On Thursday, June 25, 2015, the Tallahassee Democrat published an article written by Volunteer Recruiter Sara Blumenthal about our outstanding volunteer Dorothy "Dot" Binger.
Binger was recently presented with a lifetime achievement award at this year's annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner and Reception.
The article is presented below in case you missed it. Thank you to the Democrat for sharing our program with their readers.
Guardian ad Litem honors Dorothy Binger
by Sara Blumenthal
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Recently the Guardian ad Litem program held its annual Volunteer Appreciation Event. The program and its nonprofit Child Advocates II recognized 350 local volunteer Guardians ad Litem and the astounding work they accomplished during the last year in advocating for abused and neglected children.
If you asked anyone around here for an example of a person who has changed their community for the better, they would tell you to just look at Ms. Dot.
Dorothy Binger, known far and wide as just Ms. Dot, lives and breathes civic service. And for over 25 years she has lived and breathed the Guardian ad Litem program. She has not only been the advocate for over 50 children and is currently advocating for 3 children, she heads up our circuit's volunteer advisory committee, mentors and is always willing to step in whenever the program needs her.
Ms. Dot, an educator and who was one of the first employees of Tallahassee Community College, Has more energy and enthusiasm than anyone I know. Many of times I ask how she does it. Hard work was something she learned early growing up as part of a large family on a farm in rural Florida. She puts that hard work to good use by providing exceptional advocacy for the children assigned to her.
The child welfare was not a new arena for her when she joined the program in 1989. She had already opened her home to two foster children in 1966 and had shown the teenage girls what home could be. They flourished and now have families of their own. She wants all families and children to thrive.
One particular case she was the advocate for seven siblings. She first tried to help the mother who had mental health issues. When it became clear she was not going to be able to care for her children, it was because of Ms. Dot that 6 of the children were able to be adopted by and aunt and stay together. The aunt attributes the children's successes in school and transitioning to Ms. Dot. She was an educational advocate before educational advocacy existed. She fought for these kids. When the youngest had medical issues and was placed two hours away, Ms. Dot would not be deterred. She would drive to visit her and even played Santa.
Most of Tallahassee knows Ms. Dot. Her contribution to the Tallahassee community is common knowledge. Besides being one of the founding members of the PACE program, she has been honored as a Trailblazer, one of Florida's Top Mentors and has had a TCC scholarship created in her honor for children who have been a part of the child welfare system.
For Ms. Dot, it isn't about the recognition. It is about the mission. It is about making sure every child has a voice. About making sure every child has someone in their corner. About making sure every child has a safe and permanent home where they thrive.
She is and always has been for the child.
It seems only fitting that we establish the Ms. Dot Binger Award for recognition of lifetime achievement in child advocacy as everyone here strives to be just like Ms. Dot.
I am honored to present our first ever Ms. Dot Binger Award to our incomparable Ms. Dot.
The Guardian ad Litem program has been serving Florida's children for 35 years. It gives a voice to abused and neglected children and ensures their best interest is heard and served. The Tallahassee office advocates for over 470 children. For more information, please visit www.gal2.org or call 606-1213.