The Florida Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Foundation is pleased to announce a gift of $12,000 from Sunshine Health, dedicated to training events for volunteer child advocates and honoring high-achieving foster youth.
The Foundation provides advocacy and awareness to the Guardian ad Litem Program, which represents abused, abandoned and neglected children in dependency court. Sunshine Health provides care for the physical and behavioral health needs of children in the system, and has long trained GAL volunteers on how best to advocate for their health needs.
“They’re huge supporters of children in care,” says Foundation CEO Sonia Valladares. “They’ve stepped up time and again.”
She is especially grateful for Sunshine Health’s gift at a time when non-profits are retrenching. The need for good volunteer training is a constant, she says, and Sunshine Health has partnered with GAL for years. For instance, GAL’s 20 local programs serve different populations statewide. In some areas, volunteers need to know more about human trafficking; in others, more about substance abuse treatment. Sunshine Health tailors its presentations accordingly.
“Improving the well-being of children in the state’s child welfare system is a community effort,” says Neiko Shea, Sunshine Health’s Vice President of Child Welfare Programs and a GAL Foundation board member.
Sunshine Health’s approach brings together healthcare and child welfare providers, community-based care agencies, and foster, adoptive and biological parents to create a care plan for each child.
“Their inclusive approach matches ours,” said GAL Executive Director Alan Abramowitz. “It’s been an incredible partnership, and we’re grateful they value it as much as we do.”
Part of the gift will go to support the upcoming Triumph Awards – which include scholarship money and laptop computers – to high-achieving youths represented by GAL. The virtual ceremony, soon to be announced, will include a panel discussion with last year’s winners.
“We are so proud of these young people – and of the volunteers and mentors who have helped them succeed,” Shea says. “We are committed to their success.”
To learn more about the Guardian ad Litem Foundation, visit www.flgal.org or call 1-850-922-7213.