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Recreational vehicle becomes safe meeting place for families in dependency

By Admin,
The Visitation Station retrofitted recreational vehicle

The Visitation Station retrofitted recreational vehicle. (Photo by MaryAnn Ketcham)

When parents and children in Florida’s Guardian ad Litem program meet about their cases, it often happens in noisy fast-food restaurants, hot parking lots, or small, impersonal offices. Voices for Children of Okeechobee and the Treasure Coast have come up with a unique alternative – a renovated recreational vehicle that can travel to meet families in dependance where they live.

The brainchild of a Voices for Children board member, the Visitation Station is a renovated 2014 25-foot motor home that provides a private, safe, secure, and climate-controlled visitation area for families in the guardian ad litem program of Florida’s 19th Judicial Circuit Court.

When children are removed from their homes due to neglect, abuse, or abandonment, the state requires that these children meet with their parents at least once a month in an attempt to repair the bond and trust that may be broken. Because the 19th Judicial Circuit covers Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, and Okeechobee counties, it made sense to create a mobile visitation space.

The motor home’s sleeping area was converted to a meeting area, and the vehicle’s TV, bathroom, closet, sink, stove, microwave oven, and generator all will be comfortable amenities for the parents and children in the program.

Thousands Answer Voices For Children’s Call To ‘BE A HERO’ At ST. Lucie Mets Game

By Admin,

Kip Lyman, YourNews contributorPublished 6:02 p.m. ET May 16, 2018

PORT ST LUCIE — Child victims of abuse and neglect were the big winners when a local nonprofit, Voices for Children, sponsored its first “Be a Hero” night at First Data Field on April 28.

While the St. Lucie Mets players donned super hero jerseys and “Spidey” himself roamed the stands entertaining kids of all ages, the robust crowd was treated to a $1 raffle and a post-game fireworks display. More than $11,000 was raised to support the children represented by the area’s Guardian ad Litem program.


The GAL advocates on behalf of children currently under court supervision, many of whom are in

foster care. Hundreds of children, many decked out in super hero costumes and t-shirts, posed for pictures with “Spidey” making the evening memorable for the families at the game, which enjoyed a record paid attendance of 5,527.

“We had three objectives,” said Voices for Children president Bob Perry. “Give as many kids as possible a terrific, fun night; increase community awareness of the exceptional work being done by the GAL staff and volunteer child advocates; and raise funds to provide for the everyday needs of these children to whom life has not always been kind.”

Festivities also featured the singing of our national anthem by Guardian ad Litem senior attorney Gary Bokas, and the throwing of the ceremonial first pitch by one of the children represented by the GALprogram. “The Mets organization was wonderful to work with and did all they could to help make this a night that will benefit children in need for a long time to come,” Perry said.



From left are Paul Nigro, GAL Program Circuit Director; Bob Perry, President, Voices for Children; and Traer Van Allen, General Manager, St. Lucie Mets, at the game on ‘Be a Hero’ night. The event raised more than $11,000 for the Guardian ad Litem program. (Photo: CONTRIBUTED BY ST. LUCIE METS)



Currently, 105 of the 803 children assigned to the circuit’s GAL program are still in need of a volunteer advocate.

For more information visit the 19th Judicial Circuit’s Facebook page or its nonprofit’s website,

‘The Ultimate Tailgate Party’ is ultimate fundraiser for Voices for Children

By Admin,

The Philadelphia Eagles weren’t the only winners on Super Bowl Sunday as a relatively young nonprofit called Voices for Children held its first major fundraiser, dubbed “The Ultimate Tailgate Party,” at the Pelican Yacht Club prior to the big game.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the area’s Guardian ad Litem program, which advocates for children who have been removed from their home to a safer environment because of abuse, neglect or abandonment.

While many of the 150 assembled guests reconnected with their own inner child by playing a wide assortment of games and earning chances for door prizes, others enjoyed tailgate-themed cuisine, an open bar, NFL Trivia, live pre-game streaming and a photo booth until the whistle blew signaling the real start of festivities.

(Fort Pierce Mayor Linda Hudson, center, with two Miami Dolphin cheerleaders.)

Led by Miami Dolphin Cheerleaders and following an impassioned presentation by Edna Marie Howard, who as an at-risk youth was helped immeasurably by her “GAL,” and who is now a child advocate herself, the live auction with items as diverse as a hog hunt and kiteboarding lessons held something of interest for everyone.

