Gas Cards Make a Difference in the Life of a Child!
Thank Yous, Quotes, and Other Stories 2017

George is the GAL for 3 cases-a total of 7 children. Most of the children for whom he advocates are located in Sarasota County. Because of the contentious nature of the case and wanting to develop a good working relationship with the children and their caregivers, George visits the children personally and couldn’t have done it without gas card support. The face to face contact has built trust between the children, their caregivers, and the Guardian. It has also allowed the Guardian to develop a better understanding and perspective of the concerns expressed in this case. The benefits of the gas cards has been invaluable!

Paul Lambis has been a GAL since 2011 and currently has 4 cases with 3 children in Tampa, one in Zephyrhills, one in St Petersburg, 2 in Largo, 2 in Pinellas Park and 1 boy in Clearwater. Paul not only visits each child monthly, he goes to see them at school, brings the children to summer camp, court, and attends staffings. Paul also uses the gas cards to help provide normalcy for his GAL children by bringing them to attend special activities like bowling, Mad Hatter, the Grand Prix, and movies.

Kristine is a Dade City volunteer who has an infant case placed in St. Petersburg and a teen boy who is placed in Clearwater. Colby (the teen) is autistic and often struggles in his group home placement. Gas cards have helped Kristine go above and beyond for Colby to ensure someone at the group home knows she is watching as he is easily targeted. Kristine also has used this support to take Colby to places including the St Pete Clearwater Airport (he loves planes), the Florida Air Museum, the Henry Willaford Train Museum and the Rush Truck Center. Gas cards are an important tool for GALs to do their work-thank you!

Tanya just recently became a Guardian ad Litem volunteer. Although she lives in St. Petersburg, she accepted a case where the teenager is placed in a group home in Tampa. She accepted the case and by the first week she scheduled a visit and the child was not at the group home when he was supposed to be. She tried again the next day where she was able to visit with the child and help get up to speed on his case and his needs. Tanya says thank you for helping ease the frustration of long trips so she can visit the child she chose to serve!

I travel to visit kids living in Tarpon Springs from St Pete on a weekly basis. I recently drove to Lake Mary near Orlando to visit a prospective caregiver before changing a child’s placement. The gas card helps LOTS!!!! – Thank you from Collette Burgess

Jill has been a GAL since 2012 and has had about 6 cases-some with multiple kids in different placements. She was very excited and grateful to receive the gas cards during a tough time in her case. She sent the following email: “I wanted to sincerely thank you for the gas cards you sent to me. In 5 years, I have never received anything like that. I am so grateful!”

Thanks so much for the gas cards! Each visit to the kids in foster care is 37 miles round-trip, and in addition to the monthly visits, I’ve been observing visitations for both parents as well. The gas cards help defray the cost considerably. Appreciate it greatly, Dana

I wanted to thank you for the gas cards I have received over the past months to use with the current case I have. A round trip to the home or the school is about 60 -75 miles at a time. As a volunteer, I know I assume the expenses that come with the position but with a case as far away as mine, it provided me the opportunity to make a few extra trips a month. Thanks again for the support. Charles L. Derexson

Thank you so much for the gas cards. It has been difficult having my teen placed out of Pinellas County. The gas cards have been most appreciated especially since we have been able to track down my teen’s father who is incarcerated beyond even Hillsborough County. Without the financial help, it would have been an extreme hardship to have driven across several counties to make her dreams come true. Best Regards, Jennifer

I never thought having a bus pass would be a big deal. Taking the bus shouldn’t be a big deal right. Well when you’re trying to go to school and work it helps to have that pass that allows you to ride for free. I thank Ready for Life for providing myself and are youth with the ability to get to point “A” to point “B”. if I didn’t have transportation or had to dig into my pockets all the time for uber I wouldn’t be anywhere. The Bus passes have been an amazing commodity a necessity at times.

Sincerely yours,
Sa’Quan Ward

Words cant describe how much the the Upass program has helped me! Last year I remember feeling stuck and hopeless because I couldn’t obtain employment but the root of not obtaining a job was not having a way to get there. I was facing many struggles like not having transportation, not having a job and not having daycare to keep a job. I couldn’t have have one without the other. Once I heard that the bus pass program was put in place at Ready for life it was a relief! I was able to at least get around to job hunt once I secured daycare. I got a job within a month and have been working ever since. The bus pass gives me a piece of mind and allows me to be more independent and responsible. I’m on the bus from sun up to sun down in order to get my daughter to daycare and then to work. I have been able to keep my job longer than I normally would if I didn’t have reliable transportation. Also my daughter was sick on a few ocassions and If it wasn’t for the bus pass Im not sure how quick I would have been able to get her to the emergency room twice in 3 days. The burden of not having a way to get around has been lifted off of my shoulders! I’m so grateful and thank you.

Anna- Marie Viccia