He tries to meet with the children at least twice a month
during the case. Because so many of the kids are 5 or 6, they
don’t really comprehend his official role. The older they are,
the more they understand, so Tenpas says it’s always good to
meet them with at least one of the parents and someone from
the Florida Department of Children and Families, too.
For the ones 5 and under, he says he always asks what they
would wish for if they had three wishes. “Nearly all of them
wish for the same thing, almost word for word,” he says of
the children who know him as Mr. Gary. “‘I want to meet
Jesus, get my dog back and even though I love Grandma and
Grandpa, I want to live with my mom.’ ”
There are approximately 300 active GALs in the 19th Judicial
Circuit and with 600 cases open, there is always a need
SAFETY ALWAYS CONSIDERED
Tenpas thinks some potential volunteers are hesitant to
sign on because they are concerned that they might be put in
uncomfortable situations or travel to areas where they don’t
“The office’s staff and supervisors are very understanding
and always find a way to work within our comfort level,”
And when it comes to becoming too attached to the
children he serves, Tenpas says that every volunteer he
has encountered is like him, wanting only the best for the
children. GALs even have their own nonprofit organization
designed to help provide for the needs of the children they
serve, whether it’s a bed, bicycle or holiday and birthday
gifts, Voices for Children of Okeechobee and the Treasure
Coast nearly always comes through, thanks to the generosity
of individuals, groups, churches and businesses throughout
the area. Tenpas says just knowing others are supportive and
encouraging of the work he and other GALs do helps him
continue doing the work.
N AT U R E + C ULT U R E
THE CREATIVE HEART OF F LORIDA
March 3 – April 30, 2023
REDISCOVERING THE BACKUS PORTFOLIO
ON PAPER AND CANVAS
The story of the prized limited-edition print
portfolio “Florida and the West Indies – Sketches
by A.E. Backus” is revisited in this special
exhibition. This exceptional set of images, drawn
from the artist’s travels over nearly twenty years
and gathered in 1972 as a high-quality portfolio,
reveal his deep connection to the places and
people he encountered.
The portfolio is examined through original,
singular drawings and a collection of colorful,
rarely seen oil paintings that showcase the artist’s
inspiration and creative process, and breathe
new life into the classic 18 prints known and
cherished for generations.
CALL TO ARTIST-PHOTOGRAPHERS!
2023 THROUGH THE EYE OF THE CAMERA
Visit BackusMuseum.org/juried-shows on March 6
to see rules and guidelines to participate!
A . E . B A C K U S M U S E U M & G A L L E R Y
500 N. Indian River Drive | Historic Downtown Fort Pierce
772.465.0630 • www.BackusMuseum.org
20 Port St. Lucie Magazine
What is the role of the GAL? Guardian ad Litem volunteers
bring a community-based, common-sense perspective
to cases. They visit their assigned child regularly to
understand their circumstances, wishes and needs, and
help to explain the process so they can understand.
Does the volunteer go to court or to the judge on behalf
of the children they serve? A Guardian ad Litem volunteer
may go to the court. Each case is unique and requirements
vary. A Guardian ad Litem attorney provides essential
legal counsel, attends hearings and depositions, negotiates
outside the courtroom and takes on appeals.
How much time does a typical volunteer usually invest
in a case assigned to him/her? A volunteer spends an
average of 5-10 hours per month working on a case some
cases involve more time and some, less time.
How many cases is a volunteer usually handling at
one time, and what is the typical length of a case from
start to finish? There is no set requirement of cases a
GAL can handle. Many volunteers have just one case,
while others choose to accept multiple cases because
their schedules allow it.