The February–April 2013 issue of Crime Watch Magazine, a publication of the Leon County Sheriff's Office, features an article written by one of our volunteers.
In the article—"In Giving of Yourself, You Reap the Benefits: The Guardian ad Litem Program"—volunteer guardian ad litem Sharon Nicholson shares how she became involved with our program and describes her positive experiences during four years of service.
The article is presented below. You can also download the magazine and read the entire issue.
Without the support of volunteers like Sharon, our program would not be able to meet the needs of children in our community. We thank her for sharing her experiences and helping to encourage others to volunteer.
In Giving of Yourself, You Reap the Benefits:
The Guardian ad Litem Program
By Sharon Nicholson
Crime Watch Magazine
When I first thought about becoming a guardian ad litem volunteer, it was because I wanted to do something different. I wanted to get involved with an organization where I could meet new people, make new friends and experience something new.
I spoke to a couple of co-workers who were guardian ad litem volunteers to gain their perspective and see how well they liked it. After hearing their great reviews, I decided to make the phone call and sign up for the training. It was great! The training had a laid back atmosphere with a lot of interaction between the class and instructors. Everyone was so friendly and nice.
After completing the training, I chose the case I wanted to work on and set out to meet my first child. That was in 2009. Today I'm working on my seventh case for the program. Some cases take longer to resolve then others and no two cases are alike. The guardian ad litem program works in partnership with other community advocates to provide a powerful voice in court on behalf of abused or neglected children.
Being a guardian ad litem volunteer is one of the most rewarding experiences I have had. Seeing the difference you can make in a child's life is immeasurable in knowing you can tell the court exactly what's going on in that child's life, what they want and need, what they think and feel. The best part is when it all comes together in the end and the family is either reunited or the child gets a permanent home with loving foster parents who want to love and nurture your child in the way they deserve. There's no greater satisfaction in knowing you've done your job well.
I encourage anyone to get involved and be a GAL volunteer. You won't regret it! If you'd like more information on becoming a guardian ad litem volunteer, please visit their website, www.gal2.org.