TAMPA, Fla. - A volunteer organization is helping children in foster care find hope.
The Guardian ad Litem program in Tampa uses volunteers to advocate for neglected, abused, and abandoned children.
"We make sure where they are staying is very safe and stable for them. That they get to see their siblings. That they get to see their parents. They get to have as much normalcy as possible," said attorney Ashley Ise.
She volunteered for years before she started working for the initiative three years ago. She represents children in the courtroom.
"I didn't have a dependency background at all. I was just really interested in working with children and helping them," she explained.
Circuit director Tabitha Lambert says there is always a great need for this kind of volunteer work.
"Many times our volunteer will be that one stable person that, that child has throughout their time in foster care," Lambert said.
The program creates both physical and emotional support for the child.
"We really just do a holistic view, making sure that the child is taken care of throughout their time in the system," added Lambert.
The program could use more volunteers. There are a little more than 700 volunteers, for more than 3,000 kids.
"The staff here is excellent at matching guardians with children and helping to support them and for a few hours a month you can make a huge difference in a child's life," Ise said.
The volunteers are helping to change the life path of children in the Tampa Bay area. For anyone who is interested, the program has weekly and monthly training classes. Visit www.galtampa.org for information.