Superhero Bash

We need SUPERHEROES like you!

Charlotte County GAL’s SUPERHERO BASH Event

THANK YOU TO ALL WHO ATTENDED!

Our Sponsors

TESTIMONIALS

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

View all

 
Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Southwest Florida
viva-la-derby-test

SAVE THE DATE
MAY 7, 2016

Viva la Derby - Voices for Kids

5:00 - 9:00 PM
The Heights Cultural Arts & Community Center
15570 Hagie Drive
Fort Myers, FL

"TALK DERBY TO ME"

Viva la Derby - Voices for Kids

Please help Florida's abused and neglected children by attending the moset memorable Kentucky Derby Party in Southwest Florida!

Last year over 230 people came and loved the experience. This year's event is going to be bigger and better!

TICKETS AVAILABLE STARTING
MARCH 1, 2016
CALL TO RESERVE AHEAD AT 239-533-1435

Interested in sponsorship?
Email rwendling@galfoundation20.org

Event Highlights Include:

  • Live Derby race action as it unfolds
  • Bourbon tasting
  • Hat contest
  • Bowtie contest
  • Horse grid (Yes, with live horses!)
  • Delectable derby-themed fare
  • Complimentary wine and beer
  • Dixieland band and DJ music
  • Fantastic auction items

AND MANY OTHER SURPRISES TOO!

Buy Tickets Now

TESTIMONIALS

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

View all

 
Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Southwest Florida
Legal Eagles

TESTIMONIALS

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

View all

 
Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Southwest Florida
Foundation Programs

The GAL Foundation-20th Judicial Circuit raises funds and administers two programs on behalf of the Guardian ad Litem Program of Southwest Florida.  You are invited to make a donation to the Foundation in support of any or all of these programs.


 

Growing Guardians : Recruitment, training and retention of Guardian ad Litem volunteer advocates. Annual funds are needed for:  1) marketing the need for volunteer advocates; 2) recruiting and screening potential volunteers; 3) training the volunteers; and 3) volunteer retention activities, such as recognition events, scholarships to extended learning activities, mileage for visiting children placed in rural areas, etc.


 

Children's Needs Fund : Kids Being Kids - Provides experiences and things that bring normalcy to a child's life and that most children take for granted such as:

  • Academic tutoring
  • Emergency/supplemental clothing
  • Participation in sports, the arts and social clubs
  • Happier Birthdays
  • Summer camps
  • Field trips         


 

Children's Needs Fund : Beds for Kids

  • A volunteer advocate may request a warm cozy bed and bedding may be for a child in need of one’s own. For 20 years, Cynthia Shafer has served as a GAL volunteer advocate. In the course of her advocacy work, she recognized that caring people are sometimes willing to take in a vulnerable child, but they lack the resources to provide a bed.  So in 2001, Cynthia founded the Bedz for Kidz Program on behalf of the Guardian ad Litem Program.  She and her husband have driven close to 120,000 miles throughout our five-county region while delivering and assembling over 2300 beds.


 

If you have questions about these ongoing needs, please call 239-533-1435.

TESTIMONIALS

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

View all

 
Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Southwest Florida
Foundation Programs

The GAL Foundation-20th Judicial Circuit raises funds and administers THREE PROGRAMS on behalf of the Guardian ad Litem Program of Southwest Florida.  You are invited to make a donation to the Foundation in support of any or all of these three programs.


Recruitment, training and retention of Guardian ad Litem volunteer advocates.Annual funds are needed for:  1) marketing the need for volunteer advocates; 2) recruiting and screening potential volunteers; 3) training the volunteers; and 3) volunteer retention activities, such as recognition events, scholarships to extended learning activities, mileage for visiting children placed in rural areas, etc.


Kids Being Kids Program, through which the volunteer advocates may request items on behalf of the children they represent. Items most children can take for granted:

  • happier birthdays
  • emergency/supplemental clothing
  • participation in sports, the arts and social clubs
  • academic tutoring
  • summer camps
  • medical needs           


Beds for Kids

  • A volunteer advocate may request a warm cozy bed and bedding may be for a child in need of one’s own. For 20 years, Cynthia Shafer has served as a GAL volunteer advocate. In the course of her advocacy work, she recognized that caring people are sometimes willing to take in a vulnerable child, but they lack the resources to provide a bed.  So in 2001, Cynthia founded the Bedz for Kidz Program on behalf of the Guardian ad Litem Program.  She and her husband have driven close to 120,000 miles throughout our five-county region while delivering and assembling over 2300 beds.


If you have questions about these ongoing needs, please call 239-533-1435.

TESTIMONIALS

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

View all

 
Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Southwest Florida
The GAL Foundation-20th Judicial Circuit raises funds and administers THREE PROGRAMS on behalf of the Guardian ad Litem Program of Southwest Florida.  You are invited to make a donation to the Foundation in support of any or all of these three programs.


