Brittney Lofthouse – Contributing Writer
Throughout my nearly 10 years writing for the newspaper, I have had the pleasure of interacting with folks from all walks of life – from meeting President Barack Obama to talk about the unique needs of Western North Carolina, to writing stories of triumph and victories in our local communities, I have been afforded a unique perspective of our region over the last decade. I take great pride in being a voice for Western North Carolina and being an advocate for change – whether that be by researching injustices in state funding shortfalls to our education system or the disparities for our local businesses struggling to stay competitive without adequate infrastructure like broadband, as a journalist I have had the opportunity not only to shed light on issues facing our community, but be part of the solution to solve those problems.
While I intend to continue my work as a journalist as long as time allows, I am excited to announce that I have transitioned into a new role to help the most vulnerable members of our communities. I am thrilled to be serving as the Community Engagement Officer for the non-profit organization, Pisgah Legal Services (PLS). For more than 40 years, Pisgah Legal has provided free civil legal aid to help low-income people meet their basic needs, such as protection from domestic violence, avoiding homelessness, and accessing health care and increasing income. Because of the foresight of residents in the Cashiers and Highlands communities, PLS is expanding their service area to include Macon and Jackson counties – and I am grateful for the opportunity to help them become rooted in our community.
PLS has 25 attorneys on staff and relies heavily on the pro bono legal services of 300-plus volunteer attorneys to meet the needs of low-income residents in our community. I am honored to be joining their team and being part of an organization that recognizes that sometimes circumstances are beyond our control and everyone deserves a fair and fighting chance.
All too often my work as a journalist has led me down the path of telling stories of folks in WNC struggling in comparison to our counterparts across the state – often forgotten about by leaders in Raleigh. Resources and opportunity are devastatingly sparse for our friends and neighbors, or at least they have been in the past. I am happy to be part of an initiative to change that and make a difference right here at home.
I look forward to the opportunity to work with state and local leaders, as well as community and civic powerhouses to help Pisgah Legal Services become an embedded part of our community and a resource we can all rely on to ensure justice for all – not just those who can afford it.
If you want to learn more, feel free to contact me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.