“We wanted to create something uniquely fun for our donors, a place to play in a casual atmosphere while winning chances – for free – at a host of prizes,” said event chair Kip Lyman. “We felt it important to not just to raise money, but to give back as well. We treasure our donors.”

“This was a first-class affair. We rarely stay to the end of these things, but we were having such a good time,” said donor Maureen Melvin.

Ending with a raffle drawing for a new Ford Focus sponsored by Sunrise Ford, and buoyed by over 30 corporate and individual sponsors, the event exceeded all expectations as net proceeds almost tripled those raised over the preceding 12 months.

My Reflections on our Five Year Anniversary

By Admin,

Jim Pawlak
Immediate Past President & Founding Board Member
January, 2018

It seems my life goes through a major life changing event every five to seven years and 2013 was no exception. Out of the blue, I found myself in a position imposed on me by the great unknown. Once again, I was alone, unsure of the direction life was taking me. All the stages of grief manifested themselves; shock and denial, pain and guilt, anger and bargaining, depression, reflection, loneliness, the upward turn, reconstruction and working through, then finally acceptance and hope.

When I eventually picked myself up from the puddle of tears on the floor, I asked myself, “Well, what now?” I knew I had to find something to bring back the meaning and purpose of my life. But what? I threw myself into preserving my personal sanity and financial security, creating a living environment that was new and of my own choosing, correcting the mistakes of the past while preserving the memories of what was good. But when that was done, it was still, “Well that’s done, now what?” Friends and family supported me throughout the process with encouragement and suggestions. The most often recommendation was volunteering. I looked at various opportunities but nothing really felt like the right fit. Then one day I remembered how my childhood and life was affected and influenced by the death of both my parents at an early age and all the trauma and drama that ensued. Where was home? Who was listening to me? Who to confide in? Who will help me? Right in front of me was the answer, the Guardian ad Litem Program.

As a young man, I had often said I would do something for children with experiences similar to mine but it never happened as I pursued my career. I confess, I originally looked at the GAL program in Palm Beach County but for some reason I was drawn to the program closer to home. I filled out an on-line application and a short while later Paula Kerr called me in for an interview. After only a few minutes with her I knew I had found a new home and purpose. Going through the training it became even more obvious to me that my own personal experiences were so in line with the GAL mission and goals. I could make a difference in the life of a child who was in many ways like the five year old me.

One early Spring day I suggested to Paula that we secure a table at the local Treasure Coast Pride Celebration. She and I made the arrangements and showed up at the Port St. Lucie Civic Center on a blistering hot April morning. We set up our little folding table and 2 lawn chairs while others put up their custom tents, banners and signs. We looked a bit home made but our message was a good fit and we meet many people. Some joined our ranks and went on to become stellar Guardians. While we melted in the noonday sun, Paula and I started talking about recruitment. She told me there was only a tiny budget for it and that a few years ago someone had tried to start a non-profit to support the GALP. Another bell went off in my sweltering head., “That’s what I did in my career at the City University of New York, let’s do it”. Within a few short weeks we were meeting with Patty Walker, interim Circuit Director, who got the ball rolling. Kip Lyman was there doting every “I” and crossing every “T”. Barry Scanlon was there securing a web domain and setting up bank accounts. The late Bette Hughes and the late Jackie Hull were there writing mission statements and operating documents. Gail Griffith was there sharing all her contacts. Valaree Huwe was there setting up the accounting books. and records. We resurrected the old non-profit corporation, elected a board, approved a mission statement and goals and objectives. We bankrolled, as best we could by ourselves, the newly named Voices For Children of Okeechobee and The Treasure Coast, Inc. and sent out the birth announcements.

Starting a non-profit is hard work and we all soon found out just how hard. Obtaining our 501(c)3 status from the IRS was a daunting, expensive and lengthy task.

Voices immediately was tasked with running the Holiday Gift drive. The support of the community was outstanding. I remember the room filled to overflowing with toys for our kids.

Thanks to the public relations efforts of media maven Jackie Holfelder we were on the six o’clock news and a full page article appeared in The Palm Beach Post. The rest is history…… a very good history. School supplies, holiday turkeys, beds, bikes, air conditioners and many other needs fulfilled soon followed.

