Volunteer Highlight: Dorie Arthur
Author: Brennen Martin
Dorie Arthur, a volunteer with the Greater Richmond Bar Foundation, knows first hand what it is like to be on the brink of homelessness and unsure of where to go next. Through her perseverance, she decided to turn her own life experiences into an opportunity to help those in need.
“When you are underwater and you are facing homelessness, it is the biggest relief to have assistance, and I know that at a personal level. I know what that feels like. Getting to deliver that news and getting to facilitate that process is really important to me.” says Arthur.
Dorie is currently a Law Student at the University of Richmond with just a few short months separating her from the beginning of a sure-to-be impactful legal career. Heading into her first year of law school, she saw herself focusing on corporate law due to her recent years of living in poverty. In her first year, she quickly realized that her passions lie outside of Corporate Law and knew that she wanted to dedicate her time to more worthy causes.
“I just want to help people. I have difficulty finding meaning or motivation in things that don’t contribute to the betterment of our society,” she said.
This led her to find the Greater Richmond Bar Foundation. When she received the opportunity to work alongside the Eviction Diversion Program, she acted immediately. She has made a significant difference in the lives of those facing significant challenges. Knowing all too well the stress that accompanies financial troubles, Arthur takes pride in being able to alleviate this burden for others. Being able to not only help resolve outstanding financial commitments but also relieve one of the most stressful situations that a person will ever go through is extremely fulfilling according to Arthur.
“I think it’s really important to understand the issues of the people that you are helping. It gives you the opportunity to be compassionate and to see in real-time how you are changing people’s lives.”
It is through Arthur’s ability to empathize with these people going through such tough situations that she can bring a level of humanity to a situation where a person feels absent of such.
Her volunteer work allowed her to become further knowledgeable and understanding of these challenges, and the organizations that are there to help. Through her volunteer efforts, she has increased awareness of the statistics behind homelessness and evictions which has allowed her to help color in the bigger picture of the socio-economic problems that we have, particularly in Richmond.
According to statistics reported by the Eviction Lab, Richmond has one of the highest eviction rates in the country at eleven percent. These numbers have since seen a dramatic increase due to COVID-19. In the past year alone, the city of Richmond has seen a 50% increase in homelessness.
It’s a constant battle that requires a team effort in order to keep people in their homes. Dorie stands alongside many Eviction Diversion and GRBF volunteers that work in unison to achieve GRBF’s mission of expanding access to Justice. GRBF and The Eviction Diversion program value the hard work of their volunteer lawyers and conciliators like Arthur, who plays an integral role that helps aid the crises of homelessness and eviction.
Dorie Arthur is a Law Student at the University of Richmond and extensively volunteers with GRBF. She graduates from law school in May 2021 and will sit for the Virginia Bar this summer. She is devoted to research and academic writing, especially with concern to the socioeconomic inequality in America, and plans to incorporate this in her career.