The hub of information on our website, the blog contains posts with announcements, news and events, articles, periodicals and additions or updates to our website.

This page contains all published posts sorted chronologically with the newest at the top.

Two Event Changes Plus Staff Directory Updates

Event Updates

Two training events were recently updated. The Volunteer Training: March 2019 B event originally scheduled in Leon County has been relocated to Gadsden County. The exact location of this event, now renamed Volunteer Training Gadsden: March 2019, is to be announced. This rescheduling is in response to the cancellation of the Volunteer Training Gadsden: February 2019 session.

Staff Directory Update

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

Please join us in congratulating Kerri Posey on her promotion to Senior Child Advocate Manager. In addition, Tammy Harris, Ayana Hale and Shelby Pederson have departed. We thank Tammy, Ayana and Shelby for their service and wish them the best with their future endeavors.

Forty-Four New Events

Happy New Year!

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 over the past four weeks.

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

New Events, Staff Directory Update and Foundation Page Update

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.

Staff Directory Update

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

Please join us in welcoming Victim Child Advocate Manager Alexis Conner; Child Advocate Manager Ashley Kelley; Victim Best Interest Attorney Amy Parker-Martin; and Child Advocate Manager Schyler Ray to our team.

Foundation Page Update

The Foundation Board section on the Guardian ad Litem Foundation Second Circuit, Inc. page has been updated to reflect their current structure.

New Events: Volunteer Training Wakulla and 2018 Guardian ad Litem Holiday Gift Drive

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.

Holiday Gift Drive Helps Brings Normalcy To Local Children

We are pleased to announce the 2018 Guardian ad Litem Holiday Gift Drive has been scheduled in early December.

Separated from family and siblings, the holiday season can be a difficult and lonely time for the abused, neglected and abandoned children represented by our program. Despite their circumstances and heartbreaking stories, these children and youth still anticipate the season like any other child.

The annual holiday gift drive — run by our nonprofit partner Guardian ad Litem Foundation Second Circuit, Inc. — ensures that all children and youth represented by our program are able to receive some gifts this holiday season.

Please visit gal2.org/gift to learn more and then help us spread the word.

Holiday Gift Drive Print Flyer

On the gal2.org/gift event page, you can learn about this important and popular event.

  • How our holiday gift drive works
  • How you or your business can participate
  • Drive sponsors and supporting events
  • Gift recommendations by age and gender
  • How to get in contact

There are still some details to be added to the event page, so stay tuned for future update announcements.

Thank you for your support!

Volunteer Dorothy Binger Receives 2018 Glenn J. Winuk Humanitarian Service Award

Second Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program Circuit Director Deborah Moore (left) and Holland & Knight Attorney Kevin Cox present Dorothy 'Dot' Binger with the Glenn J. Winuk Humanitarian Service Award on Tuesday, September 11, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida.
Photo: gal2.org

On Tuesday, September 11, 2018, veteran guardian ad litem volunteer Dorothy "Dot" Binger was presented with the Glenn J. Winuk Humanitarian Service Award. This accolade is bestowed by Tallahassee law firm Holland & Knight every September 11th to honor "those who dedicate their time to serve others in the community."

A volunteer with our program for twenty-nine years, Binger has previously received the Volunteer Florida Champion of Service Award and the Dorothy "Dot" Binger Lifetime Achievement Award, named in her honor.

Binger's latest award comes with a $1,000 donation from Holland & Knight made to the charity of her choice. She has generously selected Guardian ad Litem Foundation Second Circuit, Inc., the not-for-profit volunteer organization founded in 1988 to support our program.

You can see three photographs from the awards ceremony. In addition, Binger's latest accolade was featured in an article published in the Tallahassee Democrat.

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

Tallahassee woman Dorothy Binger receives 9-11 Glenn J. Winuk Humanitarian Service Award
by Nada Hassanein

Tallahassee Democrat
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Dorothy "Dot" Binger's 29 years serving in the guardian ad litem program for children are being recognized today as she receives the annual Glenn J. Winuk Humanitarian Service Award.

