Judge Gilbert Smith Thanks GAL Volunteers for their Service

Over 100 GAL volunteers and program staff attended our annual Guardian ad Litem Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon on March 25th.

Judge Gilbert Smith, who is currently presiding over Dependency Court in Manatee County, addressed the volunteers and expressed his sincere appreciation for their advocacy work in the courtroom and out in the community.

A Guardian ad Litem volunteer can make a vital difference in the life of a child who has been removed from his home and placed in temporary living arrangements. On average, it takes the courts 18 months to determine that child’s future. Children living in a constant state of uncertainty benefit greatly from having an advocate and are:
– 52 % less likely to skip a day of school and 37 % less likely to skip a class.
– 59% more likely to earn better grades.
– 55% more likely to enroll in post-secondary education.
– 50% less likely to re-enter foster care.
– 30% more likely to participate in sports or extracurricular activities
– 30% more likely to have a leadership role.
– Experiencing 33% fewer placements
– Likely to receive more services
– Known to have higher levels of hope

If you have been curious about serving as a Guardian ad Litem Volunteer you can learn more and connect with the program recruiter here: https://12gal.com/volunteer

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