The smile on Erica Sanchez’s face might have been the result of the punch and cake she was served Wednesday afternoon. But the child’s happy mood also could be traced to the first Guardian Angel Day Reception.
Nearly 200 guardians, court visitors and attorneys attended the ceremony in Commissioners Court in the Alan B. Sadler Building in Conroe.
The reception and the guardian program were the creation of Judge Claudia Laird and her County Court of Law 2 staff.
For the past year, Laird and her staff recruited approximately 15 volunteers to visit some 450 mentally disabled patients throughout the course of a year. The state of Texas requires mentally disabled residents to undergo an examination at least once a a year, Laird said.
Laird introduced investigator Dina Hardwick for her contributions the past year.
“Whenever a red flag went up, she responded,” Laird said of Hardwick.
Attorneys ad litem is a term used in law to refer to the appointment by a court of one party to act in a lawsuit on behalf of another party — for instance, a child or an incapacitated adult — who is deemed incapable of representing him or herself.
“Life can be very hard,” Laird said. “Some of them have Downs Syndrome, or Alzheimer’s. We make certain these patients are receiving the appropriate assistance.”
An educator for many years before retiring, Guardian Angel Dorothy Woodall enjoys continuing to teach.
“I’m very blessed to be able to help,” she said.
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Guardian angels make life better for disabled