While CVLS' Minor GAL Director Rebekah Rashidfarokhi was on maternity leave, volunteer Maria Petrone filled in. Maria has been a devoted volunteer attorney since 2009, and has worked both as a panel volunteer and with our Thunderdome Divorce Clinic. She is also currently a freelance writer for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. Thank you Maria for all your amazing work!
Read about Maria's experience, in her own words:
As a long-time volunteer with the Guardian ad Litem for Minors program, I was excited to step in for Rebekah while she was on extended leave. Working as a GAL has always been an incredibly rewarding experience, and filling in at CVLS was a wonderful opportunity to devote myself full time to representing children. These cases are challenging, especially when you often have parents who love their children, but are just unable to provide the stability and safety they need to thrive. Frequently, though, we get the opportunity to work with families to improve the situation for the children and often act as mediators to encourage the parties to work together toward a peaceful resolution. It is incredibly gratifying to hear from a child that he is happy and feels safe because you worked zealously to protect his interests.
I also really enjoyed the opportunity to work with some of our dedicated and hard-working volunteers, assisting them with challenges they experienced with their own GAL cases. Each client, each story, was a chance to learn how to be a better advocate and do something to positively impact a child’s life.
Filling in for Rebekah also gave me the opportunity to learn more about CVLS as a whole. In addition to acting as GAL, I assisted with the general intake process. This required reading interview summaries, compiling documents, talking to potential clients and occasionally conducting legal research to determine whether CVLS volunteers could provide assistance. As a volunteer who focuses primarily on GAL cases, I was not fully aware of the breadth of legal services offered by CVLS and the amount of work that goes into screening and placing cases.
I am so impressed with the dedication and expertise of the staff attorneys and the incredible optimism that drives them to work diligently to make a difference in the lives of each of their clients.
I would like to thank Meg and the entire staff for making me feel so welcome during my time here and allowing me the opportunity to be a part of the invaluable service that CVLS provides to the public.