Law students spend inspiring spring break supporting alumnus’ Panama orphanage

Group of Campbell Law student volunteers pose on steps of an orphanage in Panama

RALEIGH — A group of Campbell Law students skipped the typical beach-bound Spring Break and instead traveled thousands of miles to support the work of a law school alumnus. In doing so, they also fulfilled the requirements of a unique course that showcases legal issues in developing countries.

The Campbell Law team journeyed to Panama to work alongside Heart’s Cry Children’s Ministry, a non-profit founded by 2003 Campbell Law graduate Misty Coble Hedspeth and her husband, Matthew. Heart’s Cry seeks to create efficiencies for orphan care around the world. The organization consults with foreign governments to streamline their adoption processes and simplify their efforts to place children in loving homes, domestically and internationally. Heart’s Cry also assists orphanages in better providing for the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of the orphans in their care.

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Associate Professor Lucas Osborn served as faculty advisor to the students and designed the trip’s “Study and Service” curriculum:

  • The classroom portion focused on topics such as international and Panamanian law as well as adoption, orphan care and foster care law and policy (national and international)
  • The travel portion in Panama during spring break (March 9-16) included visiting Casa Providencia, the first special needs orphanage of its kind in Panama as well as other orphanages and childcare centers, and the National Secretariat for Children, Adolescents and the Family   

The participating Campbell Law students were Michelle Dewkett, Hunter Koehl, Kevin Latshaw, Halee Morris, McKenna Ronan, Sarah Skinner, MC Skinner, and Elisabeth Stedman.

Much has changed since the Hedspeths first ventured to Panama. They have since transformed a gutted former U.S. military building into a state-of-the-art orphanage designed to create “the best of the best for the least of the least.”

Campbell Law has sent students over Spring Break to support Heart’s Cry Children’s Ministry and the orphans it serves since 2013.

“For many of our students, few have traveled to a developing country, and while they may have studied these topics in a classroom, this trip allowed them to directly apply these important fields to people on the ground and see the implications the law may have on their lives,” Professor Osborn said. “They also saw how a former student of Campbell Law has heard the calling to work with and apply her education in helping some of the most vulnerable children in the world.”

Since its founding in 1976, Campbell Law has developed lawyers who possess moral conviction, social compassion, and professional competence, and who view the law as a calling to serve others. Among its accolades, the school has been recognized by the American Bar Association (ABA) as having the nation’s top Professionalism Program and by the American Academy of Trial Lawyers for having the nation’s best Trial Advocacy Program. Campbell Law boasts more than 4,200 alumni, who make their home in nearly all 50 states and beyond. Throughout 2019, Campbell Law is celebrating 40 years of graduating legal leaders and 10 years of being located in a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of North Carolina’s Capital City.