04/16/07 — Guardian ad Litem volunteers honored

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Guardian ad Litem volunteers honored

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on April 16, 2007 1:54 PM

Volunteers were honored at Friday's Guardian ad Litem awards luncheon for giving a voice to abused and neglected children who don't have one of their own.

Twelve volunteers received certificates for 10 or more years and a total of 181 years of service. They were Gloria Strickland, Emily Peacock and Nancy West, 10 years; Judy Dupree and Wallace Younger, 12 years; Teresa Younger and Linda Holden-Cox, 13 years; Linda Sutton, 15 years; Marguerite Whitfield, 16 years; Patricia Faircloth, 21 years; Martha Joyner, 24 years; and Ozzie Murphy, 25 years.

Receiving a certificate for 20 years of service as an attorney advocate was George Jenkins.

Attending the event was District Court Judge David Brantley. He praised the volunteers and said what they do is extremely important to the family court process.

Colleen Kosinski, administrator for the 8th Judicial District Guardian ad Litem Program, gave some statistics. She said last year there were 18,000 children involved in the court system for abuse and neglect across North Carolina.

District 8, of which Wayne County is a part, had 134 volunteers who served 304 children last year. Fifty-two children were adopted into safe homes while 61 were placed into legal guardianship with relatives or friends. And 113 children were reunited with their parents who received help through family court.

"You may never know what a difference you have made in a child's life," Mrs. Kosinski said, "but I want to thank you for all you do."

State Rep. Louis Pate also lauded the volunteers saying it's very sad to know that so many children have been involved in some way in the court system.

"I know what an important job all of you do for children who don't have any other advocate," he said.

Representative Van Braxton agreed that there's nothing more important people can do than help children.

"If not for you, I don't know what would happen to some of the youths of our state," he said. "You are my heroes."

Outback Steakhouse donated the meals and its staff donated their time for this and other Guardian ad Litem awards luncheons all over the state.

The Guardian ad Litem program began in 1983 in North Carolina.