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Laura Trask

About Author

Laura Trask (LauraAyuda)

  • Email: laurat@ayuda.com
  • Nice Name: lauraayuda
  • Website:
  • Registered On :2017-11-07 20:37:58
  • Logged in at: LauraAyuda
  • Author ID: 13

Author Posts

Ayuda Impact

Who We Help

  • 6,500 Immigrant women, children and men annually
  • 104 countries of origin across the continents
  • 22 languages
  • 100% low-Income
  • Residents of the DC-metro region (DC-MD-VA)
  • All immigrants regardless of country of origin, race/ethnicity, sex and sexual orientation, gender, age, and/or cultural, political, or religious backgrounds

How We Help

  • 45 years of service
  • 95% of cases successfully resolved
  • Directly assists 2,700 clients annually
  • Culturally and linguistically appropriate services
  • Holistic legal, social, and language access services
  • Ayuda legal representation and pro bono work
  • Community outreach and education

 Ayuda Community

  • 13 Board of Directors members
  • 18 Ayuda Advisory Council members
  • 100 legal, civil, community, and student volunteers
  • 40,000 hours volunteered
  • 30 community partners
    • 40 law firms and corporations
    • 15 foundations
  • $5.3 million in grants, donation, and in-kind gifts from the public and private sectors

 Immigration Legal Program

  • 2,945 matters resolved
  • 2,070 clients served
  • 973 legal consultations provided
  • 158 Special Immigrant Juvenile Status cases for abandoned, abuses, or neglected children won
  • 30 visas for survivors of human trafficking secured
  • 250 work authorization application approvals obtained
  • 58 DACA applications processed
  • 57 TPS re-registrations processed

Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault and Family Law Program

  • 52 temporary and civil protective orders for clients secured
  • 47 children assisted in custody matters

Social Services Program

  • Provided comprehensive case management and therapy to:
    • 149 survivors of domestic violence
    • 16 unaccompanied children
    • 73 human trafficking survivors

Language Access Program

  • 1,619 in person translation facilitated
  • 4,792 telephonic interpretations provided
  • 457 document translations completed
  • Trained 54 interpreters
  • 70 nonprofit partnerships

Pro Bono Program

  • 12 legal clinics conducted
  • 7 Know Your Rights Presentations coordinated
  • 2 Family Preparedness Clinics organized
  • 15 law firms providing pro bono attorneys

Project END Program

  • 37 victims of immigration services fraud counseled
  • 11 outreach efforts conducted and 256 immigrant consumers reached
  • 7 trainings to immigration advocates organized
  • 3 commercial length videos produced with the Hispanic Bar Association

Volunteer and Outreach Program

  • 4,125 hours of donated time from 50 general community volunteers
  • 30,000 hours from immigration, DV/family law, social services, language access, development, and administrative interns
  • 10 outreach events and presentations, more than 300 community members reached


Ayuda's Impact Report Graphics




Full Length Project END Videos

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Short Video Clips Project END


Press Release


English Press Release HBA-DC and Ayuda Videos_12.18.17


Spanish_Press Release_HBA-DC and Ayuda Videos_12.18.17

 Ayuda Attorney Rebecca Walters Stops Helen’s Deportation

“Helen Pacheco, a former client of mine, recently wrote to you about her journey with Ayuda. I am honored that she refers to me as her “angel” and that we still share a special connection after all of these years. In truth, you surely would also have rushed to her side to offer help had you heard her story of courage, strength, and compassion firsthand.

It was my privilege, and Ayuda’s, to have been in the right place at the right time for Helen and her family, in order to provide them with the knowledge and support they needed to access the legal remedies that were available to them through our justice system.

I met Helen at her lowest point. She had just buried her husband. She and her two teenagers wore electronic ankle monitors, allowing ICE to monitor their movements at all times, including when the children were attending church or school. Her youngest child Christopher, a U.S. citizen toddler, was severely ill, due to complications resulting from his premature birth. Worst of all, in her hands was a final warning letter from ICE demanding that she and her children prepare for their imminent deportation to Honduras.

Helen’s already grim life could have gotten ten-times more unbearable if it weren’t for Ayuda.

Christopher was born twenty-one weeks premature after Helen suffered a violent assault during her pregnancy. He survived against all odds. Although at the time I first met Helen, he was still receiving frequent life-sustaining medical treatments from six different specialists. Despite being so young, a U.S. citizen, and a medical “miracle” according to his doctors, Christopher was about to be sent to Honduras along with Helen and his siblings, as he had no other parent or caregiver in the United States. Relocation to Honduras would have been a death sentence for Christopher given his medical needs, and the whole family feared violence from the notorious street gangs that had gained significant power there.

We had to work quickly as the family was on the verge of being deported. When I heard Helen’s story and learned that she was a domestic violence survivor, I assisted her in filing a U visa application, a legal remedy for victims of crime who cooperate with law enforcement. We filed an emergency stay of removal to stop the deportations, buying us some time while the visa application was pending. Eventually Helen’s U visa was approved, meaning that the whole family could stay, and providing Helen and her older children with a path to legal permanent residency.

Sometimes, I think about what could have happened if Helen had not walked into my office that day seven years ago, and if Ayuda had not had the availability and resources to take her case. I cannot help but think of the countless other families, just like Helen’s, who call our office, but who we do not currently have the capacity to serve due to resource constraints.

Helen has glowing praise for Ayuda. What’s more remarkable is Helen herself. She is a true force of nature. She is strong, determined, and one of the most spirited individuals I have ever met. Today, Helen is thriving as a fitness coach. She is encouraging others to practice healthy living, follow a healthy diet, and to exercise. She motivates many to live their best lives and it has been amazing to watch her helping and inspiring others. I have worked with Helen and her kids for a long time and it has been an inspiration and a privilege to be a part of their journey.

At Ayuda, we are currently able to waive our nominal consultation fee for survivors of domestic violence like Helen. Our donor contributions are what allows Ayuda to offer this lifeline to immigrants living under the gravest of circumstances and to represent other vulnerable families in their time of need. Their resilience, our specialized knowledge and experience, plus your support, is how we move mountains. This is how the justice of the American dream is realized; how cycles of violence and exploitation are broken, and how individual lives are rebuilt and transformed.”

-Rebecca Walters, Ayuda Supervising Attorney


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