The award is issued every year on Sept. 11, National Day of Service and Remembrance and honors those who dedicate their time to serve others in the community — either through consistent volunteering throughout the years like Binger, or in a "one-time heroic act."

The award is named after New York-based attorney Glenn J. Winuk, who died during the Sept. 11 attacks while assisting as a volunteer firefighter and EMT.

Holland & Knight, a Tallahassee law firm of which Winuk was a partner, created the award to honor the late attorney. The law firm will donate $1,000 to a charity of Binger's choice.

As a guardian ad litem, Binger, 94, has committed to neglected and abused children, offering support for them during the complexities of court trials they've had to endure as kids. She was also recognized as a 2012 Trailblazer by the Oasis Center for Women and Girls.

"Anyone who sees this petite, dynamic 94-year-old woman," said Deborah Moore, guardian ad litem director, "are inspired to redouble their efforts on behalf of children who have experienced abuse and neglect in the Second Judicial Circuit."

Moore nominated Binger for the award, saying she is a "role model and inspiration." She added, "I continue to be amazed at her unwavering energy, compassion and devotion."

Two other finalists were also recognized Tuesday.

Ronald Burger, who spent 49 years in public service, including in the Peace Corps, the American Red Cross, the Centers for Disease Control and the National Disaster Medical System.

Col. Grant Slayden, trial court administrator for the Second Judicial Circuit who retired last month from the U.S. Army after 32 years of service, according to a press release. He deployed on search-and-rescue missions in South Florida following Hurricane Irma.

Reach Nada Hassanein at nhassanein@tallahassee.com or on Twitter @nhassanein_.

New Event, Rescheduled Events and Volunteer Form Update

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.

Rescheduled Events

The following events have been rescheduled.

  • Volunteer Training: October 2018
    Training
    Monday, October 1, 2018
    Thursday, October 4, 2018
    Monday, October 8, 2018
    Thursday, October 11, 2018
    Monday, October 15, 2018
    Thursday, October 18, 2018

  • Optima Refresher
    Continuing Education
    Tuesday, October 16, 2018

  • Optima Refresher
    Continuing Education
    Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Volunteer Form Update

The GAL Report To The Court form has been updated. Word and PDF versions of the form can be downloaded from the Form and Document Library on the Current Volunteers page.

Event Handouts and Staff Directory Update

Event Handouts

Two handouts — Conditions For Return and Incarcerated Parents — from the Legal Update continuing education event on Thursday, August 23, 2018 are now available for download on the event page.

Staff Directory Update

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

Katelyn Carmona, Rachael Smith and Tracy Wills have departed. We thank Katelyn, Rachael and Tracy for their service and wish them the best with their future endeavors.

Three Educational Surrogate Lunch and Learn Sessions Rescheduled, One Cancelled

A number of changes have been made to the four Educational Surrogate Lunch and Learn continuing educations events scheduled through November 2018.

  • August 2018
    The class on Thursday, August 30, 2018 has been rescheduled one hour earlier to 12:00 PM. In addition, the course presenter and event contact have been updated.

  • September 2018
    The class on Thursday, September 27, 2018 has been cancelled.

  • October 2018
    The class on Thursday, October 25, 2018 has been rescheduled one hour earlier to 12:00 PM. In addition, the course presenter and event contact have been updated.

  • November 2018
    The class on Thursday, November 29, 2018 has been rescheduled to Thursday, November 15, 2018 at 12:00 PM, one hour earlier. In addition, the course presenter and event contact have been updated.

New Volunteer Training In Wakulla County and Our Program On WTXL-TV

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.

Our Program On WTXL-TV

Our program and the upcoming new volunteer training in Wakulla County were recently featured on ABC 27 News on WTXL-TV. You can watch the video segment or read a transcript below.

