One of the most important volunteer roles in our community today is acting as the voice for our most vulnerable population — children who are abused and neglected.

This is the role of the North Carolina Guardian ad Litem, community volunteers who served abused and neglected children by advocating for them in court.

Today, such advocacy is well at work in the High Country, but a need still exists for individuals willing to serve the best interests of children who currently have no such representation.

Unfortunately, High Country counties continue to see dramatic increases in the numbers of children needing such a voice. In Watauga County’s District 24, there are children who have been identified as abused and neglected, and many of these currently have no community advocate.

As a GAL, you have a voice in court in advocating for the child’s best interest. Such trained volunteers do this by recommending what’s best for the child in written court reports after searching for details in the case, working with other individuals on the child’s behalf and constantly monitoring the child’s case.

GALs work in all 100 N.C. counties — because the need for child advocacy covers our entire state. The system in place to help children in need can be vast and overburdened. This is where a GAL, with the training and tenacity to see an individual child’s case through the end, can make a difference.

For more information on the GAL program and to explore your own possible role, visit www.volunteerforgal.org.

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