Recruitment, training and retention of Guardian ad Litem volunteer advocatesAnnual funds are needed for:  1) marketing the need for volunteer advocates; 2) recruiting and screening potential volunteers; 3) training the volunteers; and 3) volunteer retention activities, such as recognition events, scholarships to extended learning activities, mileage for visiting children placed in rural areas, etc.


Kids Being Kids Program, through which the volunteer advocates may request items on behalf of the children they represent. Items most children can take for granted:

  • happier birthdays
  • emergency/supplemental clothing
  • participation in sports, the arts and social clubs
  • academic tutoring
  • summer camps
  • medical needs           


Beds for Kids

  • A volunteer advocate may request a warm cozy bed and bedding may be for a child in need of one’s own. For 20 years, Cynthia Shafer has served as a GAL volunteer advocate. In the course of her advocacy work, she recognized that caring people are sometimes willing to take in a vulnerable child, but they lack the resources to provide a bed.  So in 2001, Cynthia founded the Bedz for Kidz Program on behalf of the Guardian ad Litem Program.  She and her husband have driven close to 120,000 miles throughout our five-county region while delivering and assembling over 2300 beds.


If you have questions about these ongoing needs, please call 239-533-1435.

TESTIMONIALS

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

View all

 
Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Southwest Florida

Foundation Programs
The GAL Foundation-20th Judicial Circuit raises funds and administers THREE PROGRAMS on behalf of the Guardian ad Litem Program of Southwest Florida.  You are invited to make a donation to the Foundation in support of any or all of these three programs.  [insert donate button]

  • Recruitment, training and retention of Guardian ad Litem volunteer advocatesAnnual funds are needed for:  1) marketing the need for volunteer advocates; 2) recruiting and screening potential volunteers; 3) training the volunteers; and 3) volunteer retention activities, such as recognition events, scholarships to extended learning activities, mileage for visiting children placed in rural areas, etc.



  • Kids Being Kids Program, through which the volunteer advocates may request items on behalf of the children they represent. Items most children can take for granted:
    • happier birthdays
    • emergency/supplemental clothing
    • participation in sports, the arts and social clubs
    • academic tutoring
    • summer camps
    • medical needs           
  • Beds for Kids
      • A volunteer advocate may request a warm cozy bed and bedding may be for a child in need of one’s own. For 20 years, Cynthia Shafer has served as a GAL volunteer advocate. In the course of her advocacy work, she recognized that caring people are sometimes willing to take in a vulnerable child, but they lack the resources to provide a bed.  So in 2001, Cynthia founded the Bedz for Kidz Program on behalf of the Guardian ad Litem Program.  She and her husband have driven close to 120,000 miles throughout our five-county region while delivering and assembling over 2300 beds.


If you have questions about these ongoing needs, please call 239-533-1435.

TESTIMONIALS

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

View all

 
Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Southwest Florida

Foundation Programs
The GAL Foundation-20th Judicial Circuit raises funds and administers THREE PROGRAMS on behalf of the Guardian ad Litem Program of Southwest Florida.  You are invited to make a donation to the Foundation in support of any or all of these three programs.  [insert donate button]

  • Recruitment, training and retention of Guardian ad Litem volunteer advocatesAnnual funds are needed for:  1) marketing the need for volunteer advocates; 2) recruiting and screening potential volunteers; 3) training the volunteers; and 3) volunteer retention activities, such as recognition events, scholarships to extended learning activities, mileage for visiting children placed in rural areas, etc.



  • Kids Being Kids Program, through which the volunteer advocates may request items on behalf of the children they represent. Items most children can take for granted:
    • happier birthdays
    • emergency/supplemental clothing
    • participation in sports, the arts and social clubs
    • academic tutoring
    • summer camps
    • medical needs           
  • Beds for Kids
      • A volunteer advocate may request a warm cozy bed and bedding for a child in need of one’s own. For 20 years, Cynthia Shafer has served as a GAL volunteer advocate. In the course of her advocacy work, she recognized that caring people are sometimes willing to take in a vulnerable child, but they lack the resources to provide a bed.  So in 2001, Cynthia founded the Bedz for Kidz Program on behalf of the Guardian ad Litem Program.  She and her husband have driven close to 120,000 miles throughout our five-county region while delivering and assembling over 2300 beds.


If you have questions about these ongoing needs, please call 239-533-1435.

TESTIMONIALS

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

View all

 
Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Southwest Florida

The Guardian ad Litem: 20th Judicial Circuit depends on advocate volunteers to push for the welfare of abused and neglected children. Each GAL volunteer guardian takes a hands on approach to bettering their communities and working to complete our mission.

We hope you see a little bit of yourself in all of our GAL heroes, and are encouraged to support our amazing organization.

Here are their stories.


Meet Nora

Nora has been a GAL volunteer advocate for 17 years. She was a flight attendant for 25 years and one day when she was home on sick leave she was watching the Phil Donahue show. There was a woman talking about CASA and all of the good work they do. She was in the process of moving to Florida and decided to keep that volunteer possibility in the back of her mind. She decided when she got settled in Florida she would look into it.