Voices looked for every opportunity we could find to speak and present our message. I appeared at a Fort Pierce breakfast meeting and gave my elevator speech to a small group of local business men and women. Steve Hoskins, of Hoskins Turco, Llyod & Llyod followed me down the stairs as I left, and thus began the start of a great relationship with one of our biggest supporters. Over the last five years, Voices has never turned down a request for help from our Child Advocacy Managers or from our dedicated Guardians, thanks to the generosity of our community of supporters.

The Board went through changes and comings and goings. Alex Scanlon brought a fresh young perspective. Sanda Gerhki brought in TD Bank. Toyan Hall Scott brought in BB&T Bank. Mark Godwin broadened our contact base within the Juvenile Justice System. The great Vern Melvin arrived on the scene and held us all together. He single handily arranged for the Jury Duty Donations Voices receives monthly from each county, accounting for one of our greatest sources of funding. So many others have stepped up to help so many times, I must personally thank; Paul Nigro, Roberta Katz, Camille Frazier, Gary Bokas, Nicole Hughes and everyone of our staff at the GALP offices, our friends at Thrivent Financial, my dear friend Bonnie Becker of FSBI Realty, Linda Hartley-Urban of The Shoppes at Harbour Bay Plaza, my Hobe Sound Neighbors and The Women’s Club of The Retreat at Seabranch, Kathleen Charboneau and The Women’s Golf Association at Meadowood Golf & Tennis Club. Robin Singerman Delgado for literally carrying 300 chairs in and out of her truck for our “All You Need Is Love” Fashion Show, Al and Ingrid Hazen, who are always at the ready to do whatever is required. And yes, even my dearest, loving Paul Kelly of Black Stage Design who has graciously designed our logo and other graphics and who has remained a constant source of support and encouragement. In reality, I may never have found the GALP and Voices without him. Oh, the mysterious ways of the Lord…..We’re good, Paul.

A new day dawned for Voices when I realized I had taken it as far as I could. With the appointment of Bob Perry as our new President, everything I had ever hoped Voices could be is becoming a reality. Bob has infused new life into the Board with the addition of Gary Tenpas , Howard Rothman, CPA, Terrance Channon and Donna Demarchi, Esq. I am honored to work along side all of them. We will take Voices to new heights in pursuit of our goal and mission to ensure a safe, permanent home for all the children we represent. We will also continue our support of the GALP in recruitment, retention and recognition.

Great things are on the horizon. Kip Lyman is back with a vengeance chairing our first annual gala, “The Ultimate Tailgate Party”. She has broadened our corporate support with a host of new sponsors who look like they are in it for the long haul. We have a new invigorated presence on-line with social media and a new website. Our financial reporting is par excellence!

Five years is a long time for any charity to survive. I am so proud and honored to know all of you. I thank you for your trust in me, your time, your dedication, your contributions, your guidance and wisdom, your creativity and spirit. I never imagined this is where I would be five years ago. You have all made the journey a pleasure and now I know, I’m home.

Most sincerely,
Jim Pawlak

Super Bowl fundraiser supports nonprofit that keeps abused children from being sidelined

By Admin,

VERO BEACH – Knowing your teammate has your back – it’s essential to winning championships. But imagine how life-altering that kind of security can be for an abused child caught in a maze of bureaucracy more crushing than any defensive line.

Voices for Children is the team behind them, every step of the way. The nonprofit assists the Guardian ad Litem (GAL) program, whose volunteers advocate for the safety of abandoned, neglected and abused children in the court system.

So it’s only appropriate that these key players will be tying their first-ever fundraiser to the Super Bowl: the inaugural Voices For Children Ultimate Tailgate Party.

Featuring the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders, and some equally dazzling auction and raffle items, organizers hope the event will be a fun way to rally people around the very serious work they do.

Many needs

Voices for Children helps cover children’s expenses not met by the state funded GAL program in Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin and Okeechobee counties.

Indian River County, alone, has approximately 195 children in the court system, according to Paul Nigro, GAL’s 19th District Director. “About 85 percent have guardians. Our goal is 100 percent. We want every child to have a volunteer.”

But these children – most of them removed from their homes and placed in foster care – have needs above and beyond advocates in the courtroom.

The case of two sisters in Indian River County helped Nigro see the value of the work by Voices for Children, first-hand.

The sisters had been reunited with their mother after she made court-ordered life changes. But with the girls out of school for the summer, she couldn’t care for them while working. Nor could she afford day care or summer camp.

Voices For Children worked with Boys & Girls Club of Indian River County to send both sisters to camp and thus, played a key role in helping the family stay together.

