Bill James is an EDC/ TEAM JEFFERSON member since 2007 and serves on the Executive Operations Board. Bill lives on Discovery Bay and has 20 years of experience owning and operating small businesses and 18 years with a Fortune 50 company in sales and marketing. He currently is focusing on youth entrepreneurship and leadership for young families. He has volunteered as a Guardian Ad Litem and is also a volunteer- Board member with Olympic Community Action Program (OLYCAP).
Living in the “Victorian Seaport Community” we sometimes don’t realize that beneath the beautiful exterior are kids who are suffering from various forms of abuse and neglect. It’s common to hear “kids are our future” or “invest in our kids.” Many members of this community walk this talk – they have stepped up to the plate to ensure that these kids’ futures are secure and safe.
In Jefferson County there is a volunteer organization, the Guardian ad Litem program, of court appointed citizens who advocate for the interests of abused and neglected children. Guardians ad Litem (GAL) receive comprehensive training, are approved by the court, and volunteer their time helping our most vulnerable citizens. Each is then assigned to a case where a child or children have been separated from their biological parents and made dependents of the state. Of all the parties at the hearings, the GAL advocates solely for what she/he feels is in the best interest of the child.
The GAL volunteers generally handle between one and no more than three cases at a time – and commit to staying on the case until the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. This may take less than a year or may stretch to multiple years, so it’s not for the faint of heart. But if a person does have the heart and time to help these kids, check out the website at www.jeffersoncountygal.org.
They are looking for volunteers and the next training will most likely begin in late winter, 2013. If you would like to learn more about what is involved, call the program administrator Paula Martin at 360-385-9190.
On the wall in her office is a sign saying:
“A hundred years from now….it will not matter what my bank account was, the size of house I lived in, or the brand of car I drove….but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”