Thank you to WTXL for sharing our program with their viewers.

Volunteers needed for Big Bend Guardian ad Litem program
by WTXL-TV

ABC 27 News
Thursday, August 16, 2018

WAKULLA COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) - Hundreds of children are tied to court cases in the Big Bend.

The Second Judicial Circuit says it needs more volunteers to advocate for them.

It probably isn't the first place you'd take a kid to have fun, but for some, the courtroom is part of their lives.

"While their parents are going through dependency court issues, we are here to make sure that they're not overlooked," said Taylor Tachell, who's a volunteer recruiter for the Guardian ad Litem program.

The Guardian ad Litem program vouches for needs like food, clothing and education, sometimes therapy.

"These children are our future, and these children are all children who have either been abused or neglected in their life," said Tachell.

And the cases just keep coming, almost double what they've been in recent months.

Right now, there are more than 580 children who need a guardian. Each of them has one, but some of these guardians are covering more than one case and more than one child.

"What you give as a volunteer is returned to you many times over by what you get out of that service," said Rachel Pienta, the president-elect of the Wakulla County Chamber of Commerce.

The Wakulla County Chamber of Commerce wants residents to think about signing up. We met the president-elect in Tallahassee, where she said half of the county's residents work.

"People are working eight, nine, ten-hour days or longer," said Pienta. "How much time is left over to volunteer?"

Guardians ad litem typically spend eight to ten hours a month on a case and it doesn't all have to be in court.

"You can take the children out for lunch or to the park, something like that," said Tachell.

An escape from an unfamiliar place, but having a familiar face next to them could make that process a little more bearable.

The program will spend two Saturdays in Wakulla County next month for training, but volunteers are needed in several surrounding counties. You can find out more information about how to volunteer here.

Update Roundup: Events, Staff Directory, Continuing Education Library, Training, Brochure, Community Supporter, Foundation

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.

  • Legal Update
    Continuing Education
    Thursday, August 23, 2018

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

Rescheduled Events

The following events have been rescheduled.

Staff Directory Update

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

Please join us in welcoming Child Advocate Manager Ashley Kelley and Volunteer Recruiter Taylor Tachell to our team.

In addition, Annette Riddle and Sara Urban have departed. We thank Annette and Sara for their service and wish them the best with their future endeavors.

Continuing Education Library Update

One new library item was added to our Continuing Education resource center.

  • Trauma Informed Practice and the Opioid Crisis
    A discussion guide for health care and social service providers about the links between violence, trauma and opioid addiction by the Centre of Excellence for Women's Health.
    filed under Substance Abuse and Article

Training Updates

The Training page has been updated to reflect changes to the independent study curriculum. Three downloadable resources — Volunteer Training Manual, New Volunteer Training Program Handbook and Fieldwork Checklist — also have new versions available.

New Statewide Brochure

The statewide Guardian ad Litem Program brochure has been replaced with a newer version. It is available to download in the Frequently Asked Questions section on the Prospective Volunteers page.

New Community Supporter

Without the assistance provided by our partners and community supporters, ensuring children have a court-appointed volunteer guardian ad litem, legal assistance and financial resources would be extremely difficult.

The Supporters page has been updated to included the following addition.

Higher Ground Bicycle Company is a Tallahassee, Florida-based bicycle shop founded in 2001 offering road and mountain bikes, accessories and service. In 2018, Higher Ground began displaying our program's brochures and yard sign at their store, plus donated free and discounted bikes for older youth in need.

Logo: Higher Ground Bicycle Company

We thank Higher Ground Bicycle Company and all of our partners and supporters for their generous contributions to children in our community.

Foundation Page Update

The Foundation's Memberships section on the Guardian ad Litem Foundation Second Circuit, Inc. page has been updated. Their Institute for Nonprofit Innovation and Excellence (INIE) membership is now reflected.