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An area 9-year-old lends a voice for Third World children. 

A Child's Voice for Needy Children

Forget about Sally Struthers.

The most compelling voice speaking for Third World children may be that of a local child.

In a new Christian Children's Fund television advertisement currently being tested on local cable, that voice belongs to Gracie Ledford, a Richmond 9-year-old.

It's Ledford's second time on the mic.

Doug Burford, the president of Burford Company Advertising, Inc., first used Ledford's voice six months ago for a Christian Children's Fund ad featuring Ledford's voice-over of the "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep" prayer.

"I was looking, searching for a national talent for the voice-overs," Burford says. "[But] nothing really struck me." Until he heard Ledford's voice. "I talked to her, and I was really fascinated with her voice," he says.

Ledford did the spot, and then asked for a sponsored child of her own for Christmas.

"I guess I thought it'd be cool to have [a sponsored child] since I've been doing the spots, [and] because I don't have a pen pal," Ledford says. Her friend, N'Day, lives in Senegal, Ledford says, and the two correspond through a translator about what they do and what's happening in each of their countries.

Burford had that relationship in mind when he wrote the latest CCF spot, which he and Ledford finished about a month ago. Even though the spots are still in the test phase, Burford says "CCF really liked it."

Ledford did too. "I thought it was good," she says, both for her and the children she hopes it will help. "They're lonely, and a lot of them are sick and need a
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