Letter From a Guardian ad Litem

As a Volunteer Guardian ad Litem I get all types of different questions. The first one, regardless of the term "volunteer," is "Do you get paid?" When I answer "No, all GALs are actually volunteers." I get the second one, which is more like an affirmation, "Oh... you do it because you need the volunteer hours for school!  Again my answer is no; and then I always get the look. The last and more common question is, "I do not know how you can do such a sad job." To that I respond that I do not know what I would do if I could not do this amazing job.  

Being a GAL is the most rewarding experience I've ever had; it is not a sad job, but a very important one. You get to be the voice of children that have lived most of their lives in silence; you get to advocate for their rights, and make sure they're fulfilled. I get paid in smiles, hugs, gratitude, and the peace of mind that a little boy or a teenage girl is now smiling in the safety of a home. It is our responsibility as adults to create a safe world for our children. Guardians ad Litem are hope, strength, and safety for a young person, who sometimes does not have anybody else to provide this for them. Be someone's hero today. Do your part in making this a world a better one. Wake up every day knowing that somewhere there is child that will always be grateful for your existence. GALs do not get paid because their job is invaluable."  

- Alaina Machado, Volunteer GAL (Miami-Dade)