Stretching dollars

Vero resident Patty Walker has been with GAL for 25 years and now works in training and development. “Each (Florida) circuit has a nonprofit for things like summer camp and school activities that are not covered if a child is in foster care,” she said.

Voices For Children funds also go toward volunteer recruitment: the charity has no paid staff. “Almost 90 cents of every dollar raised goes to the charity. We don’t even maintain office space,” said board president Bob Perry.

Guardian Kip Lyman brought the idea for the Tailgate Party to Perry and he was immediately receptive.

“She came with a phenomenal reputation,” he said. “She’s been a very hard-working conscientious and highly effective GAL for many years with tough cases. If her passion is there (about creating a fundraiser) I wasn’t going to get between her and her objective!”

Lyman and Perry teamed with Tommie McDermid of Epic Events by TJ to organize the festivities.


A number of Indian River County business are supporting the event including nine restaurants packaged into a “A Taste of Vero” auction item. According to Lyman, the Oceola Bistro, Waldo’s, the Lemon Tree, American Icon Brewery, Kelly’s Pub, Mulligan’s Beach House, Green Marlin and Marsh Landing in Fellsmere have all donated gift certificates.

For those whose appetites lean more toward adventure, a tandem skydive from Skydive Sebastian is offered as part of the “Florida Bucket List” auction item.

One of the most unique offerings is a puppy. The highest bidder gets a new member of the family, along with one-year’s veterinary care up to $1,000, one year of pet health insurance, $420 worth of food, a crate, bedding, leash and/or harness, sponsored by Dr. Chuck Stewart of Live Oak Animal Hospital on Old Dixie Highway in Vero.

He’ll act as puppy wrangler during the auction and will present the pup to its new family when the bidding ends.

There will also be a raffle, with the big-ticket winner going home with a brand-new Ford Focus from Sunrise Ford of Fort Pierce.


The Miami Dolphin Cheerleaders will be there to rev up the party, and there will be a game room with unlimited free play, a DJ, a photo booth, two open bars and authentic tailgate food. Pre-game broadcasts will play on an ultra-HD big screen TV, which will double as an auction item.

Walker said, “Voices For Children is becoming a known fundraising organization. We want people to realize the impact they make for kids.”

Most crucially, children with GAL volunteers spend less time in foster care and are more likely to find a permanent home and to be adopted.

“Maybe we can’t change the world,” Perry says, “but we all can change the world of one person.”

The Voices for Children Ultimate Tailgate Party will take place Feb. 4, Super Bowl Sunday, at Pelican Yacht Club in Fort Pierce from 1-5 p.m., wrapping up in plenty of time for Super Bowl kickoff.

Are You Ready for the Ultimate Tailgate Party on February 4? We Still Need Your Help.

By Admin,

The Ultimate Super Bowl Tailgate – GAL Kip Lyman is busy planning our fundraising gala at the Pelican Yacht Club on the afternoon of next year’s February 4th Super Bowl. It is expected that this will become our first-ever, signature, annual event!

The Ultimate Tailgate Party has gathered amazing auction items, but is still looking for door prizes. We are hoping to represent all four counties equally in door prizes, giving guests an opportunity to win gift certificates to restaurants and local businesses in the four counties. So as you’re out through the holidays, keep an eye out for restaurants, salons, stores, bakeries, or any other type of business that would provide gift certificates for this event. Any donations are 100% tax deductible to the donor! If you have any questions, please text or call Kip Lyman, event chair at 561-452-6638. You may mail or drop off gift certificates at the GAL offices anytime between now and January 10th.

19th Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program is the Big Winner at The Ultimate Tailgate Party

By Admin,

February 4, 2018 is going to be a big day in every way: a “big game”, a big premiere fundraiser presented by Voices for Children of Okeechobee & the Treasure Coast (VOTC) and a big win for the children and volunteers of the 19th Circuit Guardian ad Litem (GAL) program.

VOTC is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit that raises funds to support the GAL program, and The Ultimate Tailgate Party is set to score big for those who advocate for the best interests of children who are alleged to be abused, neglected, or abandoned and who are under court proceedings.

One hundred-percent of the event’s profits will be used to train and retain Guardian ad Litem volunteers and provide for the unmet needs of the children in care.

The Ultimate Tailgate Party kicks off at 1 p.m. on Game Day, February 4, and ends at 5 p.m. – so you’ll be home in plenty of time for kick off.