Well, today she has had over 50 cases.

One special case was that of a four-year-old girl who had an IQ of 145. This little girl told Nora she couldn’t live with her mommy because her mommy made bad choices. Nora was floored by her awareness of the situation. This little girl was in several foster homes, some of which were verbally abusive, but the little girl persevered, and she was adopted after four years.

Nora reports that many abused and neglected children have anger issues toward their birth family for giving them away. Others stay devoted to their abusive and neglectful parents because it’s all they know…even though it’s bad.

Nora has a couple of words of advice for those considering becoming a volunteer. Never make a promise….too many promises have been broken by adults in these children’s lives.  She also advises volunteers to never force a child to look you in the eye, because in their world that means you want something.

Nora says that any volunteer will “get more out of it [volunteering] than the child.” 

Nora A.
Naples, FL.
March 2015


Meet Nancy

“I learned about the Guardian ad Litem program from a friend who told me about some of the children she had known through the program.  At the same time there was an article in the newspaper that described the need for volunteers. I signed up for the required training, accepted a case and have been a GAL volunteer for six years.

One case involved a little baby boy.  His mother had drug problems and was in and out of jail.  The baby was in foster care. The father was in jail.  The father was released, impregnated the mother, and was rearrested.  He then was completely out of the picture.

The mother now had a baby boy and a baby girl, about a year apart, both in foster care.  She entered drug programs but kept lapsing.  The recommendation was made to terminate her parental rights.  This seemed to get through to her. She could not afford a behavioral program, but about this time was offered a free behavioral program. She entered the program and did well.  The program ended after six months due to lack of funds, but people kept helping the mother.

During this time the children were in foster homes, at times in two different foster homes.

The mother kept meeting the goals required for her to be reunified with her children, She had a history of having two children previously removed from her care.  They are now teenagers and cared for by her parents.  This time her determination to regain and care for her children was unwavering.
She has been drug free for over two years, and  despite having a felony on her record, she managed to find a job. 

The family is together. The mother demonstrates good parenting skills.  The case took over three years.  It feels very good to know that I have been involved in a matter that that has helped a mother get and stay off drugs and have her children returned to her.

Volunteers should know that you can get very involved in these cases.  They do take lots of time and events such as the scheduling of court hearings are entirely out of your control.”

Nancy S. 
Punta Gorda, FL
March 2015


Meet Trudy

Trudy, a resident of Naples, Florida, has been a proud volunteer of the Guardian ad Litem Program  for 18 years, starting as an advocate in Michigan.

With a large family of her own, including 5 children, 24 grandchildren and a human resources background, becoming a GAL volunteer advocate was a natural transition.

Trudy has just cleared a 4-year-old for adoption. This child had been abandoned by her parents and was in the care of her grandmother. The little girl’s parents were dangerous and completely unable to love or care for their little girl and eventually gave up all parental rights in favor of adoption.

Trudy encourages anyone qualified to explore the idea of becoming a guardian and to not give up.

"There is no one else to give the children a voice or walk beside them"-- you are the one stable presence in their lives. 

As many of our guardians express, the need is very great for more volunteers, and Trudy believes the judges in Lee/Collier County listen well to the Guardian ad Litem’s, making the work involved extremely rewarding.

Trudy would like to note that guardians always have to be at the court proceedings.

Trudy M.
Naples, FL.
March 2015


Meet Susan

Susan, has been involved with the GAL Program for four  years. 

Originally she volunteered as an advocate in Michigan.
Susan became an advocate for a 4 month old baby who is was two years old when a permanent placement was achieved. The baby’s mother was on drugs, and had four children. The baby’s father was in jail, which left the baby the responsibility of her grandfather. It was simply setback after setback for this family.
 
The child’s grandfather finally got permanent guardianship-- but only with the support and guidance  of the guardian. Without the GAL volunteer, this outcome would not have been possible, and the  baby would have been placed in the foster system  They also were able to keep  two of the other children together and arrange for continual visitation with the others.  All would have been separated in foster care without the assistance of the GAL volunteer.
 
Susan pointed out that cases such as this are slow paced and difficult, but the final outcome is worthwhile and outweighs any setbacks one may come across.

Susan
Fort Myers, FL.
February 2015


Meet Jack

“I have been a volunteer advocate for six years.  I became involved when one of my church
members (without my knowledge) told Holly Rodriguez, at the time the head of the local
Charlotte County GAL Program, that I would make a good Guardian ad Litem.  She called me:  I went in and talked to her and thought this might be an activity that would interest me. I took two weekends of training in Ft. Myers, was given a case to handle and decided to give it a try.

I will always remember my first case. I had two brothers, ages seven and four.  There were two different fathers who were not present.  The boys had just been removed from their mother due to her drug abuse.  When I first saw the boys, they had just been removed from their mother and were at the foster parents’ house.  This was the foster parents first ever assignment.  I will always remember those two boys standing together, holding hands.

