Published: June 21, 2010
After the guest speaker from Guardian ad Litem finished her presentation
to UT’s Criminology Club, Randi Radziszewski ’10 knew she wanted to be
involved with the organization.
It took her until the summer to
find the opportunity in an internship in her hometown of Charlotte, NC,
but Radziszewski is learning her voice as an advocate is crucial in
“You can really change a child’s life,” said Radziszewski, criminology major and secretary of the
Guardian ad Litem
trains independent, volunteer advocates to speak in the best interest
of abused and neglected children in the state court system. Volunteers
help ensure a child has visitation with his or her siblings, is doing
well in school and is healthy.
“All of them have been abused or
neglected by a parent or guardian,” she said. “They are overlooked. They
do have wishes, and I want to help give them that voice.”
job can get overwhelming: preparing cases for court, contacting foster
parents to get an update on the child, filing court record sheets,
attending court hearings and mediations, and distributing court reports.
But when Radziszewski goes on a home visit to see the children in
foster care, she said it makes it all worth it.
heard a bunch of terrible stories about what some of these kids have
been through, but when you see them in foster care smiling and doing
well, it’s really cool,” Radziszewski said. “It’s really fulfilling.”
While finalizing details for a fall internship with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Radziszewski said her internship coordinator,
Dr. Kathryn Branch
, suggested looking into a summer internship too.
an intern, Randi has the unique opportunity to work with a partnership
of community advocates including child protective investigators,
attorneys, judges, counselors and trained volunteers,” Branch said.
opportunity to see firsthand how the dependency system operates and how
a child abuse case is processed through the system is “an awesome
opportunity for her to apply the information she has learned in a
classroom environment to the reality of child abuse," Branch said.
said the internship is already making her reconsider career paths from
strictly criminal law to maybe juvenile law too. She also wants to
continue volunteering when the internship is over.
“Before this I
just wanted to be a criminal prosecutor,” Radziszewski said. “But now
I’m open to juvenile law. I know it’d be a tough job, and you’d see a
lot of sad things, but I think it’d be very fulfilling.”
Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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