Giving Back

I read an article in our small daily newspaper a few weeks ago about a volunteer program in the county needing volunteers. I immediately wrote them for additional information on becoming a volunteer, and just submitted my application in the mail today.

The program is Guardian Ad Litem. It’s an advocacy group for juveniles who are going through the legal system, usually due to an abusive environment or inability to provide a secure environment. The job of the volunteer is to be the child’s advocate and represent their personal wishes and desires to the court system, if necessary.

Why did I choose this program of all the myriad avenues available? Why not the homeless shelter or the battered women’s home? Two reasons. I liked the idea of providing a voice to someone who may not have one. I’m a big advocate of advocacy. I know it’s critical in the medical profession to have someone else help do battle for you when you’re unable to do it yourself. I also liked the idea that what was needed was my time and effort, not money. A guardian ad litem is not supposed to take their juvenile ward out on outings. They are not supposed to buy them things. They’re not supposed to be a big brother or big sister. They’re supposed to be the adult this juvenile can rely on to make sure their needs are met via the legal system; to tell the court that this child personally would like to live at home if still feasible, or go to live at a cousin’s house, for instance.

According to the literature, most family members involved in this child’s life are, at this stage, very willing to admit assistance is needed AND wanted.

Training is pretty intensive, 30 to 40 hours’ worth. Although I acted quickly to get the information, I have done a lot of soul searching to make sure I’m up for this commitment. It’s been a while since I’ve volunteered in any capacity, and nothing like this before.

I have a wonderful family, a nice home, nice things, good friends, a fantastic daughter, a great son-in-law, two grand-dogs and a dog of my own. It’s time to give back a little. .

I hope I’m up for the challenge.

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~ by Heather on May 6, 2011.

One Response to “Giving Back”

  1. there is a great need for this type of volunteer, and I am proud that you are even looking into the program.

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