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Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) 18th Circuit, "Encouraging Volunteers to Take Leadership Roles"


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LEAD Brevard's Leadership Brevard Class of 2018 Leadership Action Project Presentation.
Guardian Ad Litem (GAL), 18th Circuit
“Encouraging Volunteers to Take Leadership Roles”
Currently, 300 children appointed to GAL have no volunteers to assist them. The program is committed to providing leadership roles for their volunteers; short term goal: identify barriers for Volunteer Team Leader recruitment – Intermediate goal: increase the number of trained Volunteer Team Leaders, recruit and retain 25 new leaders by mid-2018 – long term goal: empower volunteer team leaders to help recruit new volunteers and help in the retention of current volunteers.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) 18th Circuit, "Encouraging Volunteers to Take Leadership Roles"

  1. 1. GAL – Leadership Action Project Jason Jones, Jessica Mitchell, Stephanie Archer, Esteban Valentin, Kimberly Cribb, Melissa MacCalla, Michael Schuffert and Kristen Underwood
  2. 2. What is GAL? Citizen volunteer program where citizen volunteers become part of a court program to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children A GAL is a representative for the child - before the court, social service agencies, and the community GAL’s are much more than court representatives – they also become mentors, role-models, and support systems for the children they represent GAL’s conduct independent investigations, collect information and examine records concerning the child, and uses this information to make recommendations on what is best for the child
  3. 3. GAL’s initial expectations/needs:  Initially, GAL’s expectations were somewhat broad  Started out thinking the goal was to recruit more citizens to become GAL volunteers, but this was not the case  Focus – to engage current GAL volunteers to step up to a volunteer leader role  Volunteer leader roles were found to be broad and undefined, and current GAL volunteers weren’t stepping up to the plate to move into volunteer leader roles  Lack of clarity regarding volunteer leader role descriptions, training, and marketing
  4. 4. Roadblocks and how to overcome  Understanding the true intent of the project and its goals  Facilitated meetings with GAL team and Leadership Brevard team to better understand project and goals  Learning about a process/program that is foreign to us  Engaged GAL team and GAL volunteers in discussions and meetings  Invited GAL volunteers and volunteer leaders to meetings to discuss their needs and feedback about the program and possible improvements to processes  Narrowing down project into manageable tasks  Broke down larger team into 3 smaller teams to accomplish main tasks of project  Measuring success  Discussed what success would look like to GAL team  Plan to test the training program with the upcoming group of new GAL volunteers
  5. 5. The process GAL provided broad goals Team established three major goals Decided to form three small group teams to tackle three goals
  6. 6. Goals Set up a “progression ladder” for volunteer leaders 1 Formalize/create volunteer leader training 2 Create tools to market the volunteer leader roles 3
  7. 7. Action Item 1: Set up a “progression ladder” for volunteer leaders  Team members: Jason & Stephanie  Action Items:  Create a plan/progression ladder to assist in the organizational structure to maintain expectations and retention of volunteer leaders  Create a flow chart to assist in creating expectations for volunteer leaders while creating a progression of development through training and mentoring
  8. 8. The Flow Chart  The Flow chart allows the GAL program to focus on developing the GAL’s to become volunteer leaders through a consistent and slower progression that provides opportunity for growth and retention Year 1 Level 2 Background Check Orientation 8 Hours Individual Studies 12 Hour Classroom Training 10 Hours Fieldwork (Shadowing) Assigned Mentor & CAM Assigned 1 - 2 Cases Work with children 7- 10 hours per month Opportunities Communicate GAL Opportunities Attend 2 RAP Sessions Friends of Children - Support Year 2 12 Hours of Continuing Education Continue work with caseloads Work with children 7- 10 hours per month Co-Lead 2 RAP Sessions Opportunities Communicate GAL Opportunities Friends of Children - Support
  9. 9. The Flow Chart Year 3 12 Hours of Continuing Education Continue work with caseloads Work with children 7- 10 hours per month Attend Mentor Training Opportunities Communicate GAL Opportunities Friends of Children - Support Attend/Lead 2 RAP Sessions Year 4+ 12 Hours of Continuing Education Continue work with caseloads Work with children 7- 10 hours per month Mentor assigned mentee Opportunities Communicate GAL Opportunities Friends of Children - Support Attend/Lead 2 RAP Sessions
  10. 10. Action Item 2: Formalize/create volunteer leader training  Team members: Melissa & Esteban  Action Items:  Clearly define different volunteer opportunity roles & responsibilities in the GAL program, along with resources to help them.  Volunteer Opportunity #1-Community Promoter  Volunteer Opportunity #2-Regional Rap Session Leader  Volunteer Opportunity #3-Mentor
  11. 11. GAL Volunteer Leader Roles & Responsibilities  Community Promoter: Recruit Volunteers and Raise Awareness of GAL program in the community  Attend community events and promote GAL program  Identify opportunities with in community to raise program awareness  Coordinate with Friends of Children of Brevard to support organization  Resources:  Recruiter ( employee of GAL) will provide schedule of opportunities to attend community events  Recruiter will post schedule of events and encourage community promoter attendance  Recruiter will provide promotional materials for community promoter  Recruiter will provide “elevator speech” for community promoter to use at events  Recruiter will educate community promoters on FAQ’s and important message to communicate at events.  Friends of Children of Brevard will provide opportunities to attend events, to provide in events and use social media to spread the word.
