Sunday, May 9 is Mother’s Day. For most of us, it’s a day to honor, celebrate, and thank our Moms for their unconditional love, sacrifices, guidance, and patience. It’s a time to acknowledge that, were it not for them, we might have turned out differently. We might not know right from wrong or good from bad, or fully appreciate the significance of love, friendships, and family.
Regrettably, for many children who are victims of child abuse and neglect, Mother’s Day is anything but a reason to celebrate. More often, it’s a day that prompts painful memories and never-ending “what ifs.” It’s a day that brings them face to face with the same haunting question…why did Mom choose drugs/alcohol or an abusive husband/paramour over me?
Right now, in Hernando County, over 400 children are involved with the child welfare and judicial systems. Most of these children are younger than five years of age. Due to circumstances beyond their control, they’re living with relatives or willing strangers.
But, there is hope. The Guardian ad Litem Program is a state and county-funded organization that relies on trained volunteers to help these children cope with their difficult and challenging circumstances. Under the supervision of a human services professional and attorney, the volunteer advocates for the child’s best interests in court. They assist their child through the ups and downs of the process and make sure no one forgets that
behind that case number is a young, vulnerable child who longs for a stable, loving home.
This year, as you celebrate Mother’s Day, please consider those less fortunate. In honor of your Mom and all the gifts, she gave you, decide to make a lasting difference in the life of a child. Become a Guardian ad Litem Volunteer.
For more information about upcoming training, please contact Amarilys Ortega at 352-817- 1546 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org . You can also visit us on our website at www.guardianadlitem.org
By Marcia Hilty, Circuit Director, 5th Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program