Meet the GALs

Meet the GALs

In an overloaded and bureaucratic system, the Guardian ad Litem can be the one person focused solely on the child’s needs and concerns. By providing a voice for that child, a GAL can be the difference between a system that is cold and impersonal and one that helps the child flourish. For many foster children the GAL is the only person who is not being paid to care about them.

GAL Volunteers are the heart and soul of our program. We could not exist without these remarkable individuals. The time and energy they invest in the lives of deprived, hurting children makes an impact far beyond what we can imagine. Here’s what a few of them say about their work.

"Being a GAL is the most rewarding and valuable volunteer work that I have ever done. Providers and social workers may change, but the GAL is the constant person in the child's life. GALs have no agenda except to be a third party to observe and monitor the case and make the recommendations to the court that are best for the child. A GAL's work does impact a child's life!"
-Jean GAL since 2005

"It’s really a nice feeling knowing that you can help. I just can’t describe how d—n good it makes me feel, but I’ll try. One example: I feel good about seeing a grandparent who adopted her five year old grandson after we helped get him away from his father who had put bite marks over his entire body, put him in scalding bathwater and had the poor kid in the backseat in a car seat wearing sun glasses at night. It's so uplifting seeing the kids rebound and blossom because they finally feel safe. How do you put those feelings into words?"
-Bob GAL since 1999

"For me, the best part of the training was: Going into the details and specifics of our GAL responsibilities. Good trainer and style of presentation--- open to questions but kept things moving along."
-Bridget GAL. since 2010

"I was GAL Coordinator for 13 years and saw countless instances where GAL advocacy helped a child. To recount just one: a 12 year old boy was close to being institutionalized until the GAL intervened. Because she dug deeper than anyone else she had more information about the boy than anyone, and used that information to bolster her recommendations that the boy deserved a chance at community placement in a family foster home. He got that chance, spent most of his teen years in a foster home, and was never institutionalized. From cases like that I learned early on the value of volunteer advocates. "Thank God for GALs" became my mantra, and it still is."
-Mike GAL since 1995

"One thing that's occurred to me because of my involvement as a GAL is an increased awareness of just how lucky are those families (and especially children) are who experience a normal, loving, and caring, existence. I see them in public places, I see them in homes and schools, and wherever—and it makes me doubly aware and sad for those families/children who lack these things, these emotions, these protective and nurturing impulses.

'Our GAL children' deserve better, much better, and it pleases me to be part of making that happen."
-Tod GAL. since 2009

"The only reward I have received since I started as a GAL is seeing a positive change in the future for a kid, and that’s enough for me. I have been inspired by the knowledge, the professionalism, the compassion, and the support I have received from the other GALs."
-Bill GAL since 2009

"I am so grateful that Jefferson County has a Volunteer GAL division in the Juvenile Services office. I can put my Early Childhood Education training, teaching and expertise into helping the children in the community. Children have always comes first to me and shall always be put first. Representing them and being their advocate in court, being there on their side for them, and knowing that you are making good changes for the rest of their life is a reward in itself."
-Rejane GAL since 1999

"For me, the best part of the training was: The members of the class itself- including the trainer. Members were bright, articulate, came on time, worked well together and separately. I thoroughly enjoyed each Friday."
-Diane GAL since 2010

"Being a GAL has given me an opportunity to continue with my passion of working with and for children in a volunteer capacity since retirement as an elementary school principal.

It has been a privilege for me to watch parents invest in change simply based on a love for their child. As a GAL I have been given so many intangible rewards: observing a secure and trusting relationship grow between a young adult struggling to be the best parent she can be for her infant, walking on a high school campus and being introduced by the “GAL kid” as “my friend,” and the teen who asks 'will you always be here for me?'

The GAL community includes dedicated and intelligent volunteers and paid staff who work closely together supporting each other as we all experience the emotional roller coaster of advocating in the best interest of children. We all understand that making a difference in a child’s life may not be taken in giant steps, but every small step does encourage a promising future for a child."
-Ellen GAL since 2006

"The training was very comprehensive. It prepared me very well for my first case. The worst part of the training? The instant coffee."
-Arnie GAL since 2010

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