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Thirteen GAL Volunteers Take Oath of Office
 
News imageRaleigh – District Court Judge Michael Morgan administered the oath of office March 5, to 12 new Wake County volunteers of the Guardian ad Litem Program.

The Guardian ad Litem (GAL) program represents the needs of abused, neglected or dependent children whose cases come before the courts. Wake County currently has 172 volunteers representing 320 children.

Judge Morgan said the State of North Carolina was entering into the annual celebration of volunteerism, an appropriate time to pause and administer the oath of office to the GAL volunteers.

Mary Basnight, Virginia Coe, Deborah Goldsblatt, Betty Harris, Evelyn Heatherly, Liz Hutchinson, Shannon Poor, Janis Roach, Laura Roberts, Lora Rouse, Gizelda Willard and Laura Glazier took the oath to uphold their new responsibilities.

Judge Morgan also recognized 19 volunteers who had been working with the GAL program for more than five years. They were: Don Hamilton, Stan Trustman, Sue Azrak, Susan Blalock, Alonza Burnette, Martha Carver, Valerie Chaffin, Margaret Flinton, Cathy Hunt, Wendy Krwan, Van Kloempken, Cecilia McCullers, Michael McMahon, Kim Morris, Babs Wagner, Pat Wilkins, Pat Wilson, and Maryann Wohlford.

Jane Volland, head of the GAL program for the state, said to the volunteers, “You really are the backbone of our program and a powerful force of advocacy for our children. We want all our children to have safe, stable homes.”

Pat Wilkins, a GAL volunteer in Wake County for three years, talked about one of her cases in which the parents of a three year-old child were homeless. They turned the child over to an aunt, but she too became homeless. When Wilkins met the boy, she said his hair had never been cut, he had on dirty clothes, and he didn’t own a single toy. A distant cousin with a stable home was found and the adoption process is underway. “One of the finest things is to see permanency for the child,” Wilkins said. “Just to see this case from start to finish has been rewarding.”

Maryann Wohlford, a GAL volunteer for six years in Wake County, said, “The rewards to me are little, but many times we’re the only ones who remember a child’s birthday or there is a function at school with no one else to attend for them. We can’t make their lives better. What we can give them are the resources they need to get through, and make them feel cared for as an individual.”

-pmc-

 
Publish Date: 03/05/2002
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