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ELENA FRIEDMAN

Born in a northern suburb of Chicago, I received my BA Degree from Boston University and my JD from the University of Detroit Mercy School Of Law, while working full time as a Social Worker investigating child abuse cases and, later, as a worker's compensation representative at Chrysler Corporation. I worked as a lawyer at several well known Chicago Law Firms.

I later decided to change careers and earned an MSJ from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism. I did internships for Washington Columnist Jack Anderson and Investigative Reporter Roberta Baskin at WLS-TV in Chicago. After graduating from Medill, I put in a stint as a reporter for WJXT-TV in Jacksonville, Florida.

Throughout my careers I have done pro bono work including: legal work for Chicago Volunteer Legal Services in one of Chicago's Latino communities; human rights lawsuit against the Government of Guatemala; drafting wills for individuals who were HIV positive and others with AIDS; teaching English as a Second Language at Literacy Chicago; and teaching a job training skills course to inner city kids in Chicago. I have lectured on Child Abuse, Aids Prevention and Protection and Labor Relations topics at various corporations. My publications include: newspaper columns under Jack Anderson's byline; video investigative reports at WJXT; and a Law Review article in the Journal of Juvenile Law.

In 1997 I returned to Mexico, where I had attended college in the 1970's. My husband and I moved to San Miguel de Allende, in the mountains of Central Mexico, where I continued volunteer work by starting a program to teach English to children in outlying ranch communities. I also co-edited Amigos, a newsletter created to promote volunteer organizations in San Miguel.

In 2012, my husband, John, my mother-in-law and I moved to Ecuador. We did so because Millie began to suffer from Alzheimer's disease. While living in Las Vegas, we found an assisted living facility that was ideal for her needs; however, as time went on she required a higher degree of care which was going to cost us $8,000/month. Since that amount was too "rich for our blood," we began to research alternatives. We discovered that Ecuador had assisted living facilities that were significantly less expensive; yet they were also as nice as those in Las Vegas. Initally, we rented a Condo for Millie and purchased one for us. We hired round-the-clock care for Millie in a building next door to ours.

We were pleased with the quality of care we found for Mom; to the extent she was aware, we think she was content. We recall her saying, "I feel like I'm living in a postcard." Unfortunately, after a year, we realized that she required more care. That's when we found a lovely assisted living facility with compassionate and warm caregivers. It saddened us that she only lasted a short while in this home. She passed away a few months later. 



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