Letter: You can be a voice for a child in need

Graphic by Lori Deaton

One of the best decisions I’ve ever made was to become a volunteer advocate for children in need.

I had heard of the Guardian ad Litem program, and it had been rattling around in my heart and my mind for years, but it seemed outside of my comfort zone. I understood that becoming an advocate for a child carries a big responsibility. It means gathering information to be able to determine the child’s individual needs by getting to know the child, investigating the child’s history and keeping up with the child’s situation for the duration of the case. It means helping make the decision about what is in the best interest of the child and advocating for that in court. As overwhelming as that seemed, I knew that giving a voice to a child was important. And necessary.

I am so glad I took the leap. It’s engaging, important and rewarding work. I enjoy it so much that I’m currently an advocate for three different children. Through this process, I’ve learned so much about myself, the world we all live in and about human nature in general.

Currently, there are hundreds of neglected and abused children in Buncombe County. Each of them needs an advocate to support their best interest. Being a Guardian ad Litem means you make a real difference in a vulnerable child’s life.

Right now, there are more children in the system than there are advocates. There is a great need for GAL volunteers. Every child needs a voice. It only takes a few hours a month to make a big impact on a child’s life. You can do it, and you’ll be glad you did!

GAL training begins in October. Please visit volunteerforgal.org for an online application and a complete description of the program.

— Jennifer Beatty


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