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Member Spotlight: Speak up for Kids PBC

Posted By Administration, Thursday, August 27, 2020

Every year, hundreds of children in Palm Beach County’s foster care system have to show up for court. The proceedings can be confusing and scary for many children.

Helping them get through it all is Speak Up for Kids of Palm Beach County, Inc., which is the fundraising arm of the 15th Judicial District Guardian ad Litem Program volunteer child advocacy program. 

As part of Nonprofits First’s August member spotlight, we asked the group’s executive director, Coleen LaCosta, to explain what Speak Up for Kids does and how they are doing during the pandemic.

1) Explain what Speak Up For Kids does in the community.

Coleen LaCosta: Founded in 2008, Speak Up for Kids of Palm Beach County, Inc. is the exclusive fundraising entity for the 15th Judicial District Guardian ad Litem Program (GAL) volunteer child advocacy program. 

We exist to champion the efforts of the greater than 600 volunteer heroes who serve the child’s best interest as the eyes and ears of the court while remaining the only consistent voice in the child’s life.

2) How has COVID 19 impacted your operations, and what services are you still offering?

Coleen LaCosta: Like many other nonprofits, we have had to cancel or postpone our events. Very minimal funds are coming in and our requests for funding to help our clients with food, clothing, rent and utilities has increased. The courts are operating remotely, and trials are delayed which prolongs time in foster care. We have 1700+ children. We have increased virtual services including training, virtual tutors, virtual readers and launched STUDENTS Speak Up For Kids.

3) Explain the difference Speak Up For Kids has made in the community through the years.

Coleen LaCosta: We are unapologetically best-interest and normalcy focused to ensure kids in the foster system have the best opportunities for positive outcomes and ultimately breaking the cycle of abuse and neglect. 

We fund trauma-informed therapy, age-appropriate emergency bags, early learning and tutoring interventions, birthday parties, funds to help in reunifying a child with parents and extended family, sibling visits, holiday gifts, normalcy needs etc. In 2019, our volunteers served more than 2,500 children, including ensuring secure permanent placement for more than 1,000 children.  

4) How has Nonprofits First helped your organization?

Coleen LaCosta: Speak Up For Kids makes active use of Nonprofit’s First’s 501c3 pro toolkit and we’ve used it to create and update our policies, including Record Retention and Destruction, Nepotism, Conflict of Interest, EEO, Whistleblower, Credit Card, Grievance Procedure, and Financial Management policies. Through their Executive Masterminds and other trainings, we have been able to network, learn from, and collaborate with nonprofit leaders in Palm Beach County. 

Watch a video about Speak Up For Kids here.

Watch a video about STUDENTS Speak Up For Kids Project here.

If you know a great story about a local nonprofit, please share it with Charlotte Gill, Nonprofits First’s director of development and business strategies. Her email is: cgill@nonprofitsfirst.org

 

Tags:  Member Spotlight  Membership  Speak up for Kids PBC  Storytelling 

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