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Serving for Children

by Meryl Trahant

I became certified as a Guardian ad Litem in Marion County, Florida in April 2009. In case you are not familiar, guardians are volunteers that are appointed to cases where children have been removed from their homes by DCF due to abuse/safety conditions. It is our job to be the voice for the children in the courts and advocate for them.

In Florida alone there are approximately 40,000 children in the system. It is a "silent" epidemic. I personally advocate on six cases, for 18 children. While only required to visit my kids twice a month, I go every week. In some of my cases, I become the only "constant" in their lives. It is a rewarding venue where I actually am able to do something for the children in this country that are abused physically, sexually, and emotionally every day.

I also volunteer with an after school program in North Little Rock, Arkansas called ROCAN INC. (Reaching Our Children and Neighborhoods). I have been financially supporting this organization for four years. There are approximately 40-60 that go to the "center" every day after school. They are given a snack, do their homework, play games, given dinner and then go home, at no cost to the children or families. The group is located in a high risk area. The founder has run this center since 2000. He receives no funding from the state. Hundreds of children have gone through his center. His kids graduate from high school and some go on to college or the military. This is all being done on a shoe string budget.

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