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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Speak Up For Kids Of Palm Beach County Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Adoption, Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Foster Care

Mission: Speak Up For Kid's goal is to reach 100% advocacy for every abused abandoned or neglected child in Palm Beach County by championing the Guardian as Litem program and volunteers who advocate for the physical educational and emotional best interests of our kids, ultimately, breaking the cycle of abuse violence crime and neglect one child at a time.

Target demographics: Speak Up For Kid's goal is to support the Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program to provide ALL abused, abandoned or neglected children in Palm Beach County’s dependency system with a court-appointed volunteer that advocates for their best interests. Ultimately, assuring that they do not get lost in an overburdened legal and social service system while also changing the face of the community by breaking the vicious cycle of abuse, violence, crime and neglect.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Supported the advocacy for 2000+ abused and neglected children in Palm Beach County. That support was through funding positions, funding for children to support well being, activities, clothing, shoes, birthdays, school supplies and more!

Geographic areas served: Palm Beach County

Programs: Speak Up for Kids supports the GAL program. The GAL program provides community advocates and professional staff to create a powerful voice on behalf of children in the dependency system. Guardian ad Litem Volunteers (GALs) are trained, court-appointed advocates for children who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected. They are provided to investigate a child’s situation, monitor parties involved, report all findings, advocate for the child’s best interest and facilitate needed services to ensure successful development, the right to a safe and permanent home, and create a better future for these children. The GAL takes the opportunity to be a truly dedicated volunteer by meeting with the child’s relatives, school teachers, foster parents, and others involved in that child’s life. But most importantly, the GAL will also meet with the child in order to reassure them that they are there to be a trusted person in their lives and to help them with whatever they may need. We team up with the Guardian ad Litem Program to ensure kids that children in the dependency system have what they need, from resources within the community, to experience as close to a normal life as they can while in the system.  This includes providing them with a volunteer, a wide range of services, educational support, and extracurricular activities such as summer camp, retrieving band instruments, sporting equipment, tickets to school activities such as dances and prom, etc.

Community Stories

33 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

David K.11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been to many Speak Up for Kids events and fundraisers. Each time I've had fun knowing the difference this not for profit is making in the lives of so many children. No matter the even their dedication and enthusiasm always fills the room with joy and purpose. I'm proud to be associated with Colleen and the other volunteers of Speak Up. I look forward to the next time we are all able to get together.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Speak Up For Kids is a stellar organization that excels at ensuring that the Guardian ad Litem program has the resources to do the significant work of child advocacy.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The staff is amazing and they helped get me resources I desperately needed.

Michelle C.13

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Speak Up For Kids does an amazing job every year coordinating the holiday toy drive, Storybook Village, and all kinds of other fundraisers. Coleen LaCosta is an amazing human being who does tremendous work providing support to the Guardian ad Litem Program, Early Childhood Court and Therapeutic Court. Speak Ups employees and Boards dedication to the most vulnerable children in Palm Beach County is unsurpassed.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A couple of colleagues and I have seen the wonders of this program in action. They truly Speak Up For Kids and change their lives with giving them resources they need. I was able to give some children some sci books, and a tablet thanks to this organization. Through such a tough time its great to see action being taken.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great organization supporting the most vulnerable and at risk kids in Florida. The staff are dedicated, hardworking and great to work with. As a retired attorney, I am stunned at the number of unrepresented children and the need for Guardians ad Litem to speak up for them.

2 Jonathan B.2

Advisor

Rating: 5

Speak Up For Kids does things for children that are far beyond just words. I personally have seen the faces on childrens faces light up. Working in unison with Guardian Ad Litem they are an unstoppable force for advocacy. The volunteers and staff are hard working, and so motivated to meet the needs of these children. At such a young age some of the unfortunate things happening in there lives are truly devastating. With the amazing work from Speak Up For Kids this gives them a ray of light in such a dark time in there lives. I'm truly blessed to be a part of it, and can happily say what Speak Up does helps change lives for the better.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a Guardian Ad Litem and it's been very rewarding so far. I'm new and have only been actively serving my community in this capacity for over six months. The system can be very taxing for all those involved and Speak Up For Kids helps to fill in some of the rough patches the kids might be going through during a very trying time.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a Guardian ad Litem Volunteer Child Advocate since 2016 and have seen the impact of the GAL Program and its dedicated nonprofit, Speak Up for Kids.

Any day is a bad day for a child to be removed from their home, and sometimes it happens at the very worst time- right before a family vacation, holiday, birthday, first day of school, field trip, prom, graduation. Usually the foster home is in a new zip code which can mean a change in social routine, a new community, and a new school; the kids miss their family, their own bed, pets, friends, neighbors, teachers, coaches.

The Guardian ad Litem advocates for the best interest of the child and pushes for the child to return home as soon as safely possible. Speak Up for Kids supports the GAL Program by ensuring the Volunteer Child Advocates are equipped with all the resources we need to best serve the children. By celebrating a child's milestones and special occasions, SUFK makes it possible for these children to feel like 'a normal kid' while navigating the foster care system.

