Austin attorney Heather Beam was recently highlighted in the Volunteer Spotlight feature of the Texas Advocacy Project (TAP), a non-profit providing pro-bono legal services to those affected by domestic abuse, sexual assault, and stalking. In her brief interview she is asked about why she is called to serve the mission of TAP and what she has learned.
1) Why did you choose to be a TAP Legal Volunteer?
After having personal experience with the effect that domestic violence has on a person, I chose to volunteer with Texas Advocacy Project because I want to provide a voice to survivors in the court system.
2) Briefly describe what you did for TAP as a Volunteer?
I provide free legal advice on the phone to individuals who have experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. This includes explaining the process for filing for divorce, obtaining a protective order, and/or issues involving child custody and child support.
3) Why is TAP’s mission so important to share with others?
Texas Advocacy Project’s mission is important because every person has the right to live free from fear.
4) How did volunteering at TAP have an impact on you?What did you learn that you didn’t know before?
Volunteering has impacted me because it’s given me the opportunity to help people who are experiencing issues similar to those that I’ve previously seen firsthand in my own life. Also, in sharing my volunteering with friends and family, I learned that so many people have experienced issues involving domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. These issues can affect anyone regardless of race, socio-economic status, or gender. By ending our silence on these issues, we can work together to stop it.
5) What did you enjoy most about your time at TAP?
I enjoy interacting with and helping the individuals that I speak with on the phone. Their stories and experiences matter to me. I think it is important to provide accurate legal advice, while also showing compassion and acknowledging the emotional and physical issues that clients may be experiencing.
6) What is your favorite pastime? Where can we typically find you on the weekends?
I love to travel, and I’ve been to around fifteen countries solo so far. On the weekends, I enjoy exploring small towns and state parks in Texas. You can usually find me somewhere in nature hiking, kayaking, or reading a book in my hammock.
More information about TAP and the great work they are doing can be found here.