We have worked with a lot of amazing guardians ad litem recently. Kudos to the following four volunteers who made a difference!
- Barbara Donaldson
Kudos to Barbara for putting in a lot of time and work on a very difficult case and always making herself available when something comes up. Barbara is also the child's educational surrogate and put a tremendous amount of work into seeking out the proper school placement for her. Amazing job, Barbara!
- Tom Cordi
Kudos to Tom for refusing to let his seventeen-year-old slip through the cracks. Thank you, Tom, for your intense advocacy in helping to meet your youth's educational needs.
- Jane and Pat Dallet
Kudos to Jane and Pat for hanging in there over the past five years, continually advocating for one young man who definitely needs them. They have encouraged, guided and been there for him. They even lectured him when he needed it! With his eighteenth birthday around the corner, they advocated for him to be placed in a driver's education class so he could get his license before moving out on his own. In helping him to prepare for independence, they have taken him on tours of college and vocational school campuses and provided him with opportunities to work and volunteer. Thank you, Jane and Pat, for your determination and dedication to this youth.
- Anne Martin
Kudos to Anne for sticking with a very frustrating case. The youth is just an infant and has provided, by far, the most joyous interaction she has had with anyone in the case. She has made herself available to assist both of the parents throughout in order to help them complete their case plan tasks. This has not been easy due to the parent's mental health issues, but Anne has handled those situations with grace. Thank you, Anne, for your patience and understanding in dealing with this difficult and highly contested case.
I would like to give kudos to guardian ad litem volunteer Emma Henderson, who goes above and beyond for the child in her case.
Emma has been in touch with the child's probation officer and helped the child to get an incomplete in a class in lieu of being failed. She also took the child to get a learners permit.
Thank you to Emma for being an outstanding volunteer!
I have worked with a lot of amazing guardians ad litem recently. Kudos to the following four volunteers who made a difference!
- Taylor Greenberg
Thank you for always being so on top of your case and being ready to jump to action when the unexpected happens.
- Frank Platt
If I did not know that you were the guardian ad litem, I might have though you were the mediator. You are able to maintain positive working relationships with all parties on your case — a very useful skill!
- Lisa Peerson
You are a top-notch guardian ad litem, an ever so helpful volunteer team leader and now a superstar foster parent. You are one of the best jugglers that I know!
- Elizabeth Adejokun-Ojo
You are so committed to your guardian ad litem kids. When placements occur, you are ready to visit as soon as you get the address, no matter how far the child has gone. Thanks for your dedication!
I would like to give kudos to Diane Molitaris for her work and dedication to the children in our community.
Diane is extremely committed to the program and recently celebrated her thirty-year anniversary as a volunteer. She excels at collecting details to ensure that the team's recommendations are well-informed and never misses visits with the children.
Congratulations and thank you to Diane, a dedicated child advocate!
Photograph: Diane Molitaris (center) accepts an award from CAII Board President Brian Sealey and Circuit Director Deborah Moore at Guardian ad Litem Appreciation Day on June 15, 2013.
We really enjoy sharing Kudos posts, special thank you and congratulatory messages to our volunteers from program staff. In this instance, the kudos to our volunteer comes from a child advocacy coordinator in the neighboring Fourteenth Judicial Circuit.
In an email to our Circuit Director Deborah Moore, CAC Carol Ann Fischer shared her gratitude and spoke quite highly of our volunteer, Robin Barrow.
Good Morning Deborah:
I wanted to take a minute to send a quick thank you and hope you will please pass it on to your volunteer.
Your circuit has been providing courtesy for us on [a case] and Robin Barrow has been the [guardian ad litem volunteer]. She is excellent. We had a [termination of parental rights] trial this week and she came over for the trial and was a huge support for the child during her testimony.
She is an awesome volunteer and the fact that she took time to drive to [Panama City] for the trial and be here with the child is so wonderful.
Thank you so much and if you will please extend our thanks to Robin.
Carol Ann Fischer
Child Advocate Coordinator II
Fourteenth Judicial Circuit
Thanks to Carol Ann Fischer for sharing this with us and to Robin Barrow for her exemplary work!