  12. 12. GAL Volunteer Leader Roles & Responsibilities  Regional Rap Session Leader: Provide GAL volunteers a forum to meet other volunteers in their area. Leader will discuss program news and facilitate conversations that allow volunteers to express frustrations & successes regarding their GAL experience  Coordinate with group of regional rap session leaders to schedule monthly session at various locations throughout the county.  Recommendation: These should occur once a month, days and times to be determined by Rap Session Leader with input from attendees. The location should be consistent and strategic to geographical locations in the county.  Recommendation: Bi-annually attendance is required for first year program volunteers.  Recommendation: create agenda to be used at all rap sessions  Operational update from CAM or Program Director  Review monthly newsletter  Open forum for attendee issues  Opportunities for improvement  Success stories  Submit sign in sheet from session  Resources:  CAM and program director for pertinent program information that should be shared with the group.  Other Rap Session Leaders  Recommendation Rap session leaders meet bi annually to discuss the sessions and how they can become more effective.
  13. 13. GAL Volunteer Leader Roles & Responsibilities  Mentor: To sustain the longevity and effectiveness of the GAL volunteer program. GAL will provide qualified volunteers with the training to successfully transition from a volunteer to a Mentor.  Reviewing assigned cases to identify objectives and outline appropriate tasks  Accompany new volunteer to first home visits and provide guidance for compilation of required written report.  Work with child advocate coordinator to provide feedback to new volunteer regarding observations made at initial home visit.  Provide guidance when submitting reports for court.  Provide insight as to what to expect when presenting in court and the overall court processes involved with the GAL program.  Be available as a resource for new GAL volunteers to discuss the application of policies and procedures covered in their training while reinforcing the GAL code of conduct.  Provide constructive feedback to the new volunteer and the program coordinator to help promote and encourage the new volunteers and shore up and weaknesses present  Resources:  CAM  Mentor Training Program  Mentor Training Materials “aka Elaine’s cheat sheet”  Program Director
  14. 14. Action Item 3: Create tools to market the volunteer leader roles  Team Members: Jessica, Michael, & Kim  Action items:  Create sortable tracking spreadsheet to include all current GAL volunteers & leaders, including data regarding how long they have been in role  Create marketing “flyers” promoting the three volunteer leader roles to encourage GAL volunteers to step up to volunteer leader roles  Create recognition/information about current and new GAL team leaders – took the form of a GAL newsletter template
  15. 15. Sortable tracking sheet With information gathered from Carol, we created a sortable Excel tracking sheet Excel sheet includes names of current GAL volunteers, sworn date, and team leader role (as applicable) GAL can utilize this sheet to quickly identify (based on years of service) who is potentially ready for a volunteer leader role and reach out to them
  16. 16. Marketing “flyers” for volunteer leader roles  Created three separate “flyers” designed to market each of the three volunteer leader roles  Can be used by GAL to send out via email, social media, etc. to current GAL volunteers to encourage them to step up to a volunteer leader role  Flyers are one page, bright, visually appealing, and easy to read
  17. 17. Create recognition tool for current GAL Volunteer Leaders  Took shape in the form of a newsletter template  Can be easily filled in by GAL to showcase/recognize GAL Volunteer Leaders and get their input and point of view  Intent is to both recognize the leaders and encourage others to become a volunteer leader
  18. 18. Accomplishments – as noted by our GAL sponsors  Combined Friends and Recruiter position due to the recognition of overlapping roles  Clearly defined roles and responsibilities of Friends/Recruiter Team Leader  Clearly outlined Rap session team leader responsibility to encourage more volunteers to accept this role  Organized existing Mentor training information and encouraged additional Mentor training classes that had been deficient for our Program  Implemented a schedule for volunteers to complete training steps necessary in the required timeframe to ensure their ability to seamlessly transition to their chosen team leader role
  19. 19. Accomplishments – as noted by our GAL sponsors  Early identification of a progression ladder to ready volunteers for transition into volunteer leader roles  Reviewing current volunteer spreadsheet and formed a timeframe for reaching out to all potential team leaders  Provided our Program with ideas to “coach up” for potential team leaders  Volunteering at the Superhero Run  Reviewing the GAL/Friends newsletter with suggestions on how to recognize team leaders  Plan to recognize team leaders informally (through e-mails, personal thank you) and also encouraged the GAL Program to recognize team leaders formally at GAL events  Ideas to provide Team leaders with badges, pins and other items to recognize their status.  Plan to provide tools for success of various roles
  20. 20. Superhero 5K  Our team had an awesome time supporting & participating in the GAL annual “Superhero 5K”
  21. 21. Questions?? Let us sacrifice our today so that our children can have a better tomorrow. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam