Better Together with Kosta Yepifantsev

Showing Up with Rachel Moses

July 03, 2023 Kosta Yepifantsev Season 3 Episode 6
Better Together with Kosta Yepifantsev
Showing Up with Rachel Moses
Show Notes Transcript

Join Kosta and his guest: Rachel Moses, Legal Aid Society Attorney, Former President of the Tennessee Bar Association's Young Lawyers, and active member of Cookeville Evening Lions Club and Cookeville Breakfast Rotary assisting in the placement and oversight of hundreds of foreign exchange students and host families.

In this episode: What inspired both Rachel and her brother Adam to becoming practicing attorneys, Legal Aid Society, Rachel's outreach and long standing philanthropic work as a Rotarian, Lions Club Member and mentor to lawyers across the world, and how to get involved in the Upper Cumberland. 

Better Together with Kosta Yepifantsev is a product of Morgan Franklin Media and recorded in Cookeville, TN.

More About Rachel Moses and Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands:
https://las.org/

Cookeville Breakfast Rotary:
https://www.facebook.com/CookevilleBreakfastRotary

Cookeville Evening Lions Club:
https://e-clubhouse.org/sites/cookeville/index.php

Rachel Moses:

I honestly I would do very similarly what I did even now I would just show up to organizations to meetings. You know, I of course back then we didn't have Facebook even, you know, now you have so many opportunities to learn about what's going on in the community, just show up, do it.

Morgan Franklin:

Welcome to Better Together with Kosta Yepifantsev, a podcast on parenting business and living life intentionally. We're here every week to bring you thoughtful conversation, making your own path to success,challenging the status quo, and finding all the ways we're better together. Here's your host, Kosta Yepifantsev.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Hey, y'all, it's Kosta. Today, I'm here with my guest, Rachel Moses, Legal Aid Society attorney, former president of the Tennessee Bar Association's young lawyers and active member of Cookeville evening Lions Club and Cookeville breakfast rotary assisting in the placement and oversight of hundreds of foreign exchange students and host families. So Rachel, before we get into it, I want to talk about something that really caught my eye when I was reading your story and biography. Both you and your brother Adam are practicing attorneys. So two questions, how did this happen? And should I get my kids in LSAT practice workbook for Christmas?

Rachel Moses:

Very good questions. So it is really odd actually, that Adam and I both became attorneys. My father was a nuclear engineer. My mother was a chemist, who later got into the business sides of things with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and I got a an MBA, and so was on more of the contracting side of that. But we were a very analytical family and a very argumentative family, and we pushed each other and a lot of different ways. You know, it wasn't just a situation where I went to my dad, I'm like, Hey, can you help me with my homework, he's like, you know, I'll help you do your homework. And you know, and there was a lot of like, you need to look it up, you need to look it up, and just a lot of research. And so I knew from the get go, that I wanted to use research to then argue on behalf of others, because I saw a lot of just situations in my school and, and working with, you know, just my peers and things that were unfair. And I was always the one that was not afraid to speak up. But I think it's because I had parents that always pushed me to speak up. And you know, for myself and for others. So I'm the older siblings. So I'm five years older than Adam. And so from the get go, I wanted to be a lawyer. And so I went into that area. And then I, you know, I always wondered when my brother went into it, as well. But I talked to him recently about that. And he did say that he was inspired by me going to law school. And we both have, we're very fortunate to have international experiences growing up. And so he went into the immigration field. And so that's what he practices. And then I practice with legal aid and have my whole career. And so it's just kind of weird that we both ended up being lawyers. But I think, you know, being a professional was was always on the table, you know, because our parents were so professional. And you know, there was not a question that we were going to go to college and there really wasn't a question, we were gonna go to graduate school. But law school is just something an early dream of mine. And then it became a dream of my brothers.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Where did you go to law school?

Rachel Moses:

I went to University of Tennessee,

Kosta Yepifantsev:

I love it. And you work for a nonprofit in the legal field, which is, you know, we're going to talk a lot about legal aid and how it functions. Yeah. And that's a divergence from what a lot of people consider to be when it comes to lawyers, because I always assume, based on how many, you know, my the size of the bills that I pay that all lawyers are millionaires, right,

Rachel Moses:

right. That's, yeah, that's a stereotype. Yeah, not all lawyers are millionaires. Some are and I'm envious of some of those sometimes, but no, actually, it's a really hard business. You know, I have been fortunate to be in the nonprofit world. And I obviously have a lot of friends that are lawyers, and they work very, very hard, a lot of hours. But if you are in the private sector, you know, it can pay off ultimately, hopefully.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

So I do want to ask one other thing. Your dad worked as a nuclear physicist, right. So is that why at the y 12? Plant,

Rachel Moses:

he was at x 10. But

Kosta Yepifantsev:

yeah, yes, sir. Yeah. So did he help create the nuclear bomb?

