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Letter to the Editor

Guardian ad Litem Program Seeks Volunteers

web posted April 27, 2011

Dear Editor,
What impact can a volunteer Guardian ad Litem have on the life of a child in foster care?  Just ask Yolanda Sanders, a former foster child. Despite a rough start and the odds being stacked against her, Yolanda is determined to have a better life and credits her Guardian ad Litem with helping her get there.

Miss Jan became a part of my life during the first month I was in care. She helped me when I got frustrated, when I didn’t want to talk. She didn’t try to force me not to feel what I was feeling. Just be yourself and get it out. I wanted to yell and scream versus talking out my feelings. Miss Jan helped me to slow it down and process it out. 

Trust was something that developed over time.

There were so many people coming in and out of my life. People were walking out or giving up. I now have full trust in her.

I have lived in about 10 foster homes. It seemed like I moved every 3 months. It was hard to make friends and attend new schools. Because of the constant moving, I couldn’t get what I needed to finish high school. With encouragement from Miss Jan, I took the GED exam and passed the first time! Now I’m attending college and plan to continue my education until I receive a Master’s Degree. My ultimate goal is to found an organization to help teens who age out of the foster care system become independent.

To me, a great Guardian ad Litem is someone who is in it to help a child and do what is best for the child, someone who is kind, yet firm. I would tell anyone who is thinking about becoming a Volunteer Guardian ad Litem that you’ll meet some great kids.  They just need that extra person to speak up for them because they can’t speak up for themselves.

I think Guardians ad Litem are very special, they are loving people.

Yolanda attends Allen University and is studying Business Administration.  She recently was first runner up in the Miss Black South Carolina International Pageant, which is a scholarship pageant.  Her platform was teens living in care, or TLC, as she calls it.  She also volunteers at Harvest Hope Food Bank and speaks to teens whenever possible.

Are you interested in learning how to help children like Yolanda who need someone to advocate for them?  Please contact your local Edgefield County Guardian ad Litem Program. 

We offer free training for anyone who wants to ensure a child isn’t lost in the system.  (You must be 21 years or older and able to pass a background and reference check.)  Our phone number is 803-637-9614, or please visit us on our website at Edgefield.scgal.org. Inspire a Child. YOU can change their future. In the last year we have increased our number of volunteers from 1 to 9 but we still need volunteers to advocate for children who have been abused and neglected.

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