tineye.com says this is probably by Brooke Ann Dove.
So what's the point of some of these posts of mine? Are they just hopeless downers, designed to make you weep or turn away in horror/disgust/compassion fatigue? Well, hopefully not. No, they're meant, especially in the case of child or disabled adult welfare, to make you wake up and see that there are all these people around you that you could help, in simple or maybe even slightly less simple, ways. If I could get even one person to become a GAL, or three people to go read bedtime stories to children in foster care, this blog will have been the best success I could ever envision.
Lend a Hand: Volunteer
If you're busy and don't have a lot of time, how about helping out at places like children and youth shelters, on programs that work with children in foster care or the elderly? Want to know how to connect? Check out The Hands On Network, and it's affiliated City Cares programs, nationwide. Typically with Hands On/City Cares events, you volunteer as you are able. You can attend a volunteer training and then sign up for projects when you have time. I volunteered with Hands on Miami from 1997 until 2007, as a project coordinator at the Miami Ronald McDonald House and at the Miami Bridge Shelter for youth. They were very rewarding experiences. City Cares builds houses with Habitat for Humanity, works in animals shelters, cleans beaches. There are so many ways to help.
Guardian ad Litem/Court Appointed Special Advocate
If you've read about Snow White and Snow Red and Keyonce and some of my other GAL kids, and wish to be able to help foster children and foster youth, if you live in the United States, you can go to casaforchildren.org and learn about how to be come a Guardian ad Litem or Court Appointed Special Advocate (the same concept but differing names in various states across the US) in your judicial district. Whether you take one case or five, you can make the difference in the life of a child by being an impartial, child-centered voice, advocating for the best interests of the child or children in a dependency case in which the parents have been charged with abuse or neglect. As I have said many times in my blog posts, sometimes the GAL is the only person that stays the same throughout a child's voyage through foster care. Foster homes, case managers, may all change again and again. Having someone who has known you for years can be invaluable for foster children. While not a replacement for family, some kids may feel that their GAL is about as close as their going to get to having a family member looking out for them, advocating for them, especially after they have aged out of care.