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.

New Events: September Training and Continuing Education

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.

FMB School Supply Drive Extended

We are one week into this year's FMB school supply drive for guardian ad litem, but it is not too late to participate. To make certain of that and give everyone an opportunity to take advantage of Florida's upcoming sales tax holiday, FMB has extended the drive to Wednesday, August 9, 2017.

You can read our blog post about the drive for complete details including where and when you can bring donated items as well as a list of frequently needed and requested items.

Thank you for your assistance and to FMB for supporting children in our community!

FMB Hosts Annual 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

A community supporter is again helping us 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 backpacks, notebooks and other items suitable for elementary, middle and high school students.

This year's drive runs from Monday, July 24 through Wednesday, August 9, 2017. To participate, bring your new items to one of four FMB branch lobbies in Tallahassee and leave them in the decorated box.

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

Thank you to FMB and everyone who can donate!

Locations and Lobby Hours

Donations will be accepted from Monday, July 24 through Wednesday, August 9, 2017 at the following locations during lobby hours.

Donation Examples

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

  • Backpacks (no wheels)
  • Combination Locks
  • Composition Books
  • Crayons
  • Dry Erase Markers
  • Earbuds
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Notebook Paper
  • Pencils and Erasers
  • Pens
  • Spiral Notebooks
  • Tissues

Farmers and Merchants Bank Logo

School Supply Drive Flyer

Update
2017-07-31: Updated dates; drive extended from Friday, August 4 to Wednesday, August 9

Our Program Featured on WFSU's Perspectives and in the Tallahassee Democrat

WFSU Perspectives

On Thursday, June 15, 2017, the Second Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program was featured on an episode of Perspectives, a call-in radio program on 88.9 WFSU-FM.

Hosted by Tom Flanigan, the episode highlights our program and mission while featuring commentary from Volunteer Recruiter Sara Blumenthal and program volunteer Larry Carmichael.

You can listen to the episode by visiting the Perspectives website, download an MP3 of the audio or listen to the piece on YouTube, also embedded below.

Thank you to WFSU-FM for sharing our program with their listeners.

Tallahassee Democrat

An article about our program recently appeared in the Tallahassee Democrat. We are fortunate to have this article published to help us raise awareness of and support for our program.

The article is reproduced below. Thank you to the Tallahassee Democrat for sharing our program with their readers.

Scan of newspaper article

Guardian ad Litem seeks volunteers
by Ellen Piekalkiewicz

Tallahassee Democrat
Thursday, June 22, 2017

Retirement. It is a goal most of us look forward to, to a time when we no longer have to do what we must but can do what we want. Those achieving that goal find themselves with something new — free time.

A good way to fill this free time is to start a new adventure and get involved in your community. Throughout our community, there are hundreds of volunteer opportunities where retirees can make their time meaningful.

One of the best opportunities is volunteering with the Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program.

The GAL Program is a volunteer based organization that changes the lives of abused and neglected children by ensuring their interests are heard and served in the court and community. Through the volunteer's advocacy, a child is able to find a safe and permanent home as soon as possible.

"Our volunteers make an impact daily through their advocacy," said 2nd Judicial Circuit GAL Program Circuit Director Deborah Moore. "Retired volunteers are valued in our program as they bring a wealth of work, life and volunteer experience."

Many retirees choose to join this program because they recognize the need and they can see the difference the program makes in the lives of these children and their families. Sometimes all it takes is that one person being there and caring to change the direction of a life.

Retirees, regardless of what career they may have had, can use their knowledge and life experience to help guide a child and family to a better future.

"What better use of my time then helping a child and family in need," said retired educator Larry Carmichael. "It has revitalized me and is one of the most rewarding experiences I have had."

The Guardian ad Litem adventure includes creating a relationship with a child and showing them someone cares, showing them there is someone they can trust and depend on. It is being there to advocate for them in courtroom, ensuring that they are heard. It is advocating for them in classroom and community, the same way many us of advocate for our own children.

"Just because I'm retired doesn't mean I'm done making a difference," said retiree Lynda Giordano. "I have seen and experienced life and I am grateful I can use that to help a youth in need."

To those looking for a way to make their time meaningful, to share your knowledge, consider being a voice for an abused and neglected child. The Guardian ad Litem program stands tall in the corner of every child who has suffered abuse or neglect.

Information for this article was provided by Sara Blumenthal, Volunteer Recruiter, Second Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program.

For more information, please visit their website www.gal2.org

Five New Events, Staff Directory Update and New Guidelines Document

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.

Senior Secretary Susan Wood-Merritt has departed. We thank Susan for her service and wish her the best with her future endeavors.

New Optima Guidelines

A new guidelines document has been added to the Form and Document Library on the Current Volunteers page.

Volunteers can now download the "Optima Contact Log Guidelines for Child Visit" document in PDF and Microsoft Word formats.

Summer BreakSpot Provides Free Meals to Kids and Teens During Summer Break

We have added a new link to the Government section on the Links page.

Summer BreakSpot provides free meals to children and teenagers eighteen and under while school is out. Meals are available at one of over 3,500 supervised locations in Florida.

A federal program of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) administered locally by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Summer Food Service Program is expected to serve over 200 million free meals nationwide this year.

Visit summerbreakspot.com to find meal service locations near you and learn more about the program in Florida. There are no forms to complete or registration needed to participate.

Staff Directory Update, Report to the Court Form and a Little Housekeeping

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 Katelyn Mastro to our team.

Report to the Court Form

When the Report to the Court eForm was retired in May 2017, the PDF and Word versions of the form were removed as well. As they are still used by volunteers, these two printable versions of the form are once again available.

You can download a copy from the Form and Document Library on the Current Volunteers page.

Housekeeping

A brochure once available for download on the Pro Bono Attorneys page has been removed. It contained out-of-date information.

Four New Events Plus Report to the Court eForm Retirement

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.

eForm Retirement

We have retired another one of our eForms in favor of a replacement within Optima, our web-based case management system.

The Report to the Court eForm (RTC) is discontinued and no longer available for use. The shortlink previously in place now redirects to Optima for backward compatibility.

The discontinued eForm was extremely valuable to our program. While it was in service, the Report to the Court eForm processed eighty-three submissions.

Staff Directory and eForm Updates Plus BBQ Update

Staff Directory and eForm Updates

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

Please join us in welcoming Child Advocate Manager Tasha Loftin and Victim Child Advocate Manager Rachael Smith to our team.

CAII Great Southern BBQ Fundraiser

There are eleven days remaining to place your orders in the CAII Great Southern BBQ Fundraiser. This event is an easy way to procure tender, farm fresh pork products from Johnston's Meat Market for your family barbecue while helping to support abused and neglected children in our community.

All orders for Boston butt, picnic ham, sausage, ribs or bacon must be placed by Friday, May 19, 2017. You can place your order online or by telephone. Visit the event page for complete details.

Many orders have already been received — thank you — but the more we sell, the more money is raised. Place an order today and thank you for your support!