Books to be Used as Awards for Children Succeeding in the Truancy Intervention Project In conjunction with National Library Week, April 12th to April 16th, the national law firm Alston & Bird LLP launched a Book Drive benefiting truant children throughout the Atlanta area. Books donated by the Firm’s Atlanta office will be given as part of an awards program for children succeeding in the Truancy Intervention Project (TIP). Sponsors of TIP, with the help of area public librarians, developed a list of preferred titles for the Drive. The selected books foster the progress of truant children. In 1991, noting the rising rate of delinquency and teen pregnancy and knowing school failure often progresses from these problems, Fulton County Juvenile Court Chief Judge Glenda Hatchett and, then president of the Atlanta Bar Association and Alston & Bird partner, W. Terence Walsh founded TIP. The Project is a mechanism interrupting the progression of school failure by addressing and meeting the needs of truant children. The mission of TIP is to provide early, positive intervention to children charged with truancy in Fulton County Juvenile Court. Alston & Bird partner and TIP founder Terry Walsh commented, “In an effort to get truants back into school and on a straight track to success, the Atlanta Bar Foundation and the Fulton County Juvenile Court bring together truant children encountering the juvenile courts for the first time with volunteer attorneys and non-attorneys. As truant children must appear before the juvenile court, many Alston & Bird attorneys donate their time to represent these children. In addition to legal and mentoring resources, wherever necessary, children participating in TIP receive emergency food and medical attention, tutoring, job training, and counseling.” More than 70% of truant children who are helped by TIP never come back to juvenile court for any reason. Some recent success stories include Natasha, a high school dropout. Not only did Natasha’s TIP volunteer help her enroll in a high school equivalency program, the mentor encouraged Natasha’s mother, also a high school drop out, to join the same class. Both recently received their degrees, with Natasha’s mother graduating as class valedictorian. There is also the case of James, an eleven year old living with severe physical disabilities, who was missing school because the path to the bus stop was not wheelchair accessible. James’s mother could not help her son get to the stop, because she had to leave for work early, as she relied on public transportation. TIP built James a wheelchair ramp, so he could get to the school bus stop by himself and gave his mother a donated car, so she would have more time to spend with her son. Not all TIP children live in dire conditions, but many of them do. Moved to respond to the additional needs of these children, Alston & Bird organized several efforts to help, including a Holiday Wish Tree Project this past December and this month’s Book Drive. Alston & Bird, with more than 450 attorneys serving both domestic and international clients, is one of the largest and oldest law firms in the country. With offices in Atlanta, Georgia, Washington, D.C., and Charlotte and Research Triangle in Raleigh, North Carolina, the Firm provides a full range of services to clients doing business throughout the U.S. and overseas. Alston & Bird’s practice areas include: capital markets and investment; finance and public finance; financial institutions; international; trial and appellate; health care; real estate; technology; environmental; antitrust and investigations; bankruptcy, reorganizations and workouts; tax and fiduciary; and labor employment.