EU Gives Foster Children A Night of Inspiration

Cheers and laughter echoed throughout the Jacksonville Arena last month as the Harlem Globetrotters took their antics to the court. But for a special group of foster children in section 108, this otherwise typical tour stop proved to be a rare and inspiring experience both on and off the court.

Child Advocate Garry Bevel was one of the dozens of volunteers, staff and foster children from the Guardian ad Litem program seated in section 108. One row ahead, he heard an 8-year-old little boy exclaim, “This is awesome!” and then watched as the child leaned over to whisper a wide-eyed thank you to his own volunteer advocate.

“Those types of moments resonate so deeply with children, especially foster children, because so many of them don’t ever get the chance to participate in these activities,” said Bevel. “You can almost watch the hope and positivity ignite inside them.”

Prior to the show, the children also received a private meet-and-greet with the Harlem Globetrotters team, donated by EU Jacksonville. Melinda Brown, Circuit Director of the GAL program, said the response to the opportunity was nearly double what she usually sees for ticket requests. Because the child advocate volunteers work so closely with the children in the dependency system, Brown believes that the volunteers were uniquely positioned to recognize the impact that the once-in-a-lifetime experience could have on the children they serve.

Taneskei Richardson plays WBCBL semi-professional basketball with the Florida Lady Knighthawks and has been a GAL child advocate for 1 year, currently overseeing two children’s cases with the program. Because of her conscious relationship with the children, she jumped at the opportunity to bring them to the event.

“We talk a lot of basketball on our visits. I knew it would be something they’d remember for a long time,” said Richardson.”

“Our amazing volunteers truly become heroes to their children,” said Brown. “That’s why we say ‘Every child needs a hero. Abused, abandoned and neglected children need superheroes!’”

About Guardian ad Litem – Founded in 1979, the Guardian ad Litem program is the exclusive advocate for children in the Clay, Nassau and Duval County court systems. Volunteer guardians ad Litem are court-appointed special advocates (CASA) whose sole job is to serve as the voice of the child. The Guardian ad Litem Foundation of Florida’s First Coast, Inc. supports the program through volunteer recruiting and training and provides simple necessities like shoes, clothing and school supplies. To learn more about Guardian ad Litem, donate or become an advocate volunteer, visit