Kela Ellis

Paralegal III

U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Illinois

Chicago, IL

Since 2006, I have managed civil and criminal cases as a paralegal, processing claims for the property involved in or used in criminal activity, researching facts and case law to help litigate and apply seizures for victim restitution. It can be challenging but satisfying to know that I have contributed to reconcile and facilitate the process to get those fraudulent proceeds back to victims.

Through my membership in a church that is heavily involved in civic engagement, I have had many volunteer experiences around the Chicago area.

During the 2020 Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, I volunteered for the Chicago chapter of Cradles to Crayons, which helps 180,000 children throughout the region. The charity provides children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations, with essential items. I assembled care packages of books, shoes, clothes, and toys. To add an extra touch of warmth, I made handwritten notes of encouragement for each package like ‘Believe in your future,’ ‘You are important’ and ‘Let your light shine.’

I am currently a member of my church’s Evangelism of Grace program, whose vision is to create vibrant, safe and nurturing places for those living in my zip code.

One example is the G.R.A.C.E. ministry (Godly Young Women Reaching After Charm and Elegance) I volunteered in from 2014 to 2016. I mentored girls aged 13-18 to increase their self-esteem, academic excellence, and community service experience. I coached students in volunteer work for the homeless and raised money for their advancement. At the end of each six-month program, I helped plan a culminating event so the girls could celebrate and be recognized for all that they had learned with their community, family, and friends. The fundraising I participated in helped pay for event expenses as well as formal attire and photographs for the girls.