Rachel Moses:

He did not he Oppenheimer, he did not and it was not that old. Okay. But I'm excited about that movie. Oh, my gosh. Yeah. I cannot wait to see yes. I think it can be a lot of focused on Los Alamos, New Mexico, but Oak Ridge, you know, of course, it was very instrumental. My father was born after World War Two. Okay. And he, yes. And he was in the army. And then he was a math and physics major at UT actually University of Chattanooga, before it was UTC. It was just You see, but then went into the Army and then ultimately knew he wanted to go into nuclear engineering and so went to Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, but Tennessee was home and so came to Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 1981. You know that that time it was Union Carbide was the government contractor. So he did not work on the bomb. His most of his work was actually in his later years doing plutonium disposition, you know, thinking about how to use plutonium in non bomb making ways and to control the your enriched uranium and the plutonium that's around the world, especially in countries like Russia. And so he went to Russia about 26 times. Oh, wow.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Yeah, that's amazing. Yeah. So how'd you make it to Cookeville when I

Rachel Moses:

was in law school at UT, I started interning with the legal aid program that was in Oak Ridge, my hometown, and loved Legal Aid. That was my passion. That was where I would love to work. You know, jobs are few and far between just because a lot of people stay at Legal Aid for a long time. And there's not a whole lot of funding. So there's not a whole lot of new jobs every year. So there were no jobs in Oakridge when I was graduating. But there was a job in Cookeville. And I had met the two attorneys that were in Cookeville, at the time that are still here with us, Bill bush and Marla Williams. And they interviewed me and selected me to come to Cookeville in 2002. Wow. So

Kosta Yepifantsev:

you've been here a minute, yes, 21 years this summer. I love it. I love it. So tell us a bit more about the Legal Aid Society, what the organization does, and how it helps protect and enforce the legal rights of low income and vulnerable members of our community.

Rachel Moses:

So Legal Aid Society is a nonprofit organization. There's four legal aid programs in Tennessee, I work for the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberland is kind of a long name. But there are 46 counties that we cover in the Middle Tennessee area. But the Cookeville office is one of eight offices in Cookeville, handles 10 counties. So still, that's almost a fourth of the whole firm. So we get a lot of funding from government contracts, even though we're not government employees. But we also get contributions from private firms and attorneys and just individuals who want to contribute. And we provide free legal services. So our clients do not pay us anything for a variety of civil problems. So no criminal

Kosta Yepifantsev:

I see. And so like, for example, how many people do you typically see a month?

Rachel Moses:

I have a caseload of usually between 75 and 85

Kosta Yepifantsev:

new cases each month? No, no,

Rachel Moses:

those are not always new. That's my like, but But it kind of depends on the level of service. Okay, typically, I will probably take in about 20 new cases a month. So a lot it is. And as some of those clients, they just need legal advice. They don't know if their landlord's doing the right thing, or they don't know, you know, if they're getting the right amount of food stamps, and they just want us to double check things or give them advice. And so that might be what we call a quick close kind of case where we just give counsel and advice, follow up with a letter, that then other folks need ongoing representation because of a court case or for victims of domestic violence. We need to represent them in court with orders of protection and divorces. That's not criminal. It's not sometimes there may be a criminal component, like there may have been a criminal charge of domestic violence or domestic assault, like aggravated assault, sometimes it can be aggravated sometimes it's just called domestic assault. criminal charge. Yeah, that's a criminal. That's where the state the prosecutor's office, the DHS office, they're handling that. But if they have children with that person, or if they have, you know, sometimes the criminal case, you know, it's a higher burden, they have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, you know, they're in sometimes that might be a little harder, depending on the circumstances, there could still be a right to a civil action for what's called an order of protection. But that's a civil case where it's not the state versus the abuser, but it's the the victim versus the abuser to try to get that protection. And then sometimes in an order, or a divorce might be necessary if they have children, or if they want to be divorced from the abuser if they're married.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

And so just so everybody understands, that's listening. If you're being tried for a criminal case, you are appointed an attorney, right, like a public defender.

Rachel Moses:

Yes. If you cannot afford one, then you can ask the court to be appointed either a public defender or just a court appointed attorney. You guys handled divorces, too, we do for just the victims of domestic violence. Okay. Okay. But it doesn't have to be that there has to be a criminal case connected to that. I mean, it could be have been past abuse, and they've escaped from that abuse, and they're ready to make that full separation of divorce.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Obviously, to hire an attorney is really expensive. It's like $200 an hour. Usually, there's a lot of people that can't afford that. So what happens to people who don't seek out the services of legal aid, because maybe you guys are maxed out, you know, it's probably a thing and they have to represent themselves in like a custody battle or something to do with Children's Services. That's not considered criminal. What's the success rate of someone representing themselves?

