My Blog List

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Volunteer Work

A lady in my book club volunteers as a Guardian Ad Litem here in Florence County. We've been talking about it off and on for months now, and I finally decided to take the plunge and have her put me in touch with the program director. It looks like I'm going to become a GAL this summer!

A Guardian Ad Litem is an advocate for children who have been abused or neglected and are in the custody of the state. Most are in temporary foster homes until their birth family either get it together so they can reclaim them, or else a permanent adoptive home can be found. In the state of South Carolina, minors are not present at court hearings that determine their fate, and a GAL can be there to testify on their behalf so that the judge can take their wishes into account. Serving as a volunteer means meeting with the child (or children, if it's a sibling group) at least once a month, writing a monthly report on their welfare, and writing a report and appearing in court whenever a hearing is scheduled. Beyond those basics, you can be as involved as you want to be and have time for. There will be 30 hours of training as a prerequisite which will start in July.

I'm super excited about this! I have an Associate's degree in Human Services and have always had a strong interest in social welfare. I've been looking for an opportunity to volunteer some time to a worthy cause, and I would love it if I could eventually find a new (paid) job in the field of Human Services. This opportunity to become a GAL will not only be a wonderful way to volunteer, but will give me new skills, new experiences, and new contacts. A win-win all around.

Here's a link to the program is anyone is interested in reading more about it:

http://scgal.org/state/index.html


21 comments:

  1. That is a totally win win volunteer spot for you, the children and a possible career. We have a similar program in California called CASA and I have long admired the volunteers. You go girl!

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    1. Thank you, Terra! I'm looking forward to it.

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  2. I hope it all goes well Jennifer.x

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  3. What a great volunteer job for you. I know you'll be good at it, and you'll help the children so much. I couldn't be a guardian. I'd encourage the kids to stick it to the man and revolt and all sorts of naughty things.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Haha! "Stick it to the man" made me laugh.

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    2. I've seen Captain Fantastic twice.

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  4. I can only second what the others have been writing. You'll do great; I only hope your work schedule won't clash too much with the training and court hearings etc., and of course that what you'll learn of and about the child (or children) you will work with won't affect you too badly. You are such a kind and strong person, they could not wish for a better GAL!

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    1. Thank you Meike. I've already talked to my boss about the 30 hours of training I have to complete. She very kindly offered to schedule around the classes so that won't be a problem, and as long as I have fair notice of court dates they won't be a problem, either.

      I once had a job at a shelter for victims of domestic violence and their children. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I was able to keep a certain emotional distance once I left work for the day. I think I will be alright. :)

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  5. What a kind thing to do, I hope it goes well for you.

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  6. Good for you Jennifer. Volunteering will bring its own rewards.

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    1. I feel like it's something I need to do in my life, if that makes sense. I want to feel like I make a small difference in the world for good.

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  7. That's a great thing to do. Be careful of burnout and getting emotionally attached.

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  8. That sounds like a really worthwhile thing to do. I wish you well with it.

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  9. This could be a new beginning for you, career wise and if it's not it doesn't matter because it's just a good thing to do.

    Be sure to update us if you can

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  10. Being a volunteer where you can affect lives will give you so much more than you ever expected. Being one myself, I can tell you that what you will experience will be very fulfilling and will change you in so many ways. It must be the right fit, but with your background, it sounds like you will be perfect in this role, Jennifer. Best of luck to you.

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  11. What a great idea! Bravo for taking that step! Hopefully it will lead to new contacts and opportunities.

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  12. I shall avoid the temptation to joke that I thought you already were a gal! Instead I shall say that I applaud you for this move. As well as helping out needy children you will be enriching your own life. Giving is more satisfying than taking.

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  13. I sent this link to my daughter. She is an elementary school teacher in Cleveland and is working on her masters' in social work. I don't know if Ohio has this but must have something similar that she would be interested in. It sounds wonderful, for all involved. Good luck!

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  14. What a great path has been opening for you. Besides helping others this might help you with some new contacts.
    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

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