Making a Difference One Case at a Time

Alia Sisson (left) with PBV Director Tim Deveney and fellow PBV Lota Ofodile

By Alia Sisson
During my time interning at the U.S. Senate in college, I had the distinguished title of “Intern 6.” While it was important work I was honored to do, I couldn’t help feeling a bit like a tiny cog in the enormous machine of American politics – easily replaced and forgotten.

My time as a volunteer at Legal Aid of Western Missouri (LAWMO) has been quite the opposite. At the time of this writing, I am over seven months into my nine months of service through the Missionaries of the Precious Blood as a Precious Blood Volunteer. From the time I began my service at Legal Aid, the most notable aspect of the work environment is the collegiality, friendliness, and inclusivity of all staff, from interns to the Executive Director.

On my first day, I was pleasantly surprised to find I would be given my own office, phone number, and email address. Not only did this make me feel valued for donating my time, but it’s indicative of the greater mission of LAWMO, which to me centers on the inherent dignity of every person. From the clients that we serve to the staff and volunteers, Legal Aid’s work is a labor of love. LAWMO attracts people with big hearts and high ambitions to help the neediest among us.

As far as the work that I do for Legal Aid, it could not be more perfect for what I was seeking from a volunteer year following my law school graduation. While there are plenty of opportunities for soul-crushing corporate, transactional work after I take the bar exam, I wanted to dedicate a year of my life to something beyond billable hours in the 9-to-5 grind. I would be hard-pressed to find something more fulfilling than helping domestic violence survivors pick up the pieces of their lives and start fresh by getting divorced from abusers and gaining custody of their kids.

Through this experience, I have been privileged to get an inside look at the justice system. For example, attending court with our clients as Legal Aid attorneys work with them to obtain full orders of protection. I have observed how the justice system intersects with children’s division, domestic violence shelters, the police, and other agencies. I have also learned a great deal of practical knowledge for when I practice law, such as drafting pleadings, interrogatories, letters, briefs, and research memoranda.

Though not every case always goes in our client’s favor, I know for a fact that the Legal Aid attorneys and paralegals are amongst the hardest working out there and always do their very best in advocating for those who do not possess the luxury of other options. I have had several clients give the most heartfelt thanks to me for the help that Legal Aid provided them. With one client even offering to clean our offices in gratitude (I politely declined), it is safe to say LAWMO makes a tremendous positive difference in the Missouri community.

I am so thankful to be the first Precious Blood Volunteer placed at Legal Aid of Western Missouri, and I hope I am not the last. Both organizations harmonize in bridging the gap between resources and need by offering a helping hand to those in poverty. It is my sincere hope that LAWMO and Precious Blood will share a bright future in collaborating to bless volunteers with the ability to serve and grow.

To learn more about serving as a Precious Blood Volunteer at Legal Aid of Western Missouri go to

Introducing the 2017-2018 Precious Blood Volunteers: Alia Sisson

2017-2018 Volunteer Alia Sisson

Alia Sisson was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Dayton in 2013. Alia graduated from the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law with her Juris Doctorate in 2016. She plans to serve the poor and practice public interest law as her vocation.  She was awarded for completing over 200 hours of pro bono student legal service. In her free time, she loves to sing and play guitar. Alia will be serving from September to at least June of 2018 and will serve in the domestic violence division of Legal Aid of Western Missouri.

  •  Why do you want to volunteer? 

“The following verse sums up my philosophy on volunteering: ‘Freely you have received, freely give’ (Matt 10:8). I have been given so much in this life that I haven’t earned, through God’s grace. Not everyone is so fortunate. I have the gifts of my time and education to freely give, which I hope can lend a hand to help get people back on their feet. We all need help from time to time, and I am happy to offer what I can to others in their time of need. Serving the poor reminds me to keep a grateful heart and a humble attitude.” 

  • Why do you want to volunteer with Precious Blood Volunteers? 

“I want my faith and my vocation to be inextricably combined, with one breathing life into the other. Missionaries of the Precious Blood represents the highest values to which I aspire, especially walking with those who suffer. I went to law school to be able to help those in need to the best of my ability, and working at Legal Aid of Western Missouri will ensure I can do just that.  
Recognizing the inherent dignity in every human life, no matter the circumstances, is truly loving our neighbor. It is easy to love those like us, but loving those who are most unlike us is what Christians are called to do. As a Precious Blood volunteer I will seek to help reconcile broken bonds in the Kansas City community and build bridges where there is hopelessness. Along the way, I look forward to learning a great deal from those I will work with.” 

  • What are you looking forward to about your volunteer experience?

“This volunteer experience offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to give service where it is truly needed. I am eager to work with clients that I will hopefully be able to help in a deeply meaningful way – to find or keep their housing and stay safely off the streets. I am also looking forward to the freedom from material distraction that living minimally in a faith community offers. By volunteering, I hope to grow my heart and my skills as a lawyer. I look forward to forging friendships with my fellow volunteers, the priests we live with, and the Kansas City community as a whole. (I also hope to improve on my cooking skills whenever I make dinner for the household!)”