FORT MYERS, Fla. (Feb. 1, 2022) – The Guardian ad Litem Foundation, 20th Judicial Circuit, will host its second annual Voices of Hope Gala on March 3 to raise awareness and support for children in the foster care system.
The Voices of Hope Gala will be a virtual event that brings the excitement and enthusiasm of a charity gala directly into attendees’ living rooms, complete with party favors, food, beverages and opportunities to bid on live and silent auction items. Guests can watch a livestreamed production and donate securely through a mobile device.
This year’s event theme is “Change a Child’s Story.” Passionate speeches, virtual décor and event messaging will reflect a traditional children’s storybook.
“Unfortunately, many children in Southwest Florida who have been abused, neglected or abandoned do not lead fairytale lives,” said Jessica Stanfield, executive director of the Guardian ad Litem Foundation. “With the community’s support, though, we can provide assistance and support as they navigate the judicial, education and child welfare systems, and ultimately help write a happy ending for their story.”
The Guardian ad Litem Foundation recruits, trains and supports court-approved volunteer child advocates who represent children’s best interests. The foundation also provides financial assistance to help meet a child’s basic and developmental needs, including the Children’s Needs Program that provides “extras” like birthday parties, tutoring, summer camp programs, movie tickets and registration fees for clubs and sports. The foundation represents children in Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties.
At the foundation’s inaugural Voices of Hope Gala, also a fully virtual event, supporters raised $66,800 and heard passionate testimonials from volunteer child advocates and guest appearances by rapper and actor Ice-T, “The Most Interesting Man in the World” Jonathan Goldsmith and The Blind Side’s real-life mother Leigh Anne Tuohy.
The second-annual Voices of Hope Gala begins at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 3. There is no cost to watch the livestream and participate in the auction. If you’re interested in hosting an in-person watch-party, with turnkey options for catering and décor through the organization, please contact Jessica Stanfield, foundation executive director, at JStanfield@GALFoundation.org to learn more. Those hosting watch parties will receive a “gala in a bag,” which includes additional décor, party favors and opportunities to be included in the broadcast.