FORT MYERS – The Guardian ad Litem Foundation, 20th Judicial Circuit, is expanding its focus to serve a broader group of children and teens in Southwest Florida.
Moving forward, the nonprofit will be known as A.N.A.’s Friends. The acronym A.N.A. represents the three groups of youth that the organization supports – Abused, Neglected and Abandoned children and teens. A.N.A.’s Friends will continue providing programs that support youth in the child welfare system, including those living in foster homes and temporary shelters, as well as other vulnerable children whose lives can be positively impacted by providing emotional support, financial resources and educational services.
“Our name is changing, but our organization remains dedicated to making a lasting impact on the lives of abused, neglected and abandoned children in Southwest Florida, just as we have for nearly 40 years,” said Jessica Stanfield, executive director of A.N.A.’s Friends. “We want to empower children to heal, grow and thrive despite the challenges they have faced in their lives, and expanding our focus will magnify our impact across the region.”
A.N.A.’s Friends will continue offering the Children’s Needs Program, which allows advocates to request funds for expenses that foster parents and caregivers are unable to afford and other agencies do not provide, including birthday parties, tutoring, summer camp programs, movie tickets and registration fees for clubs and sports. The organization also offers a Comfort Closet to assist with emergency needs, including stuffed animals, beds, bedding, clothing and car seats. Additionally, A.N.A.’s Friends is maintaining Hoagland’s Happy Stories Collection, a literacy outreach program named for longtime advocates Richard and Mary Ellen Hoagland that provides books to local children.
A.N.A.’s Friends will partner with other organizations to meet the needs of children in Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. It also will become a stronger advocate for issues and policies impacting abused, neglected and abandoned children.
“A.N.A.’s Friends will be a collaborative organization that partners with other nonprofits in Southwest Florida to bring together individuals, businesses and institutions to collectively work toward a safer, more nurturing environment for all children in our community,” said Bruce Greenberg, board president for A.N.A.’s Friends. “Through these collective efforts, we can provide a brighter, more hopeful tomorrow for children who need us most.”
A.N.A.’s Friends celebrated its expanded focus and rebranding at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 5 at the nonprofit’s new office, located at 11691 Gateway Blvd., Suite 102, inside Sanibel Captiva Community Bank’s Gateway branch. The office contains multipurpose spaces for tutoring sessions, SAT and ACT prep classes, supervised visits, board meetings, art therapy sessions, small community gatherings and more.
About A.N.A.’s Friends
A.N.A.’s Friends, formerly known as the Guardian ad Litem Foundation, 20th Judicial Circuit, offers programs, services and resources for vulnerable Southwest Florida children and teens who have been Abused, Neglected and Abandoned (A.N.A.). A.N.A.’s Friends includes individuals, businesses and institutions that are collectively working toward a safer, more nurturing environment for all children in our community. Established in 1983, the organization is a United Way Partner Agency and a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. A.N.A.’s Friends serves youth in Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. For more information, please visit ANAsfriends.org or call 239-245-7787.