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Bamberg Legal LLC remained in touch with the community throughout the pandemic. Rep. Justin Bamberg, third from left, is pictured at a turkey giveaway.

As the coronavirus pandemic tightened its grip on the region, students and parents had to adjust to the change from in-person learning to virtual learning.

For some parents and families, the transition was relatively smooth. Others were not so fortunate.

Bamberg Legal LLC law firm stepped up the plate to help those less fortunate during those trying times.

“The at-risk youth are not always the students who struggle with learning in class, but also struggle with the lack of self-confidence to apply what they have learned,” said Rep. Justin Bamberg, an attorney.

“Virtual school left the children home alone more while parents had to work,” Bamberg said. “This was a huge disadvantage to the children who need face-to-face teaching or struggle with schoolwork.”

In addition to the lack of one-on-one attention, the lack of internet access was also a challenge for some youth.

“The pandemic made it very difficult to find locations that offer public internet usage,” Bamberg Legal Office Manager Darlene Smith said. “Even though some schools offered Chromebooks with an internet connection, they still had connectivity issues in certain locations.”

While both Smith and Bamberg agree that social distancing was the right answer to help control the pandemic, there were some negative consequences.

At-risk youth were also placed at a disadvantage because they didn’t have peers to socialize with, Bamberg said.

“The pandemic left the youth with no sports events to look forward to or even graduation. I think some youth felt as though there was not much to look forward to,” he said.

As part of its efforts to help at-risk youth, Bamberg Legal’s community outreach division hosted several back-to-school bashes. It gave out school supplies to help with virtual and face-to-face learning.

Another outreach effort was a Kickin’ it with Cops event, an effort aimed to bridge the gap between police officers and youth.

“We have also sponsored and been otherwise involved in community outreach events and projects,” Bamberg said. “Our community outreach department has helped in multiple food drives to ensure that underprivileged youth would not go hungry during the pandemic.”

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Community Outreach Director Trena Crosby, who oversees Bamberg County, said Bamberg Legal served as a “middle man” to connect students with their teachers and administrators during the pandemic.

Crosby said she missed going to the schools during the pandemic for various career events but did manage to visit the schools on a limited basis during the pandemic.

“I had hands-on relationships with the students,” she said. “I love to talk with people.”

Crosby said students who were working in-person were always happy to see her.

“A lot of times a lot of children don’t have that one-to-one communication with their parents and they felt safe with me,” Crosby said. “They felt secure. I let them know even though we were in this pandemic, we are going to get out of this, we were going to stay in it and fight together to come out and that is what happened.”

Bamberg Legal Community Outreach Deputy Director Anthony Hallmon, who oversees Orangeburg County, said Bamberg Legal is more than just a law firm.

“We love and care for the community,” Hallmon said. “We are trying to encourage our youth to let them know we care.”

Hallmon says Bamberg Legal has always been about helping the community.

But Bamberg Legal went beyond serving the youth during the pandemic.

“We have really done all we could during the pandemic to not only help students, but everybody,” Crosby said. “I went out personally. I mowed the lawns for some of the senior citizens. I made sure their place was nice and well kept.”

Crosby said she also made sure seniors had groceries and medications.

“It is not just giving, giving, giving, but giving your service, giving your knowledge, giving your time,” Crosby said. “I called a lot of people during the pandemic because I did not want them to sit at home and be depressed. They don’t drive and they don’t work. Most of them live by themselves.”

“It made them so happy,” Crosby said. “We at Bamberg Legal, we are community-orientated. We are family-based. We love people. Our hearts and minds are set on satisfying people.”

Hollman praised Justin Bamberg for setting up the community outreach department.

“It allows us to get out into the community and let them know we are here for you,” he said.

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