On September 29 11 members of the Lexington County community were sworn in by the Honorable Robert Newton as volunteers in the Cass Elias McCarter Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program. These individuals join a group who serve as a voice for abused and neglected children throughout the area.

Those taking part in the ceremony were: Steve Varnedoe, Joei Lemacks, Kimberly Wellman, Megan Branham, Sabrina Jackson, Mary Gregory, The Honorable Robert Newton, Raina Bryant, Kimberly Freeman, Elizabeth Lott, Chelsea Gorski and Nicole Pringle.

The newly appointed Guardians ad Litem join other volunteers who have been trained and advocate for foster children in the Family Court system. Using one-on-one advocacy, GAL volunteers ensure that children’s needs are recognized and their best interests are considered both in the courtroom and in the community.

Program volunteers get to know the children they represent as well as the people involved in their lives, including the staff at the GAL Program, foster parents, teachers and school counselors. They also attend court hearings and report their findings to the judge.

If you are compassionate and have a desire to help children in need, please consider serving as a volunteer with the Guardian ad Litem Program. To do so, you must be at least 21 years old, be able to pass background and reference checks, and successfully complete the free, 30-hour training. The next training session for Lexington County will be held November 7, through December 12. Each session runs from 6 pm until 9 pm.

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a GAL volunteer and the rewards that come along with serving as the voice of a child, please contact Lisa Crawford at [email protected] or 803-957-6484. You can also get more information and download an application by visiting SCGAL.org.

The Cass Elias McCarter Guardian ad Litem Program is a member of the National Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association, a network of more than 900 GAL programs serving children in 49 states and the District of Columbia.