By Kayla Haines • JBA Young Lawyers Section Board of Governors
For the Jacksonville legal community, February means chili. It is time for the Young Lawyers Section Charity Chili Cook-off at Riverside Arts Market on Feb. 15.
For those who have never attended, it is a chili and cornbread competition. Around 50 teams from local law firms compete for awards that include best overall, crowd favorite, meatiest and spiciest.
Over the past few years, we have averaged more than 4,000 members of the general public in attendance.
The purpose of the competition is not only to win bragging rights, but also to raise money for a local charity.
It is a day of fun, fundraising and friendly competition.
The event has grown to be one of the biggest for the local legal community and has raised thousands of dollars for some amazing charities, including Rethreaded and Best Buddies of Jacksonville.
This year, the event benefits Clarke School of Jacksonville, an organization that provides children who are deaf or hard of hearing with the listening, learning and spoken language skills they need to succeed in mainstream schools.
The Jacksonville campus opened in 1996 and serves children from birth to age 7 through early intervention, preschool/kindergarten, primary, mainstreaming and speech and language services.
I have visited and toured the campus three times since we selected Clarke as our beneficiary, and I can attest to how amazing this facility is and how inspiring the children are that it serves.
I leave every time with a tear in my eye and hope in my heart for these children.
Booker T. Washington said, “Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.” There’s not a more true statement for me as it has been an honor to chair this incredible event this year. My committee is a bunch of rockstars and the staff of the Jacksonville Bar Association has stepped up to support me.
We have all committed to reach our common goal of raising as much money as possible for Clarke School.
I hope to see our legal community come out in full support toward this goal Feb. 15.
Kayla Haines is an associate attorney with Smith Hulsey & Busey practicing in the firm’s business and health care departments.