2 Zara B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is an essential component for Guardians Ad Litems. Speak Up For Kids of Palm Beach County provides two essential categories of support that we need to do our volunteer roles. Speak Up For Kids of Palm Beach County gives us access to preparation and continuing education for our roles in helping kids in the court system. Simultaneously, it provides information about resources to meet the needs of the children, foster families and other caregivers. Speak Up for Kids of Palm Beach County is our link to food, clothing, and opportunities for learning and recreation for these kids.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love working with Speak Up For Kids to help my GAL kids. They're such a valuable resource not only of funding but of connections to resources and activities for my kids. Take my kid who needed a kindle to be able to listen to books because the trauma he has been through makes it hard for him to concentrate on the written word. Through my speak up connection, we found a donor and then speak up is helping with the cost of the online subscription. My "kid" wants to listen to business books and podcasts as he plans to be a future property investor.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Speak Up for Kids is an incredible organization with an amazing Executive Director, Coleen, and a team that is truly passionate about their work and 100 % in it for the children. There is such an incredible need for assistance to this community of dependent children that is often overlooked. These children just want a sense of normalcy, a feeling of belonging, and a safe place to sleep. Speak Up for Kids works hand in hand with the Guardian ad Litem volunteers to ensure that children's desires are met. The "desires" that these kids request are what some would consider as regular life events, such as going to prom, playing on a baseball team, taking piano lessons or even attending class field trips.

In addition to supporting the staff and hundreds of volunteers that work tirelessly to ensure the safety of state-dependent children, Speak Up also helps provides for the desires of these children, so they can simply enjoy life as a kid.

Thank you Speak Up for Kids for bringing so much joy to so many children!

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Speak Up for Kids has been amazing in supporting and empowering our kids in the 15th Circuit's Therapeutic Court. They always start with "Yes" if it means a better outcome for our kids. Coleen is a true champion for our vulnerable kids in Palm Beach County. If you want to have an immediate and long-lasting impact on the lives of children who need it the most, look no further.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been with the gal program for twenty years and since speak up for kids has been started it has made a big difference in the programs ability to provide for the children the program advocates for. They have found funding for Lawyers and cams. They also provided funds for the children’s therapy, camps athletic equipment. They found funding for staff to attend national conferences in child welfare related fields. Speak up for kids is very supportive of all in defers of the Guardian ad litem program.

2 Christie G.3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Speak Up for Kids is such a wonderful organization for the children in PB Cty foster care system and for the GAL program. If it weren't for them Guardian ad Litem would have all the necessary tools to help those children in the program. SUFK fundraises, acquires grants and sponsorships, help hire employees and is always there for support. We are grateful for them

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Coleen LaCosta is a true Saint. Her tireless efforts in helping the children of Palm Beach is infectious. Through Speak up For Kids and Guardian ad Litem, she has taken the time to speak with me about more ways to help out. We find ourselves fortunate to have the lives we live, but the children that are abused, and neglected are often forgotten. Colleen LaCosta and her partner in crime, Diana Reese, work tirelessly to inform and educate the public . These two have inspired to give more and to become more involved. It’s not what you got, but what you give. So if you can volunteer in one way or another, they would be eternally grateful.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Excellent non profit led with passion by Coleen LaCosta. Speak Up is always there to help fill in the gaps for the most vulnerable children in our county. They are dedicated, caring, and compassionate people and countless children's lives have been enhanced by their hard work. They assist in all areas with the focus always on what is best for the child. Keep up the great work!

2 Lynn Peterson G.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This fabulous organization led by Coleen LaCosta and her passionate Board of Directors continues to demonstrate their ability to empower a community to advocate, care and support abused and neglected children in Palm Beach County. I can think of no greater champions for these children and I am inspired by the work they do. They are changing lives - for the children - and for the community they serve. I love Speak Up for Kids for all that they stand for and all that they do! Kudos to this incredible group of dedicated people!

2 Mary L.6

Donor

Rating: 5

I admit it, I am partial to this charity. I came to know it through my friend, Coleen LaCosta. She is the ED and her passion and enthusiasm is CONTAGIOUS! Speak Up supports the GAL Program and they advocate for abused children in/for their best interest. Working in partnership with GAL director, Michelle, they have been doing some incredibly innovative things to help these kids. Sprinkle in Shaw - a driving force behind the scenes on the Speak Up board and these ladies are unstoppable. #advocacyinaction #forcesofchange #greatcharity

2 SarahBrownell

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Great nonprofit! We participate in StoryBook Village & they rock it with Ms. Ellen & the GALs! Next year 2020 is "What I want to Be When I Grow Up Theme" - yay! Looking forward to another great event for our community!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Great charity! Supports the Guardian ad litem & the kids they advocate for. My 'child' needed therapy not covered by her insurance & SUFK covered it! Thanks SUFK

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a Guardian ad Litem volunteer. We are referred to as GALS, and our job is to get to know the children and their parents and then to let the court know what is in the best interest of that child. Our partner in this endeavor is the fund raiser SPEAK UP FOR KIDS. Without their help and support we could never accomplish all the extra and special things we do for our kids. They help fund additional staff, so that we have enough people to do the job correctly. In addition they supply the little extras that mean so much to a child that has been removed from his family and feels totally alone. I have gone to them for the extra gift of the high school graduation ring, or scholarship money to send a young girl to a very special conference in Washington. When we have a child who would benefit by having riding lessons, art lessons, music lessons, or even the musical instrument that is not available by any other means. SPEAK UP FOR KIDS works continually raising enough money to make sure that the children who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned have what they need.

