Mission: To support the unfunded needs of abused and neglected children while increasing community awareness and education to further protect children.
Guardians For New Futures, Inc. (GFNF) is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that supports the unfunded needs of abused and neglected children while increasing awareness with regard to the number of children who are abused and neglected. GFNF works to educate the community on how to recognize and report maltreatment to protect a child from further harm, as well as, educate those working closely with children on other issues impacting children.
Since 2008, GFNF has made great strides in educating and working in collaboration with community leaders and organizations regarding issues impacting our youth. GFNF has become an educational advocacy and community catalyst for maltreated children as it works to raise awareness regarding the epidemic number of children who suffer maltreatment and die due to abuse and neglect.
GFNF’s innovative and collaborative approach to raise awareness culminated into the delivery of 40 monthly training workshops throughout the Treasure Coast and our 3rd annual Treasure Coast Child Summit. These endeavors continue to grow and expand in both delivery and attendance.
Community Awareness and Education:
GFNF’s annual two (2) day Treasure Coast Child Summits feature presentations by professionals and child advocate leaders from multiple disciplines educating our community on the latest issues impacting children and ways to further protect them from harm. These summits, and the workshops offered throughout the year, are the result of feedback and collaboration with a multitude of individuals and organizations including educators, law enforcement, judiciary, mental health, addiction professionals, etc. Topics have included: Human Trafficking of Children – both sex trafficking and labor, Suicide Prevention & our youth, Drug Endangered Children, Typology of Sexual Predators, Interviewing Children of Sexual Abuse, Signs of Addiction, Drug Trends, Substance Abuse and Mental Illness plus many more topics impacting youth. Last year’s summit was attended by 450 attendees each day representing almost 200 different child focused agencies and organizations.
Thanks to our partnerships with Indian River State College, SandyPines and other key community leaders we have been able to offer the summits and workshops at no cost to attendees. Importantly, in partnership with SandyPines GFNF is able to provide free CEUs to most disciplines which are required for licensing. These educational opportunities benefit not only the attendees and their employers but most importantly, the children with which they are working.
GFNF also works in collaboration with a number of other organizations to provide clothing to children in need, fill holiday wish lists and support special needs not provided through other resources.
Community Engagement and Outreach:
GFNF is an active member in many child focused organizations and committees including Model Dependency Court Improvement Committee of the 19th Judicial Circuit, Treasure Coast Human Trafficking Coalition, Child & Adolescent Wellness Network, Foster Care Supports, Victims’ Rights Coalition, Injury Prevention Taskforce, Roundtable of St. Lucie County Steering Committee, Substance Abuse Network and many more.
Although GFNF is a small all volunteer group, it has provided training to almost 3,000 individuals representing just under 300 different child focused agencies and organizations as well as developed a database of over 3,500 community contacts.
Revenue and In-kind Contributions:
Since 2008 GFNF has generated almost $450,000 in revenue and approximately $565,000 of in-kind contributions for a total of over $1,000,000.
- Treasure Coast GFNF Annual Child Summit – a two day, child focused conference to increase awareness regarding child maltreatment and child deaths due to abuse and neglect while providing educational and training experiences to support the needs of professionals and individuals working closely with children to protect them from further harm.
- GFNF Holiday Gift Drive – provides holiday gifts to children throughout Okeechobee and the Treasure Coast who are victims of maltreatment. The program has provided more than 5,000 children in the community with holiday gifts thanks to the generosity of community members. The program has been managed via e-mail for the last two years. The elimination of printing and postal costs has generated even more value directly to the children.
- Partnership with Hope’s Closet 4 Children – collects and distributes new and gently used clothing to children in need. This partnership has helped to serve over 1,000 children.
- Child victims of exploitation due to human trafficking – provides emergency kits as needed for the children which include blankets, personal hygiene products, water, snacks, etc for their immediate use.
- Children’s Rooms in Courthouses – 1) created and support a children’s library and media room in Okeechobee Courthouse, 2) provide reading materials and art supplies in St. Lucie County (dependency) Courtrooms, and 3) working to create and fund a children’s room in St. Lucie County Courthouse. These all help to provide the children with a safe, secure, and enjoyable environment while waiting for their cases to be heard in court.
- Drug Abuse Awareness Symposia – partner with stakeholders in the community to effectively restrict the impact of the drug abuse pandemic and its far-reaching effects through common awareness, communication and networking within community.
- Guardian ad Litem Program – 1) created and funded a Media & Training Center to enhance and facilitate volunteers’ training and professionalism, 2) Raised over $50,000 to update and replace outdated computers, software and related equipment.
Guardians For New Futures continues to partner with leaders in the community and participate in projects to improve and expand upon the organization’s initiatives to address and respond to important issues facing children throughout the Treasure Coast and Okeechobee.