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The 3Rs Program

The 3Rs: Rights ● Responsibilities ● Realities

Since its debut in 2006, The 3Rs has reached more than 37,200 students with the help of over 2,500 volunteers. In 2021 The 3Rs will be back in Cleveland and East Cleveland classrooms - virtually! The 3Rs is now in its 15th year, and we have the entire legal community to thank for this monumental achievement, helping thousands of students learn about the law and plan for their future.

The COVID-19 shutdown of 2020 led to new ways of thinking and innovating. Our goal this year is to ensure that we continue to meet and exceed the call for volunteers for all classes. With your help, we can make sure all students in our local, urban public schools enjoy the benefits of legal leaders making a connection with them, teaching them about the law, and championing them as they prepare for life after high school. In as little as one hour a month for five lessons total, you can make a difference in the lives of young people in our community - right from your office or home!

Together, we can make a major, positive change through the award-winning 3Rs program of the CMBA.  

But how does The 3Rs work?

The 3Rs is a landmark program connecting lawyers, judges, law students, and paralegals with high school students in Cleveland and East Cleveland schools. Through a series of five lessons during the regular school day, 3Rs volunteers help foster an understanding and appreciation of the U.S. Constitution, as well as share important information about how students can achieve their goals beyond high school. Volunteers are provided training and all lesson materials, plus support throughout the school year.

Using a unique, real-world curriculum provided by the CMBA, teams of volunteers from all areas of the legal community meet with students in the classroom to accomplish the following goals:

  • Improve understanding of and respect for the rule of law and our Constitution;
  • Improve passage of civics content testing required for graduation;
  • Provide practical career counseling to focus students on their potential beyond high school; and
  • Improve the “pipeline” of minorities flowing into legal careers in the region.

Click here to complete a brief survey and sign up today. If you've already signed up to volunteer, click here to register for our 3Rs Volunteer Orientation March 16 at noon. For more information, contact Jessica Paine.

Where Are We This Year? 

In the 2020-21 school year, The 3Rs will continue to match volunteers with 11th-grade U.S. Government classes for an abbreviated set of virtual lessons, presented via PowerPoint over Zoom. Working closely with educators in the Cleveland and East Cleveland schools and with YOU, our volunteers, the 3Rs Oversight Committee continues to refine and develop the 3Rs curriculum to best reflect the students' needs and classroom capabilities in this unique academic year. 

This year's curriculum will remain substantially similar to last year's (including lessons on career counseling, freedom of speech, checks and balances, how laws are interpreted, and a special lesson on police encounters, with plenty of current, interesting case examples), but with updates to keep the lessons current and easy to use for volunteers, students, and teachers. Lesson formats and timing are even more flexible than ever before, to fit the varying needs of all key players while maintaining the personal connection between volunteers and students that is the hallmark of The 3Rs.

New to 2020-21

Low tech? No problem! Most of us have been using Zoom and other online meeting spaces regularly since the pandemic began last spring, but it's easy to reach the comfort level needed to conduct lessons. Teams will still include team captains whose responsibilities include coordination between members and teachers. Additionally, we are looking for volunteers willing to serve as "Directors of Operation (DO)" -- DOs will be in charge of scheduling the Zoom meetings for lessons, adding brief polls to the meeting, and helping screenshare the PowerPoint. DOs can be regular 3Rs volunteers or even fellow staff at your law firm or organization who would like to help out! If you would like to serve in either (or both!) capacity, you can let us know via online sign-up. The how-to will be covered extensively in 3Rs training (date TBD soon, recording to be provided).

Lessons this year are formatted still to comport with the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) New Learning Standards for American Government and relevant Content Statements. Lessons include a brief group activity at the beginning (e.g. Myth v. Fact) designed to get students thinking and active before diving into the day's discussion, presented most often as in-Zoom polls for students to respond and share their thoughts. Lessons also include special activities designed specifically to boost engagement and interaction in the virtual format, such as mood check-ins and Kahoot games.

We are also still dedicated to maintaining flexibility in how and when lessons are taught by allowing volunteers to set Zoom meetings with their classes on their schedules, by making lesson dates "suggested" rather than required - teams remain free to schedule their online visits on days convenient to them and their teachers. We are committed to providing more teaching options within each lesson, so that you as volunteers are empowered to teach in the way that best fits the needs of your students (e.g. including extra, optional materials in each lesson as time permits).

Say Yes to Education

Volunteer lawyers are needed to provide pro bono legal assistance to individuals and families in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. In May of 2019, Cleveland was announced as the 4th community wide chapter of Say Yes. Say Yes guarantees students in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District financial support for post secondary education and supportive services needed from kindergarten through 12th grade. Currently, 42 Family Life Specialists connect CMSD students and families with services and resources, including legal services. Legal services ensure students stay in school and thrive. The CMBA and the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland lead the Say Yes to Education Legal Services Task Force working closely with Scranton Road Ministries and the Cuyahoga County Public Defender Office. Over 250 cases have been opened for 230 clients in the first year. Legal services were provided for these CMSD families in many areas of the law, including bankruptcy, contracts, employment, housing, probate, SSI, etc. 

We are looking for 100 attorney volunteers to help provide legal services for Say Yes. You can register to assist in areas of law that are familiar to you or in those you would need a little assistance. Services provided may include giving brief advice, directing families to other resources, making a phone call, writing a letter or extended representation. Professional liability insurance is covered by the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland. Training, mentoring and necessary litigation costs are all offered by the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.

Ready to volunteer with Say Yes? Click here to volunteer today!

Have questions about Say Yes? Reach out to Katie Donovan Onders at the CMBA for answers. 

Volunteer Resources



Section & Committee News

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