Guardian ad Litem Holiday Gift Drive Provides Gifts For Over 450 Local Children

Each year, Second Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program staff and volunteers along with Child Advocates II, Inc. (CAII), our nonprofit support organization, work with local businesses, community organizations and individuals to ensure that every child represented by our program receives gifts for the holiday season.

Thanks to their generous support, the 2016 Guardian ad Litem Holiday Gift Drive was a great success, providing gifts to over 450 children.

Volunteer Recruiter Sara Blumenthal was on hand for the volunteer shopping and celebration event on Saturday, December 10, 2016 and took photographs. You can view the seven photographs she took and then read her post-event news release below.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this year's holiday drive!

Guardian ad Litem Program Hosts Santa Shopper Event
by Sara Blumenthal

Second Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program
Monday, December 12, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Florida — The Guardian ad Litem Program and its nonprofit organization, Child Advocates II hosted its annual Santa Shoppers event on December 10, 2016 at St. Paul's United Methodist Church. Volunteers shopped for abused and neglected children so that each will have presents for the holidays.

The Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program is a volunteer-based organization that advocates for abused and neglected children in the court system and community. Child Advocates II (CAII) supports the program and provides funding for the needs of the children and families. With the support of community sponsors, CAII is able to collect toys and gift cards.

"We are fortunate that with the support of our community our children can experience joy this holiday season," said GAL Circuit Director Deborah Moore.

This year CAII was able to collect hundreds of toys and gift cards for the about 450 children. The church was transformed into a store where volunteers were able to fulfill the children's wishes.

"The generosity of the community was amazing," said CAII president Omega Wynn. Donations included tablets, over 36 bicycles, play kitchens and gift cards to local stores and restaurants. "It's was so exciting to see how this community comes together to support our children."

Volunteers will be delivering the gifts to the children.

"The smiles you receive are amazing. Our families are going through challenging times," said retired educator and GAL volunteer Janice Little. "This gesture during the holiday times makes such impact. We get to be elves, which is so fun."

CAII and the GAL program want to thank everyone who made this event possible, including Akerman Law Firm, TJ Maxx, Maclay school, Holy Comforter Episcopal school, Earl Bacon Agency, Pennington Law Firm, Seminole Sitters and ESPN Radio.

For more information on the GAL program or to learn how get involved, please visit www.gal2.org or contact Sara Blumenthal at 850-606-1213 or sara.blumenthal@gal.fl.gov.

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