Shayla Fletcher is a wife, mother of two, and a local attorney. But beyond that, Shayla’s biggest calling is as a community volunteer. She’s currently on the Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washtenaw County, a member of several local service organizations, and has a passion for using her unique skills and gifts for those in need.
You seem to have a big passion for helping people in the community. In fact, that’s how you got into Estate Law. Can you tell me about that?
When I was in middle school, my grandmother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. I watched my family struggle with her care. It got to the point where taking care of her at home was not feasible, so my grandfather, who could no longer carry her up and down the stairs, had to make the tough decision to put her in a nursing home. He left his home and relocated to a senior living complex to be closer to her. He committed to visiting her daily and caring for her until she passed away.
I see my clients go through the same thing with their family members, and can totally empathize. I love being able to help clients who face an immediate crisis find solutions and to help clients who are looking to create a plan for their families in case of a crisis.
It seems like that passion extends to children as well. How did you get involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters?
I happened to meet another BBBS board member at an event and we shared our experiences of volunteering. He thought I might be a fit for the organization and their mission, and they identified something in me and brought me onboard.
I’ve made it a personal goal to increase the number of African American male volunteer mentors within the organization. There are young persons on the waiting list at BBBS who have specifically requested an African American Big Brother, however, there is a shortage of African American male volunteers. I have committed to taking on the task of recruiting more males in Washtenaw as my priority.
How do you balance owning a law firm and family obligations along with your volunteer work?
Believe me, I know how fast a day can go by. It is great to see my family grow and evolve. While I am blessed to be able to provide for my children, I can’t help but think about those children that are not as fortunate as mine to have such diverse experiences. I’m always thinking ‘how can I help another kid who is not in the same position as my child’—look at everything you do from a standpoint of how you might be able to help someone else.
People define success in many ways, it could be educationally, spiritually, financially…just to name a few. I define success by whether or not I am giving back. No matter what I have, there’s always something I can give back. You have to figure out where your strengths are and what you have to offer. Whatever those talents are, focus your efforts in that area. The smallest gesture can have a tremendous effect on the life of another person.