GRM’s recovery program. When a person enters the recovery program at GRM, there is a two-week evaluation period to assess the individual’s level of commitment. From there, the program is broken into four three-month phases. Coursework teaches basic life skills, including everything from how to write a r�sum� and prepare for a job interview to how to handle medical and legal issues. Participants also gain vital social skills such as networking and interaction, all in preparation to re-enter the work force. Those who graduate from the program earn a chance to work, often beginning in the records section at IFC legal department. Their duties at IFC include data entry, filing, sending faxes, and other office jobs. In some cases, they are hired full-time at IFC or the World Bank. Fulbright has also hired from the program, which, so far, has had more than 60 job placements. “One of the best ways to break the cycle of homelessness is to provide a person a chance to work,” says Sullivan of IFC. “With a job and a paycheck in hand, a transformation begins. Our primary goal is to provide them with the confidence, training, and self-esteem they need so they can get back into the mainstream.” Carlton, a graduate of IFC’s A Chance to Work program and now an assistant director at GRM, recounts how his life has been affected by the program. “When you do drugs for a while, you pick up certain character traits, and you might still have some of the traits, even after you get clean and sober. Through Rod’s mentoring and the chance offered at IFC, I developed a new sense of discipline, patience, and responsibility that I had never had, even through several years of sobriety.” Frank Detorie, staff counselor at the mission, says, “I’ve been on GRM’s staff for 25 years, and the impact of the recovery program has been remarkable. There are hundreds of individuals whose lives have been changed and today are back with their families.” EXPORTING THE SUCCESS After seeing the success of the GRM program, IFC exported the job program into other countries, with locations in Moscow and Cairo. The Moscow project focuses on orphans, giving them a chance to work as paid interns in major companies. Many of the 700,000 orphans in Russia face grim statistics. At age 17, they must leave the orphanages. Within the first year of independence, almost half run into trouble with the law or drug addiction. By providing training and personal support, the project gives a new lease on life to many. The Cairo project was launched in October 2002 through a partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development. This project helps less fortunate individuals obtain certification training for high-demand jobs in plumbing and the automotive industry. Wenner says the program has definitely paid off. “It’s been more than 10 years now, and the program has made a real difference in the community. Men and women who were lost to the streets are now back supporting their families. The greatest reward for me is to see the children reunited with their mothers and fathers. I’ll always remember the smile of a little girl who came up to me one day and said, �Thank you for helping my daddy.’ For Fulbright, the recovery program at GRM is part of the firm’s long-standing tradition of community service. Teaming up with our client IFC in the job placement program has given attorneys within the firm a chance to connect with the client on a different level, and it lets the client see who we are as a firm. Together, we’re playing an active role in our community.” Tom Dowdell is a partner in Fulbright & Jaworski’s D.C. office and a member of the firm’s health law group and government relations practice. He is head of Fulbright’s pro bono practice in the District. Michael Cortese is the project manager for A Chance to Work and an information officer for the International Finance Corp.

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