It is not possible to have too many good things to say about Council for Children’s Rights board member, Deborah Hampton. So we are pleased to be able to share the following article, which first appeared in Bank of America’s Diversity and Inclusion Business Council newsletter, recognizing Deborah, a BofA employee, for her extraordinary work and volunteer efforts on behalf of the Council and so many others in our community. This recognition is much deserved!
On Monday, February 27, Global General Counsel David Leitch along with multiple members of the Charlotte Legal Department attended the Council for Children’s rights (CFCR) annual event “A Night for Children’s Rights.” This year the event featured special guest speaker Dwayne Betts. Betts is author of several books including A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison, Shahid Reads His Own Palm. He is the winner of the 2010 Beatrice Hawley Award, and Bastards of the Reagan Era. He was a 2010 Soros Justice Fellow. Betts was an honor student in high school when at the age of 16, he and a friend carjacked a car at a local shopping mall. He was charged as an adult and spent more than eight years in prison, where he completed high school and began reading and writing poetry. At the event, Betts described how in prison he started writing poetry and overcame the difficulties of prison life. After his release, he found employment at a book store in Bowie, Maryland, where he was eventually promoted to store manager. He founded a book club for African American boys, while attending Prince George’s Community College. Despite his prison background, he went on to receive a full scholarship at University of Maryland and then to graduate from Yale Law School. Today Betts is an advocate for juvenile justice and prison reform. In 2012, President Barack Obama announced that Betts had been named a member of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
This annual event raises thousands of dollars in critical financial support for the work of CFCR. CFCR’s mission is to improve the lives and futures of children in Mecklenburg County through legal representation, individual advocacy, and by addressing community-wide issues through research and policy work. CFCR envisions a community committed to standing up, speaking out, and acting to ensure every child’s right to be safe, healthy, and well-educated. CFCR defends children’s rights when they are threatened, pursues their rights when they are denied, and provides education and advocacy for the expansion of their rights when they are inadequate. CFCR believes in the potential of every child, and promotes a community where all children have the opportunity to thrive. The work of CFCR is supported by a dedicated and vibrant group of volunteer attorneys and child advocates who share the Council’s vision and values.
CFCR’s core values – children first, accountability, courage, inclusion, compassion, collaboration, steadfastness – could just as easily describe Bank of America Legal Department’s very own Deborah Hampton, an Executive Assistant in the Charlotte Legal Department. Deborah has been vigorously involved as a volunteer with CFCR for the past 10 years. For nine of those years, she has served as a custody advocate volunteer and for the past two years, she has served as a member of CFCR’s Board of Directors.
David Leitch said, “It’s clear that the CFCR plays a critical role in the lives of many of the most vulnerable members of our society, and the Deborah plays a critical role in making CFCR effective. It was very gratifying to see a member of our team recognized for making such a difference in our community.”
Amy Tribble, Director of Development for CRCR said “compassion and commitment describe Deborah Hampton’s service to children. Through her involvement in the Custody Advocacy Program (CAP) of CFCR she has spent countless hours working for the best interests of children who are caught in the middle of high conflict custody cases. Not content to limit herself to one child, she’s generally involved in a couple of cases at a time. She never turns away from a case responsibility, always does what she says she’s going to do when she says she’s going to do it.”
In 2013, Deborah was recognized for her work and honored with the Advocate Award at the 2013 Annual Pro Bono Awards Ceremony presented by CFCR, Legal Aid NC, and Legal Services of Southern Piedmont. When presenting the award John Parker, Staff Attorney with CFCR’s CAP program, said, “When you first meet Deborah, you can immediately tell that she is a smart, pleasant, kind, and sweet person. It doesn’t take very long before you also realize that you don’t mess with Deborah. She has a very sensitive BS detector, and she has a big heart, much talent. We thank Bank of America for allowing Deborah to give freely of her time and skill to the children we serve. Anyone who knows her knows that Deborah is generous – she gives, and gives, then gives some more. All she asks in return is that you do the same by giving back to the community in a way that that is meaningful to you. Deborah is committed. If she tells you she is going to do something not only does it happen, it happens quickly, and it will exceed your expectations.”
Bob Simmons, Executive Director of CFCR, had this to say, “Deborah Hampton has what I would call the “wow” factor. She is Olympian: always going farther, higher, faster, and stronger with everything she does in service of the Council. Like any true leader, she motivates and inspires others by her example — devoting her time, talents, and treasure to improving the lives of children in our community. Deborah is more than a volunteer; she is family, and she is the heart of the work we do.”
Board Chair, Brandon Lofton, an attorney at Robinson, Bradshaw and Hinson, speaks for many when he adds, “It has been a true privilege to work with Deborah Hampton as a fellow board member with Council for Children’s Rights. Deborah is a force of nature. She is always ready not only to help, but to go above and beyond what is required. Her optimism, her generous spirit, and her determination have all made a lasting impact on board, staff, and clients alike. Her joy in giving is infectious and inspires us all to work harder.”
In addition to her volunteer work with Council for Children’s Rights, Deborah participates in other volunteer activities. Each September in honor of 9/11, Deborah feeds the firemen at Fire Station 26, and now also feeds Fire Station 37 and 38 each year. Businesses in the Steele Creek area know that in September Deborah will be on their door steps seeking help to feed the firemen and saying “No” is not an option. This activity has been covered on television by the Fox News Network. In addition, Deborah also regularly volunteers for Legal Services of Southern Piedmont (“LSSP”) which includes several weekend events. The latest pro bono project was helping immigrants with Powers of Attorney in case one or more immigrant became deported. Deborah worked registration desk and served as a notary on the Powers of Attorney.
Deborah hopes that her example will inspire others to volunteer. In talking about her volunteer work, Deborah simply says, “Volunteer – Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
Want to find out how you too can join Deborah as a volunteer for the Council? Visit our Volunteer Page for more information.