Rachel Moses:

I will say the success rate is not very good. People need attorneys, and that's why Legal Aid exists to try to fill the gap as much as we can, but but there's still a gap.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Is it a pretty big gap?

Rachel Moses:

It's a pretty big gap, unfortunately. I mean, we do what we can sure Um, we do also sometimes that we have a contract attorney program where we can contract with private attorneys to do additional cases that maybe we can't handle in house because we are swamped. But we have some private attorneys in this area who we can contract with and pay to provide the free service to the client. We also have attorneys that do pro bono, some of them do formal pro bono that meaning they take the case from us directly, but a lot of attorneys do pro bono services or or low Bono, we call you know, where they don't charge as much. But there's still that gap. The Supreme Court of Tennessee has developed some forms for a lot of different areas to try to make the courts more accessible to people. For instance, they developed divorce forms for agreed divorces, so not necessarily domestic violence situations, but where two parties agree they want some saleable differences. Yes, exactly. Yeah. irreconcilable differences. And

Kosta Yepifantsev:

they in the 2000s, a lot of celebrities. Differences. Yeah, yeah.

Rachel Moses:

I'm glad you know what, though, yes. And so if they don't have any property, like real estate in it, but they can have kids, but just not real property. And if they don't have a lot of complicated property issues, like maybe 401, K's or things like that, if it's a pretty simple divorce, where they just want to separate their personal property, their debts, and even come up with an agreed parenting plan for their children, the divorce court does have some forms available to try to make it more accessible for people to represent themselves pro se without an attorney,

Kosta Yepifantsev:

we're going to talk a lot about like foreign exchange and host families. And I know that you said you've had a lot of experience and traveling internationally. So I want to ask, like, do other countries face the same problem? Like do they also have this gap of people who need legal representation but can't find it?

Rachel Moses:

They do? I mean, from my experience? Yes. Yes. Rotary International has what's called fellowships. And so if you are a Rotarian that, you know, likes riding motorcycles, there's a rotary motorcycle fellowship, and there's a wine tasting fellowship. Well, there's a lawyer fellowship for Rotarians that are lawyers. And so I've attended a couple of the Rotary International conventions and got to attend the rotary lawyer fellowship events, like in Canada, and we did one and are in Montreal, New Orleans. And so I talked to Rotarians from around the world and about that issue. Yeah. And so yeah, civil legal, especially in the civil legal side. You know, I think that most countries have the right to criminal defense attorneys, but in the civil kind of areas, it's it's unfortunately a problem internationally. Yeah.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

So I do want to say I went to the Rotary Club one time, I was invited by a friend and gave a presentation on long term care. It wasn't during the breakfast one is during the day one right, but I haven't been invited back since.

Rachel Moses:

Breakfast. Okay. Yeah. Every Tuesday, Sunday may

Kosta Yepifantsev:

have scared them, though. Because I had a lot of like, really like hard hitting facts, and, you know, nursing homes, warehousing old people, and I think they were like, Yeah, might be a little bit too divisive for rotaries.

Rachel Moses:

Sorry, no, no. I mean, I mean, that's just a serious issue.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

For sure. So how do people get in touch with legal aid?

Rachel Moses:

So our Cookeville office is located in the old historic arcade building on the square. We've been there since early September of 1980. So for 43 years, we've been in the same location. And so our local number is 931-528-7436. But people can also stop by we are not taking cases for the next week and a half because we're changing case management systems. But in general, I'm not sure when this is airing, just give us a call. And they can also check out our website www.las.org. So l a s stands for Legal Aid Society and ask

Kosta Yepifantsev:

for Rachel Yeah.

Rachel Moses:

I'll get them to the right person.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

For sure. So last thing, on the legal side, before we move on, what do you think about open AI passing the bar exam is scoring in the top 90th percentile? I mean, how's that going to change the industry?

Rachel Moses:

I think that it will actually improve the industry. The legal business is a serious business. And we want qualified people who are representing our clients all across the board. And so I think that we need to have some stronger requirements, possibly to make sure that folks are qualified. I am on the board of professional responsibilities, hearing panels, and sometimes you know, there's there's issues that come up with people that maybe weren't qualified to practice law.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Well, and I think one of the things we need to mention about open AI is if you have say for example, like a rental contract, you know, this this software, you can load this contract in and essentially ask it questions like you would not not replacing an attorney, and real legal advice, but it'll be able to read the contract and give you the minutia. The summary of it.

