Letter: Guardian ad Litem volunteers

Apr. 12, 2014 @ 11:03 PM

To the editor:

A summary of a newspaper account of Mary Ellen’s horror story, as related to a New York judge in 1874, went like this:

“My father and mother are both dead. I don’t know how old I am ... I call Mrs. Connolly mamma. I have never had but one pair of shoes, but I cannot recollect when that was ... My bed at night has only been a piece of carpet stretched on the floor underneath a window ... Mamma has been in the habit of whipping and beating me almost every day. She used to whip me with a twisted whip, a raw hide ... She struck me with the scissors and cut me; I have no recollection of ever having been kissed by anyone, have never been kissed by mamma ... Whenever mamma went out I was locked up in the bedroom ... I do not want to go back to live with mamma because she beats me so.”

It began a 100-plus years journey that ultimately leads to the formation of a National Court-Appointed Special Advocate organization, to which the Guardian ad Litem association of North Carolina subscribes.

You may say, “Mary Ellen’s case was extreme. That doesn’t happen to children in 2014.”

Oh, if only. There are too many children within our communities who are neglected, beaten, trafficked, sexually violated and even murdered. The training is free. Is your heart open to being the “voice of a child in court?” We need people to join Guardian ad Litem by calling (252) 430-5121 or (919) 497-3010.

You can make a difference in the life of a child.

Gail Birdsong

Oxford