2

Advisor

Rating: 5

Speak up is a fantastic non-profit that helps us at the Guardian ad Litem Program better serve our foster youth. Not only do they help with every day things like shoes and clothes for our youth, they also understand the need for our kids to continue to lead normal lives. Whether that means helping pay for a youth to play a team sport, go on a school trip, or go to prom, Speak Up is there to support Palm Beach youth in having those experiences. They are also there for the more serious things, such as getting better trauma and mental health service for the youth that have those needs as well. Speak Up has helped so many of our kids, and will continue to support our advocacy.

2

Advisor

Rating: 5

Speak Up is an integral support for the Guardian ad Litem Program. With there assistance we have been able to advocate for more kids who by no fault of there own end up in the dependency (foster care) system. They continually support the needs of our children by providing assistance with all kinds of requests including, sporting equipment, dance lessons, therapeutic horse riding lessons, trips to Washington DC and much more.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Speak Up for Kids helps volunteers advocate for children who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected by providing infrastructure to the Guardian ad Litem Program. They also provide funding for what we call "normalcy" - things like sports, camps, arts, and even special event clothing. Caring for these children is truly a community partnership and Speak Up for Kids makes a differences for our future leaders every day!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Speak Up for Kids of Palm Beach County is an incredible organization supporting the heart and soul of the Guardian ad Litem program. Volunteer GALs across the county, including me, have come to depend on Speak Up to provide essential resources and fund allocation for child victims of abuse, abandonment, and neglect. Without them, my advocacy efforts as a volunteer would be severely hindered. Thankful for them each day as I watch the kids I advocate for blossom and bloom.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been presented hundreds of charities, and there is no more powerful IMPACT I have seen to TRANSFORM the future and face of our community, one child’s life at a time, than Speak Up for Kids. Through Volunteer Child Advocates of the Guardian ad Litem program, Speak Up for Kids is seeing the cycles of abuse, crime, violence and neglect broken for good! It’s amazing. $ for $ I have not found in over 15 years of service in the community and more EFFECTIVE and POWERFUL philanthropic investment of $s and people doing good. Period.

2 Yasmine L.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Great charity, great team. SpeakUp! helped my child get registered for football, then helped with the uniforms and travel costs. He got a scholarship! #goknights! Forever grateful.

2 Kathleen L.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My favorite charity! I volunteer here and the good they do for foster kids is incredible. They support the Guardian ad Litem Program, but what I see is the impact they make on the kids. Helping to advocate for the best interest includes all the things that make kids normal (holiday gifts, prom, Leap Frog learning games, hearing aid for a deaf child, therapy). Keep speaking up Speak Up!

2 Brad A.

Client Served

Rating: 5

When you need support for your kids Speak Up For Kids is there! I volunteer there, and also get my families and kids things they need. In a time when funding is tight they help! Therapy, prom, school needs, visitations, helping reunify, helping adopt, diapers, cloths, they even provided one of my kids with the first birthday he ever had.

2

Advisor

Rating: 5

Speak Up for Kids is an amazing non-profit that works side-by-side with the Guardian ad Litem program in Palm Beach County. I enjoy being provided the opportunity to work with this program in helping children in the dependency system that have suffered from abandonment, abuse and neglect. The most important aspect of this program is that the goal is to provide these children with a chance at a normal childhood despite the setbacks they have experienced at such a young age. I love working with this program as I personally have witnessed the happiness of child when they know that people love, care and support them no matter what.

2 Danette Pate M.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have had the pleasure of experiencing the impact that Speak Up for Kids has on their children. There is not a better and more effective way to make a difference in your community. SU4K really and truly supports the Guardian ad Litem program. Speak Up for Kids gives the GALs the means to advocate, nurture, and create normalcy for these tiny victims of parental neglect, abuse, and abandonment. Working with Speak Up for Kids, PBC is one of the highest honors I have in my life.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with this charity for about a year now. I have watched overworked underpaid staff work long hours to help children in need. And they love what they do. The pour out everything they have to help support the Guardian et Lidum progam and speak for kids. I have been to many events where they tell the public about the needs of the programs too. They tell story after story of how kids lives have been turned around for the better. I feel priveledged to call these people my friends now and love working with the group at every chance I get.