Rachel Moses:

Yes. I still think that it needs to be regulated. Yes, yes. By, by the bar associations of the different states and I, there needs to be oversight. You know, just like the Tennessee Supreme Court has adopt, you know, created forms that have been approved for divorces. You know, that's because there were people that were just kind of trying to create their own and so forth. And so if the software is going to be even easier to do their own, but they're not going to understand how it matches together and why. I mean, there are certain phrases that are in our legal documents that are there for a purpose because of cases and case law that have has sometimes been in existence for hundreds of years. And there's reasons behind that. I don't know if I'm necessarily No,

Kosta Yepifantsev:

no, it's perfect. No, it makes a lot of sense. We've we've essentially established that not all lawyers are millionaires, that if you are going to use open AI, make sure that you consult an attorney. Yes. And if you can't find an attorney, then try to push your court date until you can find one. Yes, absolutely.

Rachel Moses:

I love but I do think you should get your son an LSAT. Okay. Yeah,

Kosta Yepifantsev:

absolutely. I will. I will. Yeah. Well, I mean, you know, he loves to read he reads every night. So my oldest son and I have four kids, my oldest son and my youngest son, they share a bed. So they sleep in saying that they wanted it that way. And I was like, Alright, whatever. Yeah. So he reads to him every single night. And so like, he's got this curiosity about himself. So I think if I just give him and I give them math workbooks all the time, and he does them, you know, for fun. And so I thought maybe like, you know, LSAT, like what is in LSAT? Anyway? Like, is it just a summary of constitutional law? Or is it just like a critical thinking application? What is L slot? So

Rachel Moses:

there's all these logic games, okay. And yes, it is very interesting. I mean, I take I took an LSAT prep course, back in 98, I guess. Yeah. Yeah. They're all these interesting logic games. It's been a while since I've taken the LSAT. And so I'm having flashbacks here. And there, I think they added a writing component to it. I could be wrong about that. I think you're right. Yeah. And then there's, there are aspects kind of like the GRE, but it's not as broad, but the Logic Games is what what gets most people

Kosta Yepifantsev:

I toward Columbia University, and they have a dual MBA JD program. It's like a two year three year program. And obviously, I was strongly considering taking the LSAT and the GRE, right. So you have to have both to be able to get into the program. And I was talking to my friend, Kevin Christopher. And he's like, you want to practice law? And I was like, not really. But I want to understand it. Yeah. And I understand the dynamics and the semantics behind it. Because like I said, like, every time I get a bill from one of my attorneys for some type of proceeding, I'm like, gosh, this is expensive. Yes. Yeah. Well, man,

Rachel Moses:

I'm kind of going back to what I mentioned with my parents, you know, even though they were both science background, and people, you know, my dad had when dealing with the Russians adding could dig into the Atomic Energy Act and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and he was always he was always reading laws and analyzing them as a non lawyer, but he had lawyers that worked with him because sometimes he was going down one path but then it just the I think lawyers we see things from from because of our training in a different angle, and we know the consequences. And so that's why it's important.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Do Russians follow laws?

Rachel Moses:

That's a big question right now. Oh, my goodness. I know they did. Well, and the thing is, I know and it's so sad because I we have a lot of family friends that are from Russia. I was born in Russia. Yes. It's just sad. What's going on

Kosta Yepifantsev:

where per Goshen took the end, not the embassy, but like the military base for the southern operations. Rostov on Don, I was. That's where I was born. And that's where I grew up before we move to the United States. So like, I'm talking to my dad on the phone as this is all unfolding last week. And I was like, you know where this is, right. And he's like, Yeah, I mean, I grew up there, right. He was born in 66. And he didn't live anywhere else. He talked to some of his friends who he went to school with that are still living in Rostov. And one of the things that were rather profound that they said, I know, we're getting a little off topic. Now. I think it's important. They said that he was so my dad was so fortunate for leaving the former Soviet Union when Russia was still in its transition period. And they kicked themselves all the time for not leaving. But during that period, there was a glimmer when Boris Yeltsin was the president before Putin, right after Gorbachev. So in the 90s, when there was turmoil, there was this glimmer of hope that Russia would make the pivot to capitalism, and to a true democracy. And so they didn't leave. But my dad, I guess, you know, he had the foresight to leave anyway. And so obviously, everybody that stayed looking back now and given the dynamics that they're living under, especially, they're really upset that they didn't leave.

