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United for a Cause

Airline employees co-author a valuable handbook to help homeless youth

Author Erin Benson


The legal team at United stays busy tending to the many intricacies of a large airline, but that doesn’t stop them from having their own community service program. Volunteer lawyers and staff take on pro bono legal work for causes ranging from domestic violence to tax assistance for the less fortunate. Additionally, the entire legal team participates in a community service day each year.

Judging from their team culture, it’s no surprise that a group of 26 United employees from this department co-authored The Homeless Youth Handbook—Illinois, in partnership with Baker & McKenzie and the Law Project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. The handbook’s 17 chapters cover topics including education, health care, housing and consumer credit issues, presenting them in a youth-friendly format.

“Homeless youth face a unique struggle,” says Barbara Thomas, a paralegal at United. “It’s important they understand their legal rights and have available resources to help them succeed. I’m proud to be a part of a team and a company that sees the value in important projects like The Homeless Youth Handbook.”

The innovative guide is available online through a specially-designed, mobile-friendly website, homelessyouth.org, and it is also being distributed in hard copy throughout Illinois to schools, libraries, public agencies, social advocates and others.

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