There was continued drug abuse on the part of the mother and the boys were placed with their maternal grandmother.  The foster parents had decided they would no longer continue in the foster parent program and guardianship moved to the grandmother.  This woman had two other children, not of her family, so she was caring for four children.

Approximately nine months after the grandmother was granted guardianship, the mother surprised us and managed to defeat her drug abuse problem.  She went to court and won back the custody of her children.

Shortly after this, the father of the older boy went to court and won custody of his son, thereby
splitting up the brothers.  This man did love his son and I give him credit for his interest in his
son.  He did, though, have legal problems and the mother was determined to rebuild her family. She returned to court and regained custody of the older boy.  She now has custody of both boys. A local group gave the mother a scholarship that has allowed her to attend cosmetology school. She is currently studying for her certificate that will allow her to earn a living for her family.

I am intensely proud of this young woman who has turned her life around and is providing a good life for herself and her children. This case took 3 ½ years from beginning to end. The family has completed a six month review period by the court and is considered resolved.

I think the best way to consider the program is the way I did; take the training and try one case.

Use it to decide if you want to do it long-term. I have handled 25 -30 cases and have found the grandparents to be heroes in these stories.  They provide the caring, love, and stability the children need so badly. They also are a good source for the volunteer as to how the parents of the children are really doing.

The system is not perfect, but it is pretty close to perfect. 

Jack B.
Charlotte County, FL.
January 2015


Meet Maxine

Maxine C of Lee County worked in business until her retirement five years ago.  At that point, she decided that she had always loved children and wanted to work with them.  Maxine had heard and read about the Guardian ad Litem Program and decided to become one now that she had the time to devote to the program.

Maxine said that she was very accustomed to working long days, so she asked to be “kept busy.”  She currently is working with  eight cases involving 19 children.  They range from “at birth” to 14 years of age.

Maxine estimated that she has worked with over 30 cases over the years, On average most cases last about one year;  three years is the longest that she has had a case.

Usually there are family problems, such as drug issues and/or domestic violence, requiring the children to be placed in a safer environment.

The overall goal is to resolve the case in one year.  Results have varied from eventual placement with grandparents, to reuniting the family, to adoption.

Maxine describes being the Guardian ad Litem Program as “a very rewarding program that I would recommend to anyone who loves children.”   She stressed that the guardian is sometimes the only person who remains constant in the child’s life through the duration of a case.  Case managers and foster parents change. Maxine feels that dedication to the child and to resolving the child’s situation is paramount and she certainly exemplifies this belief.

Maxine C.
Fort Myers, FL.
January 2015


Meet Susan B.

I have been a GAL volunteer for four years. I used to watch Dr. Phil , and he had several programs about CASA volunteers. I believe he was an honorary chairperson at the time.

One of my cases involved a girl who is currently 13. She has a brother 15 months younger. She was just 10 when I first met her and learned of her story.

She and her brother had been abandonment by both parents. We tried to reunite the children, first with their stepmother, and then with an aunt and uncle. They were great kids, but in both instances, the adults involved put them back into the foster care system. It’s always our first priority to try to place with family. The authorities then allowed us to let the children interview “prospective families” and we were able to place them successfully. They have since experienced several “firsts”—like a first camping experience (in Wisconsin) and a first airplane ride. And they were adopted by the family this past May. It was a happy outcome, and I see them every couple of months. In fact, we’re seeing a movie next Tuesday.

I highly recommend attending the hour long GAL orientation, where a panel of volunteers shares stories, and answer questions.

Persistence is an important quality for any GAL volunteer because the foster care bureaucracy can be challenging. I’ve had multiple case managers on a case over a short period of time—one stayed  just one day.  Patience with the process and love for children are important.

Susan B.
Ft. Myers, FL
December 2014


Stephanie Acorn

Florida's Guardian ad Litem program provides a voice for thousands of children through volunteers who serve as mentors and confidants, advocating for the safety and well-being of society's most vulnerable.

Estero's Stephanie Acorn is among these dedicated advocates. A retired financial analyst of indomitable spirit, she defines her purpose from day one on a case: "I am here for the child."

She doesn't pander to the wishes and whims of parents, legal guardians or relatives. Her job is to assess what living arrangement is best for the child and to be a stabilizing force in an emotional situation.

When Acorn was called to advocate for three boys living in Golden Gate four years ago, she immediately approached the eldest, then age 12, to make her relationship clear: "I told him, ‘I'm not here for your mother; I'm not here for your grandmother; I'm here for you.'"

"Stephanie is wonderful," said Holly Rodriguez, director of the 20th Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem (GAL) program. "We need a lot more volunteers like her."

More...