Rachel Moses:

Yeah. And then that makes me Fat because, you know, they shouldn't have had to have left. But yes, I get it

Kosta Yepifantsev:

crazy. For our listeners who don't know you I want to reiterate the true insanity of all the philanthropic and legal organizations you've been a part of not limited to serving as past president of the Putnam County Bar Association, president of the upper Cumberland Trial Lawyers Association, past president of the Cookeville evening Lions Club, past president of the Cookeville breakfast, Rotary Club, Chairman for inbound Rotary Youth Exchange Program and 50. Other titles, I don't have time to list off. Rotary and international exchanges is such a huge part of your philanthropic efforts day to day. What does this look like?

Rachel Moses:

I mean, the ultimate vision of of Rotary Youth Exchange is to allow young people between the ages of 15 and 19, the opportunity to experience literally a whole new world, a whole new country and a way of life, culturally, learn different language, and then just get an experience of not living with their parents and living with complete strangers. But as far as for us that work with the students, I mean, it's it's, it's fun, it's chaotic. It's, you know, stressful at times. And, yes, sometimes talking, there are some Yes, shocking cultural differences that we have to then explain to students why they can't just, you know, unclothed, when they come out of a pool isn't here, you know, we're a little more shy in the United States and other countries. That's when

Kosta Yepifantsev:

I tell everybody that comes over to our house, you know, when everybody's naked, borderline newness.

Rachel Moses:

There you go. But no, it's just really wonderful. We didn't get to do exchange for two years because of the pandemic. And so this past school year, the 2020, to 23, school year was the first year we got to do it after a couple of years. And those of us that volunteer with the program, and we we are responsible for these young adults, which means we have to find host families make sure that they are screened, you know, both background checks, reference checks, you know, home visits, we have to do follow ups, and then you know, even if you can find the perfect family, or what you think is gonna be the perfect family, then there's personalities and teenage hormones, you know, we're teenagers, you know, just behaviors that come into play.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

I mean, I grew up playing hockey, and I've told this story so many times on this podcast, so if you've heard it, you can just skip. So I played hockey growing up, and I lived with host families. From the time I was 15, you know, moved away from home, my dad said, you know, fly, fly. And it was such an amazing experience. I mean, there was positive and negative connotations to the experience of like, for example, the host family that I lived with in Brentwood, Tennessee. There, Louise, godparents we just went to a wedding for their oldest son. I mean, they're such an integral part of my life. They taught me so many valuable lessons. That, you know, my dad and being a single dad, for that matter. He just didn't have the time to teach me like morality. My love for Barack Obama. Just like so many things, yes. But then added other experiences of host families who were just they were just strange, folks, right? We're so strange.

Rachel Moses:

Being with the strange folks or being you know that sometimes you think, Oh, how am I going to get through this but you do you know, you've learned to adapt. You learn how to deal with people that are completely opposite. Have

Kosta Yepifantsev:

you have you ever read Greenlight by Matthew McConaughey?

Rachel Moses:

So I have not I've been wanting to I know he mentioned because he was a Rotary Youth Exchange Student, he went to

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Australia. And it's a big part of the book. And yes, the amount of adversity that he had to overcome with this family was eerily similar to some of my experiences and I'm sure to other people who are foreign exchange. And I mean, who doesn't love Matthew McConaughey? Exactly amazing. Well, and

Rachel Moses:

another kind of famous Rotary Youth Exchange Student is Rebel Wilson Oh yeah, she Wow. She was from Australia but she went to South Africa as her rotary exchange student year and the current Mrs. Canada you know of Mrs. America the pageant the current Mrs. Canada was also a Rotary Youth Exchange Student at the same year in South Africa. So new rebel or guest still knows Rebel Wilson and so it's just kind of cool. I went to a presentation in DC where Mrs. Canada spoke because she's now doing a lot of peace and International Building

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Nice. What what countries do people typically come from to be a part of the the exchange program? Yeah,

Rachel Moses:

we exchange our rotary club as part of a rotary district and the rotary district is part of a rotary multi District, which includes Rotarians from Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Florida. So all of our kids go outbound and then we accept kids that come in noun and we exchanged with about 20 countries and so most of the well known countries in Europe such as France, Spain, Germany, Russia, we have had Russian students in Cookeville. We have not in recent years, but it was not so long ago, maybe about eight years ago. Um, she was from I don't know, I always mispronounce flattest? Yes, like from that side of Russia. Yeah, but we have exchanged with Russia. But we also have a lot of Eastern European countries. We've had Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, lots of different countries, and then lots of south of South American countries, and then several Asian countries,

Kosta Yepifantsev:

what's the kind of age that you have to be to qualify for this program?

Rachel Moses:

So you have to be at least 15 years old? And this and

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Louie next year, and he's gonna be 10?

