An article about our program recently appeared in the Tallahassee Democrat. The article is reproduced below.
Thank you to the Tallahassee Democrat for sharing our program with their readers.
Guardian ad Litem serves needs of abused, abandoned children
by Ellen Piekalkiewicz
Monday, January 29, 2018
Try to imagine the unimaginable, a frightened child being removed from their home for the child's own safety. When this happens there is often no time to gather a child's belongings. They are taken to safety confused, alone, with nothing but the clothes on their back, no shoes and without so much as a toothbrush or underwear.
Enter the Guardian ad Litem Program. The Second Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program serves as a powerful voice on behalf of abused and neglected children in Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty and Wakulla counties. The Guardian ad Litem Program is part of a statewide coalition of community advocates and professional staff.
These children are real, and sadly, are seen on a regular basis.
Just recently, two siblings were removed from their parents who were addicted to drugs. They had lived under neglected circumstances without their most basic needs being met. They were removed from their home with tattered clothes and shoes held together with tape.
Their lives changed dramatically when they were provided with safe shelter and then met their Guardian ad Litem (GAL). Their GAL, thanks to the fundraising efforts of the Guardian ad Litem Foundation Second Circuit, was able to take the children shopping (something they had never done).
The children gratefully received new shoes and articles of clothing making their transition to their new environment that much easier to endure.
The Guardian ad Litem Foundation Second Circuit supports the Guardian ad Litem Program and is a charitable, not-for-profit organization. All of their efforts are performed by volunteers. Donations provide clothing and shoes, items for infants such as cribs and diapers, school supplies, food, housing and utility expenses, child care, after-school care, summer camps, and support the training of GAL volunteers and staff.
Without the community's assistance, these needs would go unfulfilled.
The community's help for these children makes a big difference in the quality of their lives. "Despite the incredible sadness surrounding these children, it is so meaningful that the GAL Program is able to bring some normalcy into their lives and even some joy," says Jennifer West, President of GALF2 and a Guardian ad Litem volunteer.
Consider becoming a GAL volunteer or making a contribution to this worthwhile effort. More information can be found at gal2.org.
Ellen Piekalkiewicz is the executive director of United Partners for Human Services. She has more than 25 years of experience working for nonprofits and federal agencies.