Stephanie Acorn
Estero, FL
May 2015

TESTIMONIALS

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

View all

 
Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Southwest Florida

Derby Day Gaming Table Sponsorships

 

$500
Blackjack Table

2 More Available
Sponsor will receive the following:

  • Mentioned in Viva la Derby/Las Vegas program, including instruction section.
  • Sponsor signage at table
  • Two event tickets. A $200 value. Each $100 ticket includes $5,000 in gaming chips per ticket. Turn in your chips at the end of the night for your chance to win prizes.
 

Derby Day 6 Race Package Sponsorships

$1,300
Derby Hat Contest Sponsorship

$2,500
Race Name Contest Sponsorships

 2 More Available
Sponsor will receive the following:

  • Mention in the racing form and Viva la Derby/Las Vegas program, see program for example.
  • Mention on the big screen TV starting fifteen minutes before the race.
  • MC will promote the named race, starting fifteen minutes before race time.
  • Opportunity to name a horse in each of all six races with the horse’s name appearing in the Viva la Derby/Las Vegas program. MC will call the race using horses’ names.
  • Eight event tickets. An $800 value. Each $100 ticket includes $5,000 in gaming chips. Turn in your chips at the end of the night for chance to win prizes.
  • Five WGCU event radio spots with a sponsor tag. Each spot is $75 — a $375 value.

$5,000
Overall Event
Sponsorship

Gets the Derby!

Only 1  Available
Sponsor will receive the following:

  • Mentioned in all pre-race promotions as “Our Party Sponsored By”.
  • Your Name in Lights — special signage at the event.
  • Exclusive association with the Kentucky Derby portion of the event as “Special Sponsor”.
  • Prominently mentioned in all printed materials.
  • Your representatives draw the winning ticket at the Grand Prize Drawing Event.
  • Twelve event tickets. A $1,200 value. Each $100 ticket includes $5,000 in gaming chips per ticket. Turn in your chips at the end of the night for your chance to win prizes.
  • Opportunity to buy additional tickets for half price.
  • Twelve WGCU event radio spots with a sponsor tag. Each spot is $75 — a $940 value.

Corporate Sponsorship

TESTIMONIALS

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

View all

 
Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Southwest Florida
Ticket options
 

Hat Contest


Bow Tie Contest


Casino Sponsors


Derby Race

Ticket options

TESTIMONIALS

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

View all

 
Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Southwest Florida

Your request has been submitted into the loading system. If you do not receive another email within 3 business days indicating that it is being processed or it is currently under review, then it was not received correctly and must be submitted again. Thank you.

TESTIMONIALS

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

View all

 
Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Southwest Florida

Your request has been submitted into the loading system. If you do not receive another email within 3 business days indicating that it is being processed or it is currently under review, then it was not received correctly and must be submitted again. Thank you.

TESTIMONIALS

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

View all

 
Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Southwest Florida

Thank you for signing up for our signature events and making the night bright for the children our organization and the Guardian Ad Litem program assist. We thank you so much for your contribution and look forward to seeing you and having a great time. Please make sure to mark the following on your calendar: 

Make the Night Bright, February 13, 2015
Blackjack, poker, roulette, craps and more!
White Orchid at Oasis
3027 East Riverside Dr.
Fort Myers, FL

Wine & Swine Pig Roast, October 22
Pig roast, wine and beer pairings, live jazz and more!
The Orange House
320 Sullivan St
Punta Gorda, FL

TESTIMONIALS

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

View all

 
Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Southwest Florida

We're sorry to see you've canceled your order. If you require immediate assistance please call: Tel: (239) 533-1435

If you've canceled on accident feel free to sign up at: http://www.voicesforkids.org/calendar/signature-event

TESTIMONIALS

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

View all

 
Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Southwest Florida

2014-2015 Voices for Kids

Signature Fundraising Series

Make the Night Bright at the VFK Casino

April 24, 2015, 6:30 – 10 PM

At the White Orchid at Oasis
3027 East Riverside Dr.
Fort Myers

$75 per person includes gaming chips for blackjack, poker, roulette, craps and more

Fabulous food by Jamie & Jacob Catering, wine, beer and soft drinks, prizes and surprises!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

TESTIMONIALS

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

View all

 
Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Southwest Florida

The GAL Foundation-20th Judicial Circuit raises funds and administers THREE PROGRAMS on behalf of the Guardian ad Litem Program of Southwest Florida.  You are invited to make a donation to the Foundation in support of any or all of these three programs.

Recruitment, training and retention of
Guardian ad Litem volunteer advocates. 

Annual funds are needed for:  1) marketing the need for volunteer advocates;
2) recruiting and screening potential volunteers; 3) training the volunteers; and
3) volunteer retention activities, such as recognition events, scholarships to extended
learning activities, mileage for visiting children placed in rural areas, etc.


