For Immediate Release
Voices For Children hosts its 25th Anniversary Be A Voice Luncheon
MIAMI – October 30, 2019 Voices For Children Foundation, a Miami non-profit organization advocating for children in foster care, along with presenting sponsor Stearns Weaver Miller, served as hosts to over 350 attorneys, judges, elected officials, community leaders and volunteers at the 25th Anniversary Be A Voice Luncheon held on Friday, October 25, at Jungle Island, 111 Parrot Jungle Trail Miami, Fl 33132. Former Local 10 News anchor Laurie Jennings served as the emcee.
With help from supporters, Voices For Children Foundation raised over $140,000 at the annual event. Funds raised help ensure that every abused, abandoned and neglected child in Miami-Dade County’s dependency system has a court-appointed Guardian ad Litem (GAL). Direct financial assistance is also provided to support the children’s health, educational and social needs.
To celebrate the event’s anniversary, Voices For Children focused its program on the Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program, its advocates and how ordinary people can make extraordinary differences in the lives of children in care. Voices’ Board Chair Vince Castro took a moment to single out the many GALs in attendance by the number of years served; some of whom had dedicated over 30 years. “I feel blessed and honored to see so many supporters share their time and generosity to honor Guardians ad Litem and the vital work they do for vulnerable children in our community” stated Castro.
The program also raised awareness about the realities children in care face by bringing Stephanie, a former foster youth, on stage to share her struggle going through the dependency system and how Voices For Children made a difference in her life by helping her finish high school, enroll in college and find a home for her and her three-year-old son. “Thank you for saving my life and my baby’s life” said Castellon to a cheering crowd.
Kamila Regalado, recent FIU graduate and aspiring medical student, received the Pathfinder Award. The honor acknowledges former foster youth that have overcome adversity and have succeeded in reaching their goals. She too shared her experience in the foster care system and how she has been able to succeed, persevere, and focus on her education with the support of Voices For Children.
The event culminated in honoring Rita Widom Swichkow with the Most Valuable Protector Award. Swichkow has been with the Guardian ad Litem Program for the past 38 years and was one of its founding members. During her remarks, Swichkow stated “Each child is important to me and everyone on our team. We work to craft the best possible future for each and every one of them”.
In addition to Stearns Weaver Miller, which has sponsored the Annual Be A Voice Luncheon for twelve consecutive years, the event was made possible by Gold Guardian sponsors including: Amerant Bank and Miami-Dade County Commissioners: Jose “Pepe” Diaz, Audrey M. Edmonson, Sally A. Heyman, Barbara Jordan, Daniella Levine-Cava, and Joe Martinez. Silver Guardian Sponsors included: Akerman, Florida Value Partners, Kira Grossman, Esq., KPMG LLP, Miami Dolphins Foundation, and Miami-Dade County Commissioner Eileen Higgins. Selecta and Brickell Magazines were the event’s media sponsors.
About Voices For Children Foundation
Voices For Children Foundation is a non-profit organization that raises money to help ensure that abused, abandoned, and neglected children in Miami-Dade County each have a court-appointed Guardian ad Litem and that financial assistance and other resources are available for their health, educational, and social needs. Guardians ad Litem are trained, court-appointed adults who serve as their representative voices in dependency court proceedings. Currently, over 1,700 children are in Miami-Dade County’s Foster Care system, with 96% of the children represented by Guardians ad Litem. For more information, please visit www.BeAVoice.org.