Recruiter Rene Vojnovic speaks often about the "critical" need for Hilsborough County residents to step up to the plate for the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program. Good news to report in Valrico, she said, is that Guardian ad Litem has approved training for volunteer advocates at the Bloomingdale Regional Library in January.
An informational meeting for the program is scheduled for noon to 1 p.m. today, Oct. 13, at the library, at 1906 Bloomingdale Ave.
As of Oct. 1, there were 2,874 children in Hillsborough County who had been removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect.
"We need people from all walks of life who believe that every child deserves to be safe, to be treated with dignity and to be loved," notes a news release for the Oct. 13 meeting.
Vojnovic said she is happy to provide training close to home for Greater Brandon residents. "Please note that we must receive your application and schedule your interview to hold your spot in the January class," she noted.
For information, call Vojnovic at 813-393-9084. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The need for volunteers is critical, Vojnovic said earlier this month, in a short interview at the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce building. She also recruited earlier this year at the chamber's health fair at the Campo Family YMCA. There, she noted: "We need everyday people from all walks of life. The children need you so badly."
Vojnovic said she became a recruiter for the program after becoming a guardian ad litem herself, after working in child care for years.
"When I was working in a group home there would be children waiting there for someone to walk up to them and say, 'Hi, I'm your guardian ad litem,' " she noted. "When that wouldn't happen, I heard a child say, 'I'm not even good enough for a guardian ad litem."
That can't happen, but it does, and that's why Vojnovi stays busy recruiting volunteers, who must be at least 21 years of age.
Guardians, "the eyes and ears of the court," visit once and month and attend court hearings typically once every three to six months, Vojnovic said.