Kids Being Kids Program

 through which the volunteer advocates may request items on behalf of the children they represent.
Items most children can take for granted:

  • happier birthdays
  • emergency/supplemental clothing
  • participation in sports, the arts and social clubs
  • academic tutoring
  • summer camps
  • medical needs


Beds for Kids

A volunteer advocate may request a warm cozy bed and bedding for a child in need of one’s own. For 20 years, Cynthia Shafer has served as a GAL volunteer advocate. In the course of her advocacy work, she recognized that caring people are sometimes willing to take in a vulnerable child, but they lack the resources to provide a bed.  So in 2001, Cynthia founded the Bedz for Kidz Program on behalf of the Guardian ad Litem Program.  She and her husband have driven close to 120,000 miles throughout our five-county region while delivering and assembling over 2300 beds.
 


If you have questions about these ongoing needs,
please call 239-533-1435.

TESTIMONIALS

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

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Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Southwest Florida

TESTIMONIALS

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

View all

 
Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Southwest Florida

Testimonials

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

Dear Darlene, Thank you for sending my child the very generous gift certificates. She is so THRILLED and I know will use them wisely. This is my first case a guardian and I think it's hard on her to have a stranger come to her and say "I'm your new best friend." She is 16 and of course clothes are important to her - and now you have made me a hero! You do wonderful things for children. Thank you!

I love the Runaway Poet,  I finished it in two days and really enjoyed it. I didn’t figure out everything till near the end. Thanks for your commitment to children and allowing me to escape in a great runaway poet for a weekend.

I just wanted to say thank you so much for the gift cards for my granddaughter. With these gift cards I was able to purchase rain boots, dress and tennis shoes for my grandchild. If not for you it would have taken me at least 2 - 3 months to buy these things so much again THANK YOU!

Dear Voices for Kids, I want to thank you for your help in getting my granddaughter the clothing and things she needed. It truly means a lot to have people that care so much. It has helped us so much!

Thank you so much for the gift cards for the boys. It really made them happy to be able to get what they needed for school. 

Thank you so much for our bed and bed sheets. We no longer have to sleep on the floor and they are so pretty. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for them smile 

TESTIMONIALS

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

View all

 
Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Southwest Florida

TESTIMONIALS

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

View all

 
Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Southwest Florida

Your request has been submitted into the loading system. If you do not receive another email within 3 business days indicating that it is being processed or it is currently under review, then it was not received correctly and must be submitted again. Thank you.

TESTIMONIALS

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

View all

 
Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Southwest Florida

TESTIMONIALS

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

View all

 
Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Southwest Florida

Helpful Information

Watch for Helpful Information web links to expand as suggestions from volunteers come in.
Email helpful web links, with the category and description to Program@voicesforkids.org.

TESTIMONIALS

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

View all

 
Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Southwest Florida

By the Numbers

Voices for Kids
Fact Sheet1


Voices for Kids of Southwest Florida is a non-profit agency supporting Florida’s 20th Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program-Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Guardian ad Litem Program supports volunteers who advocate for abused, neglected and abandoned children in court, the child welfare system and the community.

Our mission is to ensure every abused, neglected, and abandoned child in Southwest Florida has a Guardian ad Litem volunteer and has available financial assistance and resources for health, educational and social needs.

Number of children in the child welfare system : 1,446

Number of children who have a Guardian ad Litem: 866  (60%)

Number of children who need a Guardian ad Litem: 600  (40%)

Some facts about the children in the Guardian ad Litem Program:

Race/Ethnicity  
Caucasian: 64%
African-American: 15%
Hispanic/Latino: 11%
Other: 10%
Age  
0-5: 49%
6-12: 33%
13-18: 18%
Gender  
Female: 49%
Male: 51%
 
Guardian ad Litems: 447  
Female: 356 (74%)
Male: 125 (26%)
Average age: 60

1 Data is as of 5/31/13.
2 All facts pertain to Florida’s 20th Judicial Circuit unless otherwise noted.

TESTIMONIALS

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

View all

 
Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Southwest Florida

Ways to Give

For 30 years, Guardian Ad Litem Foundation, 20th Judicial Circuit Inc., has raised money in support of our region’s most vulnerable children, those who have been abused, neglected and abandoned.

You may make a gift by credit card by clicking the DONATE button or by calling  239-533-1435.

If you wish to designate your gift for a specific purpose, please make a notation so we can be sure we carry out your wishes.

INDIVIDUAL DONATIONS

The simplest and most popular of all charitable donations is a gift of cash. You may mail your check to Guardian ad Litem Foundation-20, 1700 Monroe Street, Fort Myers, FL 33901. Please be sure to include a note letting us know whom to thank.

Memorial/Tribute

A Memorial or Tribute gift is a special way to honor someone in your life, to celebrate a special occasion or to remember a loved one who is no longer with you. A letter is sent to the honoree or relative to inform them of this special gift.

Wills

Many donors find it convenient to make gifts through a bequest which is simply a gift made through a will.

LIFE INSURANCE

By naming Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Southwest Florida as beneficiary and/or assigning ownership of the policy to Guardian Ad Litem Foundation, you can receive a valuable income tax deduction. Policies that are no longer needed – one purchased to provide protection for dependent children who are now grown or as part of a business partnership – can provide an excellent giving opportunity.