Rachel Moses:

Not yet. Not quite yet. But be thinking about it. Yeah,

Kosta Yepifantsev:

I was gonna have them learn the cobalt mining trade in the Congo. I hear that that's a very profitable business here in the next few years. So there you go. Just kidding. So there's rotary clubs all across the world? Yes. And they all partner together to kind of create these networks. Yes. And so when you turn 15, if you want to be a foreign exchange student, and live with the host family abroad, you reach out to your little rotary club. Yeah,

Rachel Moses:

absolutely. And, and then, and that's what's wonderful about rotary exchange, specifically, is because there's lots of exchange programs. But with Rotary when we have boots on the ground, in all those places, you know, it's not just we're sending you to someone where there's maybe a paid representative somewhere. I mean, these are all volunteers. But then they're also local. I mean, so we are, we're hosting a student from Ecuador right now. And then his club in Ecuador is hosting a student from Belgium. And it's just really cool.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

I do have a question about kind of the prerequisites. I know, you mentioned a little bit about what you need to have like a background check, and a home study and stuff like that to become a host family. But what a lot of people don't know. And what I've picked up being a host child is that, especially if you have younger kids, to have the example of an older person, an older kid in your home, especially somebody that's 15 to 18, it really sets a good example in a controlled environment. So that, I mean, you can't be like a wild cat, if you're a foreign exchange student, I mean, you're at hand, but it's probably a dangerous proposition. So you have like a very, somebody that's, that's very thirsty for knowledge and learning, and, you know, obviously, is trying to embrace this American culture, Otherwise, they wouldn't come here. So it's a great example, for younger kids.

Rachel Moses:

It is it is it's, it's great. And it goes both ways when you do have families with small children, because the student that comes over, you know, English is their second language, typically, and their skill level is sometimes very similar to the skill level as the younger children in the family. And so I find, I have actually found that sometimes the families where there may be a teenager in the family, but actually, the exchange unit gets along better with the younger children, just because, you know, their language skills are similar, but then also the younger kids are a little bit in awe, the exchange student,

Kosta Yepifantsev:

and I mean, think about it like this. So for example, if you're bringing somebody in, I don't mean to stereotype here, you know, it's not like football is life policy. But like, if you're having somebody from, say, Mexico or Ecuador, or someone South America, I mean, they probably play soccer, you know, and if you have young kids that play soccer, and you want to essentially, you know, kill two birds with one stone, you can have this cultural immersion experience, and you can have somebody that's probably a phenomenal soccer player, absolutely another country in your home. Yes, yes, that

Rachel Moses:

is definitely an advantage.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

For anyone that's listening to this episode that's interested in joining a service organization like rotary or Lions Club, three questions, what's your advice? What should they expect? And who is it for?

Rachel Moses:

So my advice for somebody who wants or is interested in joining a service organization is to go several times to to the organization? Because sometimes, you know, your first visit, I don't know, like, it could be off a little bit, you know, maybe the President's missing that day, or they didn't have a speaker show up or, you know, the food ran out, you know, and so, sometimes, you know, the first the first visit may not always be the best visit and then also because, you know, you get to know your fellow club members, you know, you get to know each other sometimes it can it can maybe feel a little cliquish sometimes when you first go but if you go a couple of times, you should hopefully, you know, feel a little bit better get to know what they do that you know, learn about their weekly or monthly operations, but also their service projects and their passions, because that's not always openly said at every meeting, you know, because the internal people already know what they do and they don't always advertise it as well. I mean, I think that's the problem with sometimes the civic organizations, they don't advertise what they do. And, you know, so that people aren't aware of the service that they do. Well, I

Kosta Yepifantsev:

mean, don't you also have to be invited? So

Rachel Moses:

historically, that has been the case, you know, historically an open door. It's not but if somebody shows up to one of my civic organizations, like for a breakfast rotary meeting or an evening Lions Club meeting, if they show up, we're excited, you know, yes. They didn't need to be formally nominated. You know, by somebody in historically asked, but if somebody is expressing interest, then we we embrace that. So don't be afraid just because it historically has been like, oh, I need to be asked and and I think it was, it used to be a men's club situation was like

Kosta Yepifantsev:

the Flintstones like Fred Flintstone with the with the hat. Yeah, horns. And what's it? What's that?

Rachel Moses:

Yeah, that's what I know. I know exactly what you mean. And I feel like it was that way, a lot of times. And even though the, they were still doing good service projects, and they were still enjoying each other's company, it was a little closed off. Yeah, it's not like that anymore. I mean, just like with our society, in general, we have become more open in a lot of different ways. You know, and every club has its own atmosphere. And you know, and even if you go to one Rotary Club, and it's not for you, maybe try another one,

Kosta Yepifantsev:

what's the difference between lions and Rotary?

