Guardian ad Litem Program and Child Advocates II Recognize Volunteers at Annual Appreciation Event

On Thursday, May 7, 2015, Child Advocates II, Inc. (CAII) and the Second Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program hosted our annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner and Reception.

This fun event provides an opportunity for the local guardian ad litem community to get together with their families to socialize, have fun and recognize the exemplary work of our volunteers, community supporters and staff.

Our appreciation day was held at the Holy Mother of God Greek Orthodox Church banquet hall. At the entrance, volunteers welcomed arriving guests with free raffle tickets and also offered for sale T-shirts designed by CAII volunteers.

As guests mingled, they were able to choose from an assortment of beverages provided by Trak Engineering, Inc. and enjoy the Cuban-themed decorations and snacks. Before long, CAII volunteers served dinner catered by Anne and Carlos Pla's Cuban Grill.

After dinner, Volunteer Recruiter Sara Blumenthal and CAII Board President Brian Sealey gave away a raffle prize, a process that would be repeated throughout the event. Circuit Director Deborah Moore then joined Sealey on stage to start the program by welcoming the attendees and introducing a few special guests in the audience.

view the GAL Appreciation Day 2015 photograph album

Following Moore's welcoming remarks, a succession of individuals came up to speak and offer their perspectives. The speakers included Moore's mentee and youth supporter Brian Williams, a young girl who read a letter she composed to her guardian ad litem Lisa, Second Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Charles A. Francis, Second Judicial Circuit Judge Karen Gievers, Wakulla County Judge Jill C. Walker and special guest speaker Zackary Gibson, Director and Chief Child Advocate for the Florida Office of Adoption and Child Protection.

Sealey and Moore next began the presentation of awards, highlighting volunteers, teams and community supporters for extraordinary service. Different individuals came up to speak about the recipients before announcing them and presenting the award. It was an extremely positive and emotional experience for those in attendance, listening to stories of the difference that our volunteers make to children in the community.

The Volunteer Appreciation Dinner and Reception is a recognition and celebration of each and every one of our outstanding volunteers and staff. We sincerely thank them for their service.

Special thanks to this year's award recipients.

  • Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Dorothy "Dot" Binger
  • Volunteer of the Year
  • Denise Dennis
  • George Thompson Training Award
  • Christine Gornik
  • Volunteer Team Assistants
  • Maria Augustyniak
  • Kathleen Cole
  • Mattie Johnson
  • Janice Little
  • Lisa Peerson
  • Janet Watford
  • Stuart Zirin
  • Volunteer Office Assistant
  • Judy Maynor
  • Circuit Team Award
  • Carolyn DeVita
  • Barbara Donaldson
  • Lorraine Donovan-Lepanto
  • Kristine Lamont
  • Kimberly Nester
  • Emily Pritchard
  • Twenty or More Years of Service
  • Kelly Bennett
  • Dorothy "Dot" Binger
  • Martha "Marti" Chumbler
  • Scott Kent
  • Diane Molitaris
  • Jessie Moseley
  • Jennifer Stump-Ayotte

Additional thanks to Child Advocates II, organizers of our appreciation event.

  • CAII Board of Directors
  • Brian Sealey, President
  • Omega Wynn, Vice President
  • CAII Board Members
  • Yvonne Jones
  • David July
  • Kristine Lamont
  • Rhonda MacLeod
  • Leigh Merritt
  • Dana Powell
  • CAII Board Associate Members
  • Katherine Blyth
  • Tricia Bryan
  • Michelle Johnson
  • Caityln Roth
  • Neil Rambana
  • Linda Saladin-Adams
  • Laura Seaton
  • CAII Board Consulting Members
  • Sara Blumenthal
  • Deborah Moore

Finally, special thanks to the community supporters of the event.

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