On Monday, July 2, 2012, eleven volunteers were sworn in as guardians ad litem at the Leon County Courthouse in downtown Tallahassee.
Joining Circuit Director Deborah Moore in welcoming the new guardians ad litem and their guests were Assistant Circuit Director Leigh Merritt, Statewide Guardian ad Litem Program Executive Director Alan Abramowitz, current volunteers and members of the Second Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program staff.
The ceremony began with brief remarks from Deborah Moore who thanked and congratulated the new volunteers. She introduced the members of her staff in attendance as well as the current volunteers who came to show their support. Moore also provided information on the program's current goals, progress and the I Am For the Child campaign.
In attendance both in his capacity as statewide executive director and as a volunteer guardian ad litem for our program, Alan Abramowitz discussed his own experience and relayed the value and importance of the work volunteers are doing, citing the results found in the "A Voice Heard" 2012 Status Report.
Following Abramowitz's remarks, the new volunteers approached the bench, formed a semi-circle and introduced themselves to the circuit judge presiding over the swearing in ceremony, the Honorable Karen Gievers.
Following the recent transfer of Judge Dawn Caloca-Johnson to the circuit criminal division, this was the first guardian ad litem swearing in ceremony for Judge Gievers. She is no stranger to our cause, however. As a longtime legal advocate for abused and neglected children, Judge Gievers was named one of the "Top Ten Lawyers in America" by the National Law Journal in 2000.
Judge Gievers spoke about her own experience and discussed the process from her perspective. After sharing her thoughts, Judge Gievers asked the new volunteers to raise their right hands and repeat the oath as administered.
Completing the ceremony, Judge Gievers congratulated the new guardians ad litem and the courtroom broke into applause. Before moving on to her next judicial proceeding, Judge Gievers took a few minutes to take photographs with and speak to the volunteers.
We are very proud of and thankful for all of our volunteers and the work that they do. Congratulations to our newest eleven volunteer guardians ad litem!