The Pelican Yacht Club in Fort Pierce will be the site for the big pre-game show. Enjoy scrumptious food, amazing desserts, drinks, an exciting auction that includes a lovable puppy, incredible door prizes, a photo booth and surprise guests. Tickets are just $125 per person

You’ll have a chance to win a brand new 2017 Ford Focus from Sunrise Ford that will be raffled off that day. Tickets are $25 or five for $100 and you need not be present to win.

A dedicated committee comprised of Kip Lyman, event chair; Bob Perry, president of Voices for the Children of Okeechobee & the Treasure Coast; Jim Pawlak, immediate past-president of Voices for the Children of Okeechobee & the Treasure Coast; Terence Channon and Howard Rothman, board members; Omar Walker and Tommie McDermid have masterminded an amazing party.

Major sponsors are Dr. Ron Lyman and the Animal Emergency & Referral Center, Sunrise Ford and Print Headquarters.

You can purchase event and car raffle tickets online or contact event chair Kip Lyman at (561) 452-6638 or

Read the full story on TCPalm or download the PDF version of the story that appeared in Luminaries.

Photo identifications:
Page 2. Photo provided. Major sponsors Mary Jo Tierney, owner, and Mike Wetzel, vice president of Sunrise Fore

Cover Photo by Jackie Holfelder
(Seated) Jane Perry, Carol Matulonis, Tommie McDermid, Chris Binsbachar, Kip Lyman, Sara Davis, (standing, front row) Terence Channon, Gordon Matulonis, Dr. Ron Lyman, Fort Pierce Mayor Linda Hudson, Vern Melvin, Bob Perry, Richard Whittemore, (standing, back row) Ian Lloyd, Howard Rothman, Mike Brown, Sr., James Pawlak and Dana Binsbachar.

Voices for Children of Okeechobee and the Treasure Coast fete Guardians ad Litem

By Admin,

Jackie Holfelder Published 5:00 p.m. ET June 26, 2017 | Updated 5:00 p.m. ET June 26, 2017

Vern Melvin, director of 19th Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program, and Jim Pawlak, Voices for the Children of Okeechobee and the Treasure Coast board member(Photo: Jackie Holfelder)

Throughout the year, the generous volunteers who make up the 19th Circuit Guardian ad Litem program work long hours with little public recognition on behalf of the youngsters for whom they advocate.

But that changes at the annual appreciation event at which they are lauded and thanked for their hard work and caring concern. This year, a sumptuous luncheon was held at St. Bernadette Catholic Church in St. Lucie West, generously underwritten by the law firm of Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd.

The Appreciation Luncheon was hosted aand coordinated by Voices for Children of Okeechobee and the Treasure Coast, as it has been in past years.

To learn more about the Guardian ad Litem program, visit To learn more about Voices for Children of Okeechobee and the Treasure Coast, go to

Voices for Children of Okeechobee & the Treasure Coast Announces New Board Appointments & Expansion Efforts

By Admin,

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL, June 19, 2017 – Voices for Children of Okeechobee & the Treasure Coast (“Voices”), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that supports the 19th Judicial Circuit Guardian Ad Litem Program today announced the appointment of new board members and an expanded focus on serving the area’s 901 abused, neglected and abandoned children.

“We are excited to announce these additions to our team,” Bob Perry, President of Voices said. “We are building a dedicated board with a wealth of experience and diversity of expertise. We want to be sure our purpose is well represented and we have a strong foundation to accomplish our mission of making sure every child is represented by a Guardian Ad Litem and has their needs fulfilled.”

The new board members, effective immediately, are:

  • Gary Tenpas, Vice President
    Tenpas is a Guardian Ad Litem and brings many years of sales, fundraising event development and children’s charity support experience to Voices. His professional & non-profit experience includes roles at Diebold Nixdorf, Inc. and Bethany Christian Services. In his role at Bethany Christian Services, he founded and organized the entity’s signature event that has raised over $1,000,000 in 23 years of operation.


  • Howard Rothman, CPA, Treasurer
    Rothman has over 30 years’ experience in public accounting, financial management, auditing and internal controls. He has been an active CPA in Florida since 1983 and has contributed to the Orange Bowl Committee Volunteer Program, American Stroke Association and the American Cancer Society.