Rachel Moses:

So rotary was founded in 1905, by a lawyer in Chicago, Paul Harris. But the idea originally with Rotary was we don't want all lawyers, we don't want all love the same profession. They rotated around to their different offices. It was a, I think a lawyer, an architect and engineer, a businessman, a banker, you know, and they just started learning about each other's vocations and professions, and then realizing, okay, we can use our combined experience and expertise to do a service project because all of these skills are needed. And so that's kind of how it became a networking club. But while doing service, and so that was kind of the original idea of rotary Lions Club was also founded in Chicago, Chicago was very popular for social welfare and and, and service and charitable organizations, especially in the early 1900s. But 1917, Chicago was founded by a businessman named Melvin Jones. And it was really just trying to get more of the average businessman to think beyond their day to day business life and to think about other people and to serve other people. And just like, Let's get together and just really do service. I think for a long time, Lions Club was a little bit better about hands on service with their members. Whereas rotary was a little bit more of a check writing club, like let's get all these professionals together that have some money, and then let's write a check. It's changed a lot. Rotary is much more hands on, Lions is still very much hands on. I mean, let lions as the kid sight screenings that every every elementary school every year, we screen, every kid that's a kindergartener, or pre K kid with their eyes. In 1925, Helen Keller gave us an address to the lions at their international convention. And Helen Keller, you know, told them that in charge the lions to be the Knights of the blind. And so then vision assistance became a primary goal for lions. And similarly, Rotary with their international connections, they started seeing, you know, in the third world countries, how diseases like polio were still not eradicated in the 70s and 80s. And so many of these countries, and it was mainly because there were not enough volunteers getting out into the communities, you know, to give vaccines to people. And so they started partnering Rotarians started partnering in the mid 80s, with the World Health Organization and UNICEF to say like, Okay, we need to pull our resources and pull our volunteer hours and eradicate polio. And now we're down to two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and have only had six cases this year of polio. It's not fully eradicated. We're almost there, though.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

It's always Afghanistan. Okay, so two quick questions. How do you find out about Rotary Club? When do they meet like, dates and times? And then also, how do you find out about Lions Club and when do they meet? Yes, both

Rachel Moses:

have excellent websites. rotary.org and then lions clubs.org. Make sure there's the SS lions clubs.org. But they both have club locators where you can just kind of search in where you're going or where you live, where you're going. And then it'll show your rotary club or rotary or Lions Clubs and when they meet and where they meet

Kosta Yepifantsev:

you guys meet at Lesley Town Center Rotary Club does noon Club does that you visited

Rachel Moses:

the breakfast rotary club that I'm a part of meets at the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagle golf club every Tuesday morning at 7am. Yeah, and then there's a sunset club in town and Cookeville evening or Cookeville sunset Rotary Club and then they meet at the big foundry every Tuesday evening. I

Kosta Yepifantsev:

love it. Well, I'll tell you when I went to the noon club, one of the many skills that I learned but the one that I still do today is there was a guy who works for PTAC I don't know his name, but I've seen him before and he always closed out the meeting and he always told us you joke at the end Well, a few jokes actually. And so I've applied that application to their, you know, chamber when I'm on the chamber board, I always finish with a joke. Usually I try to encourage them to listen to rap music during their day to motivate themselves. But you know, it's stuff like that, you know that you learn on how to essentially command an audience. And there's the people that are up there that are talking to you are professionals, they have experience, it's an environment where you can really not just help people, but also Hone some of your own internal skills about how to be a better speaker, how to understand how to run a business, obviously get legal advice on the side. Ryan Dunn was the DA, he's there. tolerated him.

Rachel Moses:

It is I mean, we you can learn so much from being around all these different folks. And so it's good.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

We talk about mentorships and professional development a lot on this podcast, and unintentionally or not. So many of these programs and classes seem to be so much of that talk. How do you provide real experiences and actionable guidance to the next generation? And what makes a good mentor?

Rachel Moses:

I mean, the number one thing is just being there and being present. With your mentee, I don't think although you can do it by zoom, and by email, I mean, you need to meet with the folks and you need to be face to face, get to know the mentee mentor, and then we have interns all the time that come into legal aid, and I love interns, you know, and I love to just bring them along, and they may be high school interns, college interns, law school interns, you know, and I just get them very involved in my cases. And, you know, they sit with me, and then we talk about it afterwards. You know, if I take them to court, I say, What did you think? And I really want them to just be open and feel like there's an open conversation and talking about what they think and it just exposing them to different opportunities that maybe they just didn't have before. And I think just being present and being real. And

Kosta Yepifantsev:

is it gratifying? Oh, absolutely. Yeah. I mean, when you when you start working with someone that, you know, because I mean, they obviously study like, you know, law or some components of law in school, but when you're actually working in shadowing you and your environment, like they really understand whether or not they want to do this for a living,

