The hub of information for the Second Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program, our blog contains posts with announcements, news and events, articles, periodicals and additions or updates to our website.

This page contains published posts from the July 2016 archive sorted chronologically with the newest at the top.

In Print: Tallahassee Magazine

A piece featuring our circuit director and one of our projects was published in the latest issue of Tallahassee Magazine.

The article discusses back to school and the Foundation for Leon County Schools school supply drive befitting our program's children and youth. It also mentions the Child Advocates II, Inc. (CAII) Beyond the Basics project and quotes Circuit Director Deborah Moore.

The main text of the article is reproduced below along with a copy of the magazine page.

Thank you to Tallahassee Magazine for sharing our program with their readers.

The Drive For Student Preparedness
by Nina Rodríguez-Marty

Tallahassee Magazine
July–August 2016 (Volume 39, Number 4), Page 30

The annual return to school occasions a familiar series of rituals. Remember lining up freshly sharpened pencils beside blank notebooks and fiddling with the zippers of your brand new backpack, the year's cartoon obsession stamped on the front? And the zenith of the season was reuniting with classmates and sharing your summer adventures with them.

It's a wonderful time of the year. For some.

The reality is, this sweetly prefatory time is out of reach for many children and families. When factoring the price of basic necessities, as well as any additional fees and specialty items, school supplies can total a huge expense. Not everyone can afford to pay such a price.

School-supply drives work to equip students in need for a successful academic year. Though year-round efforts, these community-wide collections pick up serious momentum in the late summer months. And getting involved is easier than you think.

Stop by the Bloxham Building, 727 S. Calhoun St., or any Leon County public school with new donations for The Foundation for Leon County Schools' Back to School Supply Drive. Or launch your own campaign. Contributions can go directly to the Second Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program, which advocates for abused and neglected children in Leon County and surrounding areas.

Requested supplies include composition books, pencils and, of course, backpacks.

"Elementary, middle and high schools have different supply needs," said Leon County project manager Jamie Holleman. "But everybody needs a backpack."

No time for a trip to the store? The Foundation for Leon County Schools welcomes tax-deductible monetary contributions. Simply make your check payable to The Foundation for Leon County Schools and indicate that it's for the Back to School Supply Drive.

Guardian ad Litem also offers an easy alternative to physical donations. In conjunction with the nonprofit foundation Child Advocates II, Inc., Beyond the Basics is an ongoing online effort that accepts financial and gift card contributions. While paper and pencil might be the cornerstone of academia, what a child needs is not always spelled out on a supply list.

"We have some children and youth who are coming into care right before school starts and they need clothes, period," said Deborah Moore, circuit director of Guardian ad Litem. "They need to make sure that they start the year off right with outfits that they're comfortable in and can be proud of. That's really where the money goes."

Image of Tallahassee Magazine, Volume 39, Number 4, Page 30

Tallahassee Magazine, Volume 39, Number 4, Page 30

New Events Including Twelve 'Learning Optima' Sessions, Staff Directory and eForm Update, Plus A New Presentations Link

New Events

We regularly host, sponsor and support a variety of events that provide community outreach, increase awareness of our program, help recruit new volunteers, raise funds and furnish training to our volunteer guardians ad litem.

It is vital that all of our volunteers learn the new Optima case management system. The following twelve sessions of Learning Optima were added to our calendar.

In addition, the following event was also added to the calendar.

You can also browse and access events on our calendar grid.

Staff Directory and eForm Update

Our staff directory on the Contact page plus our Child Visitation Report and Report to the Court eForms have been updated to reflect recent personnel changes.

Please join us in welcoming Zach Lang to our team as a Child Advocate Manager. In addition, Child Advocate Manager Heather Adelstein and Child Advocate Manager Berline Belizaire have departed. We thank Heather and Berline for their service and wish them the best with their future endeavors.

New Presentations Link

On Sunday, July 17, 2016, we announced a new Presentations page and eForm. To draw more attention to this page and free service, a simple graphic for it has been added to the home page.

