GAL Volunteer out of the South Okaloosa County Office
What has been one of her most profound experiences as a GAL?
One of the many gifts of being a GAL advocate is the chance to develop relationships with not only our children but their caregivers as well. Susan worked with a family of three children where their lives were in chaos. At one point the kids had to be placed over seven hours away from South Okaloosa. One of the boys was having immense behavioral issues due to the upheaval. The children finally were able to find stability when they were placed with a family member who happened to be in the military. Susan is retired from the military, so she is able to have a shared comradery with this woman. To this day Susan stays in touch with all of them, communicating weekly with both the caregiver and the children. With stability came an end to the behavioral problems as well. Susan feels a strong connection and plans to stay in their lives for the long-term.
What keeps her dedicated to her GAL role?
Susan knows that she is supported by our Guardian ad Litem program so when she advocates for her child, she knows we have her back. The satisfaction that comes from seeing your child go from chaos to a final placement cannot be underestimated.
What advice and hope would she give to new volunteers in the program?
There are many moving parts in the child dependency system. Don’t get discouraged, we’ve all felt the frustration. That is why we have a huge reservoir of support available to use. We have other volunteers, the Children in Need fund, and especially our Child Advocate Manager. “Hug Your CAM!”