Our Community Involvement

Sara Pacheco – Cotton, Esq., Legal Aid Service of Collier County’s Education Legal Rights Attorney, will appeared on the popular ‘En Casa Con Martin Ycaza’ TV Show on Telemundo SWFL, Channel 43 in Collier County, to discuss the legal rights parents and students have when children are experiencing difficulties learning in school – and how they can reach out for help from Legal Aid. The show regularly airs Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Channel 43. The interview aired on the Monday, August 23, 2010 broadcast.

Legal Aid provides free legal services to qualified low-income residents of Collier County. Ms. Pacheco - Cotton will discuss the free services offered to parents and students through Legal Aid’s Education Legal Rights Project. Many students and their parents experience pain or frustration when a child struggles with learning or coping with a school environment that is inappropriate based upon their individual needs or abilities.

“Many parents are unaware of the services and supports that the schools are required to provide to the children under the law,” states Pacheco-Cotton, “and in many cases, this is the result of the lack of communication between the school system and the parents.”

According to Pacheco-Cotton, there are certain ‘signs’ that parents should watch for that may signal that a child needs additional assistance at school. These signs include stress in a child’s life due to death or divorce, the lack of progression in learning at all over time, apprehension or reluctance to go to school (which may be a sign of bullying), the inability of the child to socialize with other kids, or the inability to focus on any specific task for more than a few minutes. “If parents see these signs, they can call me at Legal Aid to review the situation and learn about options that may be available to assist the child and maximize their educational opportunities,” states Pacheco-Cotton.

If a child is classified as Exceptional Student Education (ESE) eligible, then he or she may be entitled to services or supports such as counseling, tutors, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and more – all free of charge. Many of these kinds of decisions are made by the school district during an ‘Individualized Education Plan’ (IEP) meeting involving the parents and school officials. Ms. Pacheco - Cotton attends IEP meetings whenever appropriate for her clients at Legal Aid.

The ‘En Casa Con Martin Ycaza’ daily TV Show on Telemundo SWFL is paid programming by En Casa Productions. Mr. Ycaza and En Casa Productions regularly air content in the public interest as a public service, such as highlighting the work that Legal Aid is doing to help low-income students and families through the Education Legal Rights Project.

“It has always been my focus to give priority to organizations that inform and help our community in general regardless of race, color, origin, or sexual preference. To me, my community is not only Hispanics, my community is every person that resides in Southwest Florida,” states Mr. Ycaza.

Legal Aid Service of Collier County (LASCC) is a private, non-profit law firm, and a Division of Legal Aid Service of Broward County, a 501 ( c ) 3 non-profit corporation. LASCC has its main office in Naples, Florida, and maintains an outreach office in Immokalee, Florida. LASCC provides free civil legal services to the low-income community in Collier County.

LASCC employs 18 full time professionals, including eight Staff Attorneys. The six Units focus on the following areas of law: Family Law, Immigration Law, Housing Law, Education Law, Public Benefits Law, and Low-Income Taxpayers Clinic. In cooperation with the Collier County Bar Association, LASCC also operates the Collier Lawyers Care (CLC) Pro Bono Program. Under the CLC program, private attorneys volunteer their time to assist the underprivileged community in Collier County on a wide range of civil legal matters. More than 130 private attorneys have joined Collier Lawyers Care.