FMB Hosts School Supply Drive For Guardian ad Litem

Donations collected during the 2015 Guardian ad Litem School Supply Drive hosted by Farmers and Merchants Bank in Tallahassee, Florida
Photo: FMB

One of our community supporters is working to ensure that children and youth represented by the Second Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program have the school supplies that they need.

The annual FMB school supply drive collects notebooks, paper, pencils, erasers, crayons, backpacks and other items suitable for elementary, middle and high school students.

This year's drive runs from Monday, August 1 through Friday, August 12, 2016. To participate, bring your new items to one of four FMB branches in Tallahassee and leave them in the decorated box in the lobby.

At the conclusion of the drive, all donations will be picked up by Child Advocates II volunteers, delivered to our office and then distributed to children and families in need.

Thank you to FMB, Child Advocates II and everyone who can donate!

Locations and Lobby Hours

Donations will be accepted from Monday, August 1 through Friday, August 12, 2016 at the following locations during lobby hours.

Donation Examples

All donations are accepted but the following school supplies are frequently needed or requested.

  • Backpacks
  • Calculators
  • Composition Books
  • Copy Paper
  • Crayons
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Notebook Paper
  • Paper Towels
  • Pencils and Erasers
  • Pens
  • Spiral Notebooks
  • Tissues
  • USB Drives
  • Ziploc Bags

Farmers and Merchants Bank Logo

Farmers and Merchants Bank Logo

Update
2016-08-03: Replaced instances of "Farmers and Merchants Bank" with "FMB"

New Optima Event In Wakulla, New Presentations Page and eForm, Updated Training Links and Welcoming A New Staffer

New Event

We regularly host, sponsor and support a variety of events that provide community outreach, increase awareness of our program, help recruit new volunteers, raise funds and furnish training to our volunteer guardians ad litem. The following event was added to our calendar.

You can also browse and access events on our calendar grid.

New Presentations Page and eForm

Did you know that you can schedule a free presentation for your group to learn all about volunteering as a guardian ad litem? This free service for agencies, businesses and community organizations in Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty and Wakulla counties is now represented on a new page.

The Presentations page contains information about our free presentations, a request form for interested parties — the GAL Presentation Request eForm — and a calendar showing scheduled presentations and recruitment events.

Several other modifications were made as a result of these additions.

  • About page and section sidebar menu updated to include the Presentations page
  • Current Volunteers page updated to include the GAL Presentation Request eForm
  • Site Map at the bottom of every page updated to include the Presentations page

Effective Advocacy Training Links

The Phase 1: Independent Study section of our Training page was updated to correct two external links that went bad.

Links to the two-part "Effective Advocacy Training" videos were both updated to point to the videos' new location.

Staff Directory Update

Our staff directory on the Contact page has been updated to reflect a recent personnel addition.

Please join us in welcoming Ian Carnahan to our team as a Child's Best Interest Attorney.

New and Updated Events, Optima Links, Staff Directory and eForm Update

New Events

We regularly host, sponsor and support a variety of events that provide community outreach, increase awareness of our program, help recruit new volunteers, raise funds and furnish training to our volunteer guardians ad litem. The following events were added to our calendar.

You can also browse and access events on our calendar grid.

Event Update

Online registration for the upcoming GAL Foundation Regional Volunteer Conference in Panama City, Florida is now open. The registration link has been added to the event page.

Optima Links

Optima is our web-based case management system, which provides volunteers with instant access to information on the cases that they are assigned. We created the gal2.org/optima shortlink to make it easy to access Optima. This link is available on the following pages.

Staff Directory and eForm Update

Our staff directory on the Contact page plus our Child Visitation Report and Report to the Court eForms have been updated to reflect recent personnel changes.

Child Advocate Manager Janay Davis and Child's Best Interest Attorney Jason Miller have departed. We thank Janay and Jason for their service and wish them the best with their future endeavors.