Stuart Zirin deserves some serious kudos. On a recent weekend, he visited the youth in his case in a South Florida corrections facility.
Stuart has worked hard on behalf of the youth to try keep his education on track. The youth is a bright young man with the ability to succeed if he can stay out of trouble and focused on learning. However, the youth now has restrictions on internet access — due to violations on his part — and this has impacted his ability to continue his education online.
Stuart continues to look into how this young man can pursue his education while incarcerated. In the meantime, he brings and mails books to the youth in order to keep his mind active and focused on education and development of self. Stuart said that the youth was happy to see him and that he plans to keep on driving down for visits.
One thing is for sure, this young man certainly has a better chance at success with someone like Stuart in his corner!
I would like to give kudos to Maureen Barker for her work and dedication to the child in her case.
Working with the child since February 2008, Maureen stuck with him all the way and made sure that her voice was heard when it came to finding the right permanent home and figuring out how to transition him into it. He is a very special kid with unique needs, requiring a lot of time and patience for everyone involved in his life.
Although the child had a tough time accepting a forever family, with Maureen's assistance he finally did and was adopted earlier this month.
Congratulations and thank you to Maureen for a job well done!
I have worked with a lot of amazing guardians ad litem recently. Kudos to the following six volunteers who made a difference!
- Stacey Burns — for being "clutch"
We had an emergency hearing with very complicated issues and no time to prepare, but I knew that I could put Stacey on the spot because she knows her case so well. And she did great; I couldn't have gotten through it without her!
- Jennifer Jennings-Glover — for being a super investigator
Jennifer is so on top of her case and knows what's going on with everybody involved. Thanks to her input and information, I was able to pursue a motion to change a case plan knowing that I had a solid evidentiary basis.
- Debbie Leo — for putting up with one of the most unstable cases
Debbie takes calls from the child and parents even at all hours of the night. She shows up to the home to help calm explosive situations and provide much needed support for the child.
- Patti Sanzone — for driving a child all the way to Mississippi to attend her father's funeral
Patti offered and was willing to take the child, even on extremely short notice. This trip provided the child with an invaluable opportunity to connect with family members, some of whom she had not seen in quite some time or ever met.
- Carol Ostapchuk — for her amazing patience and support for the family on her case
Carol goes out of her way to be in contact with both parents and be available when they need her. She even recently bought the mother a stroller and other supplies for the baby she is expecting.
- Tamara Ross — for doing such a great job testifying at a TPR court hearing
This was her first case and you would have thought she was a pro. Even the judge commented on how credible she was during the hearing.
2013-10-15: updated Jennings-Glover and Ostapchuk volunteer names
I want to give kudos to Jim Anderson who extended himself to do courtesy visits for guardian ad litem youth placed in Jacksonville, Florida in the Fourth Judicial Circuit. He has been available to assist and provide a much needed service as many of our youth are placed in the Jacksonville area.
As a favor, Jim once met with one such youth before she moved to begin college. He was able to recognize what an extraordinary youth she is in just one hour. He provided vital information on her status to the child advocacy coordinator in Tallahassee.
He also took the initiative to find out what resources will be available to her once she begins college and when she ages out of foster care, as well as offering to help fill in the gaps. Jim Anderson is clearly an enthusiastic and committed guardian ad litem!
2013-08-11: corrected author to Caitlyn Kio.
I want to give kudos to Sandi Wise, a volunteer guardian ad litem from Volusia County (Seventh Judicial Circuit) who has been providing courtesy support for one of our children. She has gone way above and beyond what the typical courtesy guardian ad litem does and even above and beyond what many primary guardians do.
Sandi sorted out the child's educational records and got her on track in school. She organized and attended meetings to ensure the child's education and services were in order. Even when there was a lack of response from other parties, she remained committed to ensuring the child was receiving all that she was entitled to and needed.
Sticking with the child to provide the best possible advocacy right up until the moment the child returned to Leon County, Sandi intends to remain in contact and be available to the child if needed. Sandi Wise is the ultimate courtesy guardian ad litem!