In Print: Dinner Divas Support Guardian ad Litem

On Thursday, March 31, 2016, the Apalachicola Times published an article about a recent event held in support of our program, The Dinner Divas Present: A Coastal Cocktail Buffet Fundraiser.

As we reported on Saturday, March 26, 2016, the Dinner Divas raised about $3,200 for local children during the event.

The article is presented below in case you missed it. Thank you to the Times for sharing our program with their readers.

Dinner Divas Support GAL
by Lois Swoboda

Thursday, March 31, 2016
Apalachicola Times
Society Section

On Saturday, March 12, the Dinner Divas staged a gala event to raise money for Franklin County's Guardian ad Litem (GAL) program.

A guardian ad litem is appointed by a court to protect the interests of a child, or incompetency. Typically, the court may appoint either a lawyer, or a special advocate volunteer to serve as guardian ad litem in juvenile, family court, probate and domestic relations matters.

The guardian ad litem is not expected to make diagnostic or therapeutic recommendations but to provide an information base from which to draw resources. As authorized by law the guardian ad litem may advocate for a child at risk.

About 80 people attended the Saturday evening affair held at the lovely home of Henry and Elaine Kozlowsky on Magnolia Bluff.

The Dinner Divas, who specialize in one-off fundraisers for worthy causes, prepared dishes featuring, salmon, local seafood and a stunning array of sweets.

After the party had taken time to raid the buffet and enjoy a glass of their favorite beverage, Sarah Blumenthal, recruiter for the local GAL program, appealed to the crowd to consider volunteering to advocate for a child. Pat O'Connell of St. George Island, a member of the Dinner Divas group, said she and her husband Michael have been GAL volunteers for 14 years.

"It is definitely the most rewarding and interesting charity we have been involved with," O'Connell said.

Blumenthal said GAL volunteers give children "the opportunity to have a more normal life in a very abnormal situation."

"Our children are half as likely to cycle back into the system and twice as likely to be adopted" as other children at risk, Blumenthal told the gathering. "There's a ripple effect. Change the life of one child and you change the world."

Blumenthal described two of the GAL programs that the money raised will help fund.

"Beyond the Basics" seeks to provide children who are neglected or otherwise at risk with experiences most youngsters take for granted. It could be a dress for the prom, sports equipment or the money to go on a field trip.

"First Beginnings" is for kids who are aging out of the system to help them get a first apartment. Blumenthal said GAL maintains a warehouse with furniture and other household goods.

"Every one of our kids has a bed to sleep on. That may not seem like a lot to you but it's a big deal," she said.

Blumenthal said a training program for GAL volunteers will be held in Sopchoppy May 5 through 7. To learn more about GAL, call (850) 606-1213 or visit www.GAL2.org.

Image of Tallahassee Magazine, Page 59

Apalachicola Times

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