Guardians For New Futures, Inc. (GFNF) is a registered Florida 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that supports the needs of abused and neglected children while increasing community awareness to recognize and report child maltreatment through educational programs and services to the community throughout the Treasure Coast and Okeechobee.
GFNF is an educational advocacy and community catalyst for maltreated children and works to raise awareness regarding the epidemic number of children who suffer maltreatment and die due to abuse and neglect. Although GFNF is a small volunteer group, it has provided training to over 2,000 individuals representing more than 250 different local child focused agencies and organizations.
Support the needs of abused and neglected children through community awareness and education.
With a working Board of Directors only since 2008, GFNF has made great strides in educating the community and especially about how to recognize and report child maltreatment.
Because of its efforts to educate the community on vital issues concerning children, as well as to implement educational programs providing resources to those who work closely with children and to the children themselves, GFNF was nominated for the 27th annual Business & Industry Award in 2011 by St. Lucie County Chamber of Commerce. Guardians For New Futures has established a community outreach of over 100 partnerships, with a database of over 3,500 community contacts. Additionally, 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 Coalitions and many, many more.
In 2011, GFNF sponsored their first annual child focused conference which featured presentations from professional child advocate leaders from multiple disciplines. In 2013, the organization hosted the annual “Treasure Coast Guardians For New Futures Child Summit”, a two day educational opportunity focusing on sexual abuse, typology of sex offenders, drug endangered children, methamphetamine awareness, far-reaching effects of untreated drug addictions and options for treatment. The Child Summit, which was hosted in partnership with Indian River State College, SandyPines and Hanley Center Foundation had just under 400 attendees each day representing more than 180 different child focused agencies and organizations. Additional educational programs and services include free educational workshops and training seminars which provide free CEUs to most disciplines, clothing, school supply and holiday gift drives, Guardian ad Litem volunteer support and training, and aiding child victims of human trafficking.
ABOUT OUR PROGRAMS
Guardians For New Futures offers free training seminars throughout the Treasure Coast and Okeechobee to professionals who work closely with children and to those who share an interest and concern regarding issues children face in the community. The goal of these educational experiences is to train and educate the community on how to recognize and report child maltreatment, as well as other important issues impacting children. While training topics are constantly updated, sessions have included Recognizing Child Maltreatment, Reporting abuse and neglect, Domestic Violence, Drugs, Gangs, Eating Disorders, Preventing Teen Suicide, Drug Endangered Children, Interviewing Children of Sexual Abuse, Typology of Sexual Offenders, Self Harm and many more hosted and up-coming. The organization has delivered training to over 2,000 individuals representing more than 250 different child focused agencies and organizations.
GFNF initiatives include:
- Treasure Coast GFNF Child Summit – The Treasure Coast GFNF Child Summit is an annual 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 – GFNF's Holiday Gift Drive provides holiday gifts to children throughout Okeechobee and the Treasure Coast who are victims of abuse and neglect. This program has provided more than 4,000 children in the community with holiday gifts thanks to the generosity of community members. The value of the gifts provided since its inception in 2008 is well over $400,000. Thanks to the design of the program all gifts and donations go directly to the children.
- Partnership with Hope’s Closet 4 Children – GFNF's 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 800 children.
- Child victims of exploitation due to human trafficking – GFNF 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 – GFNF 1) created and supports a children’s library and media room in Okeechobee Courthouse, 2) established and funds two children’s libraries in St. Lucie County Courtrooms, 3) is working to support and fund a children’s room in St. Lucie County Courthouse. All of these areas 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 – partnered 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 local, regional and national communities.
- GFNF Website – developed www.gfnf4kids.org to provide resources and links to community and GAL volunteers.
- 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.
- Kits4Kids Back to School Drive – GFNF's Kits4Kids Back to School Drive provides much-needed back-to-school supplies and more to children in need throughout the Treasure Coast and Okeechobee, serving approximately 2,000 children since inception.
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.