REAL ESTATE GIFTS

Donate primary residences, vacation homes, undeveloped land or commercial property. If the property has been owned for more than one year, you may be entitled to a charitable deduction equal to the full fair market value of the property.

STOCKS AND PUBLICLY TRADED SECURITIES

A gift of stocks, bonds and mutual funds entitles the donor to a tax deduction for the market value of the donated stock. Donating stocks that have increased in value can provide greater tax advantages than cash. Call 239-533-1451 for more information.

 

TESTIMONIALS

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

View all

 
Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Southwest Florida

Attorneys

AttorneyLicensed Florida attorneys are often needed to represent the expressed wishes of abused,
neglected and abandoned children facing
special legal situations.

Benefits to Pro Bono Attorneys
helping children are many!

  • Free CLE credit and  after completing online training provided by the Program
  • Valuable court and trial experience
  • Ensuring a child’s future, in only 8-10 hours monthly

Three Ways to Help

Any licensed Florida attorney can volunteer as:

Attorney Guardian ad Litem (Attorney-GAL)

Pro bono attorney provides both personal and legal advocacy, supported by Program staff. No attorney-client relationship—the Attorney Guardian ad Litem advocates for the child’s best interest as the Programs’ certified representative. Online training (8-hours) is provided.

Attorney ad Litem (AAL)

Pro bono attorney is directly appointed by the Court to represent children in a traditional attorney-client relationship, representing the child. Attorneys with specific areas of expertise are often needed to provide specific legal advocacy for a child.

Conflict Guardian ad Litem (Independent GAL)

Court appoints a volunteer attorney where the Guardian ad Litem Program has a conflict in  accepting the appointment, to be the Guardian ad Litem representing the child’s best interest.

 

TESTIMONIALS

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

View all

 
Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Southwest Florida

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

Become a GAL Volunteer Advocate

Guardian ad Litem volunteer advocates are everyday citizens trained and court certified to represent the best interests of abused, neglected, and abandoned children in court, school, the child welfare system and the community. Each volunteer is trained, court-appointed through the Program, and supported by staff. (Learn more...)  

Volunteer for the Foundation Special Events

The Foundation often needs volunteers to help with planning and conducting special events aimed at raising funds to benefit our region’s abused and neglected children. If you would like to add your name to our Special Event Volunteer list, please contact us by clicking on the VOLUNTEER button below or call Diane at 239-533-1435.  Someone will call you to follow-up.

Administrative Assistance

There are three main administrative areas for which the Foundation could use volunteers:  1) donor database support; 2) appeal mailings; 3) grant writing.  If any of these areas interest you, please contact us by clicking on the VOLUNTEER button below or call Diane at 239-533-1435

Foundation Board of Directors

We are always open to considering new members with a commitment to the Guardian ad Litem Program’s mission. We strive to maintain a balance of members who represent each of the 20th Judicial Circuit’s five counties, a variety of expertise (such as marketing, public relations, legal, finance, management, fund-raising, event planning and business ownership), and reflect our region’s ethnic and racial diversity.  If you would like to explore serving on the Board, please contact us by clicking on the VOLUNTEER button below or call Diane at 239-533-1435.

TESTIMONIALS

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

View all

 
Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Southwest Florida

GAL Volunteer Advocates

What is a Guardian ad Litem VOLUNTEER ADVOCATE?

Guardian ad Litem volunteer advocates are everyday citizens trained by the Guardian ad Litem Program and certified by the court to represent the best interests of abused, neglected, and abandoned children. Once volunteers complete 30 hours of training, they are certified by the court and paired with a GAL Attorney and Case Supervisor to represent children until a safe and permanent home can be achieved.

The role of the volunteer advocate:

• MONITOR the progress of the case until a safe permanent home is achieved
• VISIT the child at least once a month to be sure he/she is safe
• ASSESS the service needs and opinions of the child
• COLLECT information from key people in the child’s life, e.g., extended
        family, caregivers, teachers, etc. to help guide recommendations
• MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS to the court and case management providers
        regarding the best interests of the child

Who can volunteer?   Anyone who cares about the well-being of children and meets the following criteria:

• Florida Resident
• At least 21-year-old with common sense and good judgment
• Provide favorable references and consent to a background check.
• Has computer access and basic user skills
• Complete the screening and training process

Time Required?    Requires 8-10 volunteer hours monthly for one year.  Volunteers usually can schedule the monthly visit to the child, phone calls and emails to key individuals according to the individual volunteer’s work and leisure schedule.  Only participation in court hearings must occur according to a schedule determined by the court.

What are the rewards?

• Knowing you are making a significant difference in a child’s life.
• Contributing to the health and stability of your community.
• Meeting new people with similar interests and values.
• Gaining valuable experience and building skills.

