Effective January 1, 2022, the Guardian ad Litem Association (GALA) of Buncombe County has been renamed Helping at Risk Kids, Inc. (HARK), with the mission to provide support and resources for at risk children in Buncombe County and beyond to promote a safe, enriching and hopeful future. The new name and mission reflect increased demand for assistance for youngsters who age-out of DSS protection, and from the growing number of referrals from sources besides the state-mandated Guardians ad Litem who represent the children’s interests and act as their voice in family court.

HARK is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization (501(c)(3)) and the only non-profit organization in Buncombe County that supports children in protective custody, so they have the support they need to succeed and to grow up in a safe, stable and nurturing environment.


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HARK Mission

Our mission is that every abused and/or neglected child will have the support needed to succeed and to grow up in a safe, stable, and nurturing environment.

HARK provides resources for these children that address both basic and special needs, including clothes, school supplies, tutoring, literacy assistance, beds, summer camp, and other support during this intensely difficult time of their lives.  While the State provides some resources for these children, many of the things that most children take for granted are not available to these innocent kids- a backpack for school, T-Ball League registration, shoes that fit, art supplies for creative outlets, tutoring, and many other little things that help these kids have a normal childhood.

Please take a look at our Examples of Assistance page for more examples of how your generous donations can help these kids grow up into strong members of our community.


In 2021 our organization, the Guardian ad Litem Association of Buncombe County (GALA-BC), received several grants. These grants are highlighted below.

Grants awarded from 2022 and beyond will be awarded to our newly branded organization, Helping at Risk Kids, Inc. (HARK).


Grants at Work: Helping children and Families Through This Difficult Time.

The Guardian ad Litem Association of Buncombe County (GALA-BC) is so thankful to have received several generous grants in 2021 for use in a range of programs to benefit at-risk children currently in the county’s social service system.

These grants include:

The Black Mountain-Swannanoa Endowment Fund
The Ramble
Biltmore Lake Foundation
Human Resources Grant, Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (CFWNC)
Campaign for Southern Equality
Walnut Cove Members Association

GALA-BC received a grant from The Black Mountain-Swannanoa Endowment Fund through The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (CFWNC). These funds are used for educational items, clothing, camps, and entertainment for children in the Black Mountain and Swannanoa zip codes.

Similarly, grant funds received from The Ramble and Biltmore Lake Foundation focus on the needs of children in protective custody in the zip codes in the area of The Ramble and Biltmore Lakes. We use these funds to try to normalize the life of a child in foster care when they already feel stigmatized.

The Human Services Grant, “Bridging the Gap”, through the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (CFWNC) is providing much-needed financial support for at-risk children living with relative caregivers (kinship providers) during this economic crisis caused by COVID-19. Relatives who take in children in the protective care of the Buncombe County Department of Social Services receive minimal support from the State, unlike the stipends received by foster parents.

The Bridging the Gap Grant is also helping numerous young adults aging out of foster care by providing funds for unexpected expenses such as car repair or essential personal items.

Through the generosity of the Campaign for Southern Equality, we now have funds that will directly support the needs of the LBGTQ youth served through DSS.

In December GALA-BC received a generous award from the Walnut Cove Members Association. The funds from this grant will be targeted for camps, kinship families, and teens aging out of foster care.


GALA-BC is grateful to the grantors who have stepped up to help us serve the needs of these vulnerable children in our communities.


We Appreciate Our Sponsors