The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Local News

September 16, 2013

Clerk of court sponsoring community conference

TARBORO — Community empowerment is the theme of an upcoming conference in Tarboro.

“Empowerment is a process to help people gain control of their own lives – self-actualization,” said the Carol Allen White, Clerk of Superior Court for Edgecombe County and conference coordinator.

The 11th Bi-Annual Educational Conference: Issues Affecting Our Community will be held Friday and Saturday in the atrium of the Fleming Building on Edgecombe Community College’s campus. Registration will begin at 9 each morning. The conference is free and open to the public.

“We pray that it grows each year,” White said.

She said the forum is her staff’s way of “giving back” to the community, a community in need of knowledge in order to make the right decisions.

“When we say community, we’re saying families, “ said White. “We see families coming into the courthouse, for one situation or another, seeking some advice…They’re hurting and just need a sense of direction. If we can be an information bank and embrace our community with information and connect them to the resources in our community, then we all will be empowered.”

The educational conference will cover a gamut of topics, from child custody and visitation rights to will/ estate planning and the consequences of a criminal record. It is designed to inform all community members, “from the youngest to the oldest,” White said.

Friday morning’s session will feature guest speaker Dennis Gaddy, executive director of CSI in Raleigh. Gaddy will discuss prison overcrowding and the “costs and collateral consequences of a criminal record.” During that session, community members will learn about expunctions and how a “certificate of relief” can help them. Having such knowledge could help a person with a past record become a “positive, productive citizen” once again, White said.

A working lunch with a discussion of “child custody/ visitation rights” by Attorney Carolyn O’Garro Moore will follow the morning session.

“Understanding civil and criminal process of the court system” is the topic of Friday afternoon’s panel discussion. Those attending the session will have a chance to “ask the experts” about civil protective/ domestic/ small claims.

Saturday’s conference will begin with a focus on youth. Victor Jones of Valiant Families will speak on the topic “making good choices.” An award presentation for the winner of the oratorical contest “how to help the elderly in our community” will follow. All local students in sixth through 12th grade had a chance to enter the competition.

The focus will shift to senior citizens in the late morning and afternoon, with a panel on the topics of “importance of wills/ estate planning,” led by Clare Barnett, staff attorney for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.  Another panel will teach seniors “how to read medication labels.” Those with unused prescription drugs will have an opportunity to drop off the medications at that time, as well.

Also during the afternoon session, Roger Southerland will address the topic of identity theft/ scam.


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