By Louisa Duggan
I stood in my black knee-length skirt, quickly trying to manage my collared blouse with the funky buttons when the faded yellow 74 appeared at my stop. The butterflies in my stomach had calmed since the night before and my mind kept reassuring thoughts on repeat. The bus driver smiled and I remember feeling ultra-cool while I scanned the Orca Card my dad had bought with me earlier that week. I grabbed the nearest seat and prepared for my first day volunteering with Legal Voice.
The ride seemed slower than I had anticipated and I arrived at my destination half an hour earlier than needed. I was new to the surroundings so I decided to quickly go to the Legal Voice office and apologize for my inappropriate arrival time. Of course Jennifer was the nicest person I had met so far in my new habitat and welcomed me. I was thankful for her smile every day.
I came to Legal Voice to follow in my mother’s footsteps and pursue my desire of helping women and children through family law. The goal was to see if the future I had been planning would really one day become a reality for me. But this summer has been so much more than that. I actually see myself not just as a woman but also as a feminist. I found my voice by wanting to help others find theirs. The envelopes I’ve stuffed help bring in supporters for an amazing cause and it’s for ideals I wouldn’t ever give up for anything.
I initially wanted to write something that you, the reader, wanted to hear—perhaps about my awkward transition from my home in Hawaii to the big city of Seattle for seven weeks of independence. However, I then realized that what I really needed to be heard was my own voice, my own experience. Today I find myself being able to navigate through the streets of my neighborhood and the nearby areas like a pro. I have to say goodnight to my roommates (my aunt and uncle with their twin three-year-olds) earlier than normal, giving the big girl excuse of, “Sorry, but I have work tomorrow.” And as my time with this wonderful organization comes to a close and I prepare to return home, I realize that Legal Voice is my home away from home.
Louisa Duggan is a rising senior at Hawaii Preparatory Academy waiting in anticipation of her next step in finding her voice.