Rachel Moses:

right? Yes. You know, there was a Tennessee Tech student that, you know, still lived at home, didn't have a driver's license, kind of lived in the country. And his grandma was raised him and brought him to the interning at our job brought him to school at Tennessee Tech. So I make a lot of home visits with my job, you know, and go into a lot of trailer parks, housing authorities, you know, very rural areas, just all sorts of places I go. And so took my intern to a client's home, and it was an elderly client. And we were talking about the housing issue, and the elderly person struck up a conversation with the intern. And so I wasn't really sure he's kind of a quiet guy. But then he ended up taking the LSAT go into UT Law School. And then I was at a reunion at my law school. And I ran into one of the Career Services guys and our maybe admissions guy, and he said, Hey, do you know so and so? And I was like, yeah, he interned with us? Yeah, he talked about how you changed his life. And I was like, how are you doing this live? And he's like, Well, you took into a client's home. And like, I mean, I kind of remembered it. But then he started talking about it, I remembered it more. But it was just, I mean, it's something I didn't even think about, it was just my day to day activities, but just bringing him along, because, you know, I think sometimes bosses or supervisors, you know, they're like, they don't know what to do with interns, and they give them like research assignments, and like, stick a month behind a computer. That's not what you need to do them, bring them to, you know, like, get them involved in phone calls conversation, you,

Kosta Yepifantsev:

you connected the dots for him, he wants to be an attorney. But you know, he doesn't really understand what he can do to impact his passion. And you connected the dots for him. And I think that you said it perfectly. Like that's what an intern is for is to connect the dots to set them on the right path to have the potential to change their life. So in terms of being a mentor, like that, checks all the boxes.

Rachel Moses:

So Well, thank you. i Yeah, it's, I just do it. I'd like

Kosta Yepifantsev:

to end this episode with a message about finding your community in this community. It isn't always easy to fit in and I get messages almost every week from people that I think felt a lot like I did when I moved here almost like someone looking in on everybody else. If you had to start over completely today, and you didn't know a single person in Cookeville, what would you do?

Rachel Moses:

You know, I relate to that so much because moving here in 2002 I only knew two people, the two people who hired me and honestly I would do very similarly what I did which even now I would just show up to organizations to meetings to you know, I of course back then we didn't have Facebook even you know now You have so many opportunities to learn about what's going on in the community just show up do it you know art prowl the chamber events you know the anything at Tennessee Tech. I didn't go to Tennessee Tech but so many people think I went to Tech because I'm always like supporting tech because it's in my local community hours and just showing up and then also because I see the newer generations using their GPS a little too much take off the GPS and just drive around like I think that is huge. It's a beautiful basket Cumberland is beautiful, you know, get to know where Hill ham and Allard and birds town are you know in in rent a pontoon boat and go down the Dale hollow or center Hill and explore, explore and just don't say at home, don't say on your phone, don't stay in front of a screen. Get out there, talk to people meet people show up to things. And then this is gonna be your home.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Are you meeting a lot of new people in the last couple years? I am. That's good. Yes. So we always like to end the show on a high note. Who is someone that makes you better when you're together?

Rachel Moses:

My brother, Adam, Moses. Yes, he does. Because he, he knows everything about me. And he challenges me he also raises me up when I forget who I am or or what I've done or what have accomplished, you know, he keeps me humble. When the Moses's siblings are together. We're we're a force I will say and I hope I do that the same for him. You know, my both my parents have passed away now and so it's even more powerful when we get together and then he and his girlfriend are expecting a baby so I'm gonna be an aunt any day now. And so I'm very

Morgan Franklin:

Thank you for joining us on this episode of excited. Better Together with Kosta Yepifantsev. If you've enjoyed listening and you want to hear more, make sure you subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you find your podcasts.Leave us a review or better yet,share this episode with a friend. Better Together with Kosta Yepifantsev is a Kosta Yepifantsev Production.Today's episode was written and produced by Morgan Franklin post production mixing and editing by Mike Franklin. Want to know more about Kosta visit us at kostayepifantsev.com We're better together. We'd like to remind our listeners that the views and opinions expressed during this episode are those of the individual speakers and do not necessarily represent or reflect the official policy or position of this show its producers or any related entities or advertisers. While our discussions may touch on various topics of interest,please note that the content is intended to inspire thought provoking dialogue and should not be used for a substitute for professional advice.Specifically, nothing heard on this podcast should be construed as financial, legal,medical or any other kind of professional advice. We encourage our listeners to consult with a professional in these areas for guidance tailored to their specific circumstances.