WILKESBORO — Talia Espresso, at 809 Main St., was the site for a luncheon on April 4 held as recognition of the contributions of Guardian ad Litem (GAL) child advocates in Alleghany, Ashe, Wilkes and Yadkin counties. The luncheon was sponsored by Indera Mills, WN Ireland Insurance, and Zachary Law Offices all of Yadkinville and by Office Furniture Concepts of Wilkesboro and private donors.
The event brought together 35 volunteers. Brenda Loudermilk, a GAL volunteer advocate from Yadkin County, said, “I really love being a volunteer and want to thank the staff and sponsors for holding this event for us.”
The month of April is designated as North Carolina Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Child Advocate Month, by proclamation of Gov. Pat McCrory. While appreciating advocates who donated more than 463,000 hours of service during 2013 to children in all 100 counties, GAL Child Advocate Month also highlights the nearly $11 million dollars these volunteers saved the state last year as they, in the proclamation’s words, helped “improve the quality of information presented to the court” and acted as “the court’s eyes and ears in the child’s life.”
The proclamation also serves as a reminder of the immense need for more GAL volunteer advocates throughout the state. In 2013, 4,824 GAL volunteer advocates served 15,251 children in North Carolina. However, more volunteers are needed to ensure that every child has someone to speak on his/her behalf. In North Carolina, more than 1,700 children do not have a GAL volunteer to advocate for them in court.
Those with an interest in becoming the voice for a child, contact Tammy Baity in Wilkesboro at 336-651-4465 or email Baity at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more. Training will begin May 2 in Wilkes County and May 3 in Yadkin County. Find out more about the program by visiting www.ncgal.org.