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Melissa A Carr 490 Prospect Road Pembroke, NC, 28372 March 12, 2014 Dear Concerned Community Members: Hello, my name

is Melissa A Carr and I am currently a senior at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Since my sophomore year at the university I have been an active volunteer with the Guardian Ad Litem program here in Robeson County. I was drawn to this program because as a social work major it is my passion to advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves. This program fills that need tremendously by advocating for the children in this county that have no voice to advocate for themselves. In 1983, the North Carolina General Assembly established the Office of Guardian ad Litem (GAL) services as a division of the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts. A GAL is a trained community member appointed by a district judge to investigate and determine the needs of abused and neglected children and youth petitioned into the court system by the Department of Social Services. During the fiscal year 2012-2013, in Robeson County 579 children were represented by our program. Of these cases, at least 180 children were found to be neglected, 4 children were found to be abused, and 43 children were found to be dependent (a child who has been placed in the legal custody of either the state or the county foster care system by the courts, usually due to the abandonment, abuse or neglect of the child by its parents or other caregivers). As an effort to help the children who are represented by the GAL program, I am organizing a suitcase drive. This suitcase drive will be used to provide those children in need with a new suitcase to carry their things in. Many may ask: why does these children need suitcases? Well the answer is simply, many children do not have anything to carry their belongs in from one placement to the next. In fact it is not uncommon for children to carry their belongs from place to place in nothing more than black trash bags. Just imagine how it would make you feel to have to carry your small amount of personal belongs in nothing more than a trash bag. I ask that you look into your heart and take these innocent children into consideration and make the donation of a new suitcase. Many of these children do not know what it is like to have something new or to even have

something that is just theirs. Making this small donation is your chance to make one child feel special. Thank you for your time and consideration, we look forward to your support. Sincerely,

Melissa A Carr GAL Volunteer/ Child Advocate

All donations can be delivered to the GAL office at 435 Canton Road Lumberton, NC You can also contact me at (910) 264-1222 or contact my supervisor Ms. Jane McMillan at (910) 536-0703 with any questions.