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Full-time workers moonlight as child advocates
web posted March 12, 2013
COUNTY – Charles and Dana Ballew are
substitute teachers with a passion for children. With two children at
home and one in college, the Ballews’ backyard sometimes looks more
like the neighborhood park than a residence. “We just love kids,” Dana
said. “And when I saw an ad for guardian ad litem in the paper, I
thought ‘Why not volunteer? Why not do something in the community?’”
With full-time jobs, children and other activities, the Ballews’
squeezed together some time and started the training class together in
“Before we started the class, a lot of people thought you had to have
some big fancy degree,” Charles said. “But you don’t. You just have to
The couple says after working in the classroom you can tell which
children don’t have a good home life, and volunteering allows them to
help more than they can at school.
“As a guardian you’re able to look at the big picture,” Dana said. “You
can’t change the past, but you can help them accomplish what they need
for the future.”
As a volunteer child advocates, the Ballews’ work with children
involved in DSS family court cases. He meets regularly with the kids,
as well as with the parents, teachers, doctors and social workers to
get information about the best resolution of the case.
Volunteers spend an average of 5 hours each month working on a case,
but the Ballews’ say small gestures are enough to make a huge
difference in a child’s life.
“One kid had an event at school and neither of his parents showed up,”
Charles said. “He was sad. The other kids had their parents there. But
as soon as he saw me he grabbed my hand and we took off down the hall.
He introduced me to his classmates, his teachers - it put a big smile
on his face.”
Be the person that says “I am for the child.™” Anyone can stand up for
a child by volunteering as a child advocate. Visit Edgefield.scgal.org
or call 637-9614. The next class begins soon.
The Cass Elias McCarter Guardian ad Litem Program is a division of the
S.C. Governor's Office of Executive Policy and Programs and a member of
the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association.
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