Being a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) is oftentimes not easy. Exposure to the neediest citizens of our community – abused, abandoned and neglected children – can take an emotional and spiritual toll. Ana, a GAL Volunteer since 1994, can attest to these facts, but also speak to the emotional and spiritual rewards. She has volunteered on over 25 cases in her time as a volunteer and her compassion for the vulnerable children of Miami-Dade is unwavering.
Over the course of her time as a volunteer Ana recalls one particular case that is a cherished memory. “The child,” Ana says, “was born to a hard working father and a drug addicted mother.” It was a unique case where Ana found that the father actually desired to be a part of the child’s life.
“While living with his mother, the boy lived a chaotic life. His mother was entrenched in bad habits and the situation developed into incidents of domestic violence,” recalls Ana. Culminating on a dark evening at midnight, a good-Samaritan neighbor found the mother and boy together, the mother heavily intoxicated, and called the police.
Visiting regularly with the child, Ana found that the father was protective and loving of his son, and although his mother’s demons eventually brought an end to her life when the boy was just 14, “the boy persevered and lives a good life today,” she smiles.
“I give credit to the strong foundation he had due to his father’s dedication…but I also feel that my monthly visits made it a little easier for the boy to have a steady person in his life whom he could rely on during that difficult time. The story, this boy, will forever be a part of my mind, my heart and my soul.”
Ana is an exceptional GAL Volunteer and is extra vigilant for the younger children she represents, as they are not yet able to speak or voice their own opinion. Ana, thank you for 16 terrific and dedicated years as a Guardian ad Litem and congratulations for being selected as the August GAL Volunteer of the Month!
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