ATTEND AN ORIENTATION TO LEARN MORE DETAILS ABOUT HOW YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE TO THE WELFARE OF OUR REGION’S MOST VULNERABLE CHILDREN!



TESTIMONIALS

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

View all

 
Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Southwest Florida

EXISTING GUARDIANS

Every child wants a normal childhood—now! How does that happen for abandoned children, or children who have been abused or neglected? kids being kids

Guardian ad Litem volunteers, who know the child’s individual needs well, can make a request to Voices for Kids for what a child needs. The needs include, but are not limited to: a warm, cozy bed; emergency/supplemental clothing; participation in the arts, sports, social clubs; tutoring; summer camps; happier birthdays; anything that will help the child have a sense of normalcy and “fit in”.

VFK reviews the request and funds it, if the need cannot be fulfilled in any other way.

Help Voices for Kids give our region’s foster children a chance at a normal childhood.

Your help for Southwest Florida’s children is needed NOW!

Here are some helpful documents for our existing guardians.

TESTIMONIALS

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

View all

 
Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Southwest Florida

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Debra Newell
President
Owner, Newell Lawncare & Property Maint.

Bruce L. Greenberg
Vice President
CEO - Retired, Family & Children's Center, Inc.

Peter Knize
Secretary
Trust Officer - Investors Security Trust

Megan Marquardt
Treasurer
Private Wealth Advisor/Trust
Finemark National Bank & Trust

HONORARY BOARD MEMBERS

Cynthia Shafer
Realtor / Lahaina Realty Inc.
 
Kelly L. Fayer
President, Kelly L. Fayer, P.A.

 

EX-OFFICIO MEMBERS

Holly Rodriguez, 20th Circuit Director
Guardian Ad Litem Program
1700 Monroe St.
Fort Myers, FL 33901
GAL: 239-533-KIDS (5437)
Holly.Rodriguez@gal.fl.gov

Roxanne Wendling, Executive Director
GAL Foundation – 20th Circuit
1700 Monroe St.
Fort Myers, FL 33901
GAL: 239-533-1435
rwendling@galfoundation20.org

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Richard Hoagland
VP Gov. Sales - Retired
Transwall Office Systems, Inc.

Ira Kushnir
Retired Pediatric Dentist
Ira N. Kushnir, D.D.S., Inc.

Gary L. Lederer
Pres. Fire Safety – Retired
Honeywell International, Inc.

Leah Lehnert
Law Studies Teacher
Bishop Verot High School

Suzanne McCormick
GAL Vol. Advocate
Charlotte County

Alexander Miller
Retired
CEO Daymon Worldwide

J. Donald Oldham
Retired
IBM Corporation

Michael-Anthony Pica
Chief Assistant Statewide Prosecutor
State of Florida Attorney General

Shannon Puopolo
Vice President
Attorney, Henderson Franklin Attorney

Dennis Sanders
Founder/Owner
PROXY, LLC

 

 

TESTIMONIALS

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

View all

 
Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Southwest Florida

GAL Foundation

Diane Nyman
Foundation Program Assistant
239-533-1435
 
Roxanne Dyer
Foundation Executive Director
239-533-1451
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Volunteer Recruiters

Donna Kordek
Collier County Volunteer Recruiter
239-776-4734
 
Mandy-Ellen Goldenberg
Lee, Hendry, Glades Volunteer Recruiter
239-823-9926

GAL Program Locations

1. Lee County

Physical & Mailing Address

1700 Monroe St.
Fort Myers, FL 33901

Phone

(239) 533-5437
(239) 337-1380 (fax)

2. Collier County

Physical & Mailing Address

3315 Tamiami Trail East–6th Floor
Collier County Courthouse
Naples, FL 34112-4807

Phone

(239) 252-8432
(239) 252-2743 (fax)

3. Charlotte County

Physical & Mailing Address

21450 Gibralter Dr.
Port Charlotte, FL 33952

Phone

(941) 613-3233
(941) 627-1490 (fax)

4. Hendry County

Physical & Mailing Address

Hendry County Courthouse
3nd Floor
25 East Hickpoochee Avenue
LaBelle, FL 33935

Phone

(863) 674-4190
(863) 674-4189 (fax)

 

 

 

TESTIMONIALS

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

View all

 
Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Southwest Florida

Guardian Ad Litem Foundation (GAL) 20th Judicial Circuit is a non-profit agency supporting Florida's 20th Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program-Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. Our mission is to raise funds so: 1) every abused, neglected or abandoned child in Southwest Florida may be paired with a GAL volunteer advocate whose role is to represent the best interests of the child until a safe, permanent placement can be achieved; and 2) so every GAL volunteer may access financial assistance and resources on behalf of the child and not provided by any other source.

TESTIMONIALS

My kids' caretaker (their grandmother) and I want to thank you so much for the generous gift certificates you've given her for her grandkids clothes. They came to her home with little more than the clothes on their backs and she was headed today to get them clothes to surprise them when they get home from school! You are wonderful!!!!!!

View all