Volunteer of the Month: January 2020

Graphic for January 2020 Volunteer of the Month containing three individuals and congratulatory text.
Photo: gal2.org

Krista is being honored as the January Second Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Volunteer of the Month. Krista has been serving children in our community for over nine years.

Krista was nominated for January's volunteer of the month by child advocate manager Alex Castellanos. Currently Krista is retired and now spends time with her husband, children, and her guardian ad litem children. After raising three children, Krista became a personal trainer and eventually started her own personal training business.

Krista's road to becoming a guardian ad litem is relatable to many other volunteers. While always being active in her community through her children's schools, she felt she was not contributing her fullest. "I was one of ten moms handing out plates," she said.

While that type of volunteering should never be undervalued, Krista wanted to find a way to continue to help as her children became older and her youngest son transitioned into high school. After seeing a billboard, an article in the paper, and some personal research, Krista decided to be a volunteer. Guardian ad litem combined her love of kids and the volunteering role she was searching for. As Krista says, "this feels legit." Since then, Krista has served as a volunteer for nine years.

Alex nominated Krista for volunteer of the month for her great communication, updating the team in an effective manner about priorities, gathering detailed information that others have not, and recently her appropriate approach to a termination of parental rights trial.

"If it wasn't for Krista, my cases would look completely different… she does what no one else thinks to do." Alex continues, "Krista not only does her visits thoroughly and consistently, but she makes sure to communicate with case managers, providers, caregivers, and parents regularly, appropriately, and effectively in order to paint a 'bigger picture' that ultimately helps in both the small and larger decisions in the life of a case… Krista is a professional volunteer."

Krista has stayed involved with the program due to the relationships she has been able to develop with the children. Some have become adults and still reach out for advice and guidance. Krista in return provides encouragement. Currently, Krista talks with the child on her case almost every day.

What is the most rewarding part of being a volunteer with guardian ad litem? Krista says, "having a good outcome and feeling like you were part of it." For those who relate to Krista's story and may be interested themselves Krista has this to say: "if you are looking to make a difference in a child's life, this is the way to do it."

If you are interested in becoming a Guardian ad Litem or know someone who could be, please call Maritza Waddle at 850-606-1213 or check out www.gal2.org.

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