  • Jackie Pagano, Secretary
    Pagano is a Guardian Ad Litem and has been a resident of the Treasure Coast area for over 20 years. She is a state certified teacher in Elementary Education and Middle School Mathematics. During her five year teaching tenure, she was nominated for teacher of the year for three consecutive years. She is also actively involved in the Bread Ministry.


  • Terence Channon, Director
    A near life-long resident of St. Lucie County, Mr. Channon brings over 20 years of marketing and business development experience to the board. He is a Principal at NewLead, a digital marketing and technology development firm. Previous professional experience includes leadership roles at Saltmines Group, Bridgevine and Atlantic Synergy. He is also a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors.

“With the addition of our new directors, we are very confident we have the energy and skills to help Voices accomplish its goals,” Mr. Perry added. “We will use these skills to provide better support to our area’s Guardians and most importantly, the children they advocate for and represent. Our team has already been hard at work and we have already seen an increase in our donations ‘amp; needs fulfillment and have been planning more events to be more visible in the community.”

About Voices for Children of Okeechobee and Treasure Coast
Voices is a 501(c)(3) organization that supports Florida’s 19th Judicial Circuit Guardian Ad Litem Program and it’s over 350 Guardian Ad Litem volunteers. Our mission is to provide advocacy and a voice to our over 900 children – especially the almost 300 that are currently without a Guardian Ad Litem – in Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee Counties. Voices fulfills needs for these abused, abandoned and neglected children as well as provides training, recruitment and retention support for Guardians. Over 90% of its total expenses for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2016 were spent on the needs of these children and their Guardians. To learn more, make a tax-deductible donation or to get involved, please visit or contact Bob Perry, President,

Guardian ad Litem Program Receives $250,000 Grant

By Admin,

Stuart Taylor – November 7, 2016

Guardian ad Litem Program Receives $250,000 Grant

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Guardian ad Litem(GAL) Program will receive a 2016 National Court Appointed Special Advocate (National CASA) Association State Growth Grant in the amount of $250,000, according to Alan Abramowitz, executive director of the Statewide Guardian ad Litem

The purpose of the 2016 National CASA Association State Growth Grant is to support statewide initiatives to significantly increase the number of CASA/GAL volunteers who advocate for Florida’s abused and neglected children in the foster care system that have experienced abuse or neglect.

National CASA’s vision is that every abused or neglected child is given the opportunity to thrive in a safe and loving home and this investment in Florida’s program helps to move closer to that vision.

With the National CASA State Growth Grant, the Florida GAL Program will relaunch the “I am for the Child” campaign – statewide; in each of its twenty local programs; in every community; and in every city.

“Over the past nine months we have worked very closely with the National CASA Association in preparing the Florida GAL Program for the relaunch of the “I am for the Child” campaign,” said Abramowitz. The simple yet powerful statement – I am for the Child – supports the mission of the Florida GAL Program and informs everything we do. We look forward to more volunteers joining us in our efforts to be a voice for all of Florida’s abused and neglected children. We are grateful to National CASA for this incredible opportunity to share our mutual vision in a coordinated way across the state,”

“Volunteer Florida congratulates Florida Guardian ad Litem for securing this grant to serve more at-risk young people in Florida,” said Chester W. Spellman, CEO of Volunteer Florida. “We look forward to working with GAL to encourage Floridians to volunteer with GAL and demonstrate that our state is ‘For the Child.’”

In 2011, National CASA launched the “I am for the Child” campaign with print, web and social media.

Through materials and support from National CASA, states across the nation supported and promoted the “I am for the Child” campaign to grow their volunteer base and expand their services to more of America’s most vulnerable children. Florida, via its statewide program and its 20 local programs, also embraced the campaign that resulted in substantial volunteer growth.

That growth has continued over the last four years.

In fact, the Florida Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program has over 10,000 volunteers giving a voice to Florida’s abused and neglected children.

“The Florida GAL Program’s track record of growth and plan to serve more children with the “I am for the Child” campaign made them a clear choice for National CASA’s largest grant award,” said National CASA Chief Executive Officer Tara Perry. “The continuous growth of our volunteer base is a critical element of National CASA’s goal to serve every child in foster care or court system who has experienced abuse or neglect nationwide. Florida is a strong partner in our work to ensure that every one of these children has a trained and caring volunteer advocating on his or her behalf rather than going it alone in the system.”

To learn more about the Guardian ad Litem Program or to become a volunteer visit or call 1-866-341-1GAL.