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Bedz for Kids receives monetary support

May 8, 2015
By BOB PETCHER ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Bedz for Kids is able to continue its mission now that a local women's organization has selected the charity program as a beneficiary for its annual donation contest.

100+ Women Who Care of Southwest Florida chose the Guardian ad Litem-administered program during a process that involved new members, a successful pitch and contributed funds.

Beach Realtor Cynthia Shafer joined the Naples-based group of women earlier this year and submitted Bedz for Kids, a program she founded locally, as her favorite charity. The Lahaina Realty employee was required to submit three $100 checks (one each in January, February and March) for donation purposes when she joined the group. That money, combined with other donations, enabled the name of the nonprofit program to be among three drawn from a basket in March.

Shafer then pitched Bedz for Kids, and it was voted to receive the collection of 130 individual checks of $100 that totaled $13,000.

"I feel very lucky, and I am really happy," said Shafer. "All the new women put their charity names in a hat and three were selected. They then had five minutes to explain about their charity and one was chosen."

The Bedz for Kids program provides a warm cozy bed and bedding for children who have been removed from their parents' care as a result of abuse or neglect. These children are then placed in the care of a relative or foster home and assigned a Guardian ad Litem volunteer advocate. Bedz for Kids is among three programs that the GAL Foundation-20th Judicial Circuit raises funds for and administers on behalf of the Guardian ad Litem Program of Southwest Florida.

"We deliver beds to any child in foster care that has a guardian," said Shafer. "So, every Saturday for the last 14 years, we deliver anywhere from one to 20 beds in five counties, Charlotte, Lee, Collier, Hendry and Glades. Without the support of the people in the community, it gets tough."

Shafer is an honorary board member of the GAL Foundation. She has been president-CEO for Bedz for Kids for more than 20 years and is also involved in Voices For Kids of Southwest Florida, Inc.

100+ Women Who Care of Southwest Florida delivered the checks to the GAL Foundation office on April 2. Officials for 100+ also stated that, due to a partnership with another foundation this year, all of the group's donations will be matched. So far, the total for matching funds is $9,800.

Kathleen Davey, president of the GAL Foundation board and Dean Emeritus of Florida Gulf Coast University, confirmed the donation and the matching funds. The Schulzes headed the donor advised funds of the Community Foundation of Collier County. More funds may come in.

"We appreciate it greatly, because we have already expended more towards beds this year than was in the budget for this year," said Davey. "This will help us meet that deficit and provide for beds in the future."

The mission of the Guardian ad Litem Program of Southwest Florida is to raise funds so that every abused, neglected or abandoned child in Southwest Florida may be paired with a GAL volunteer advocate whose role is to represent the best interests of the child until a safe, permanent placement can be achieved and so every GAL volunteer may access financial assistance and resources on behalf of the child and not provided by any other source.

The mission of 100+ Women Who Care of Southwest Florida is to have a significant impact on the local community by raising dollars in an efficient, stress-free manner, with no overhead, and no administrative costs. It accomplishes such an endeavor by recruiting 100 women who support the organization by committing to a $100 donation three times a year. The donation goes to a local charity which is voted on by the membership. All charities and organizations eligible for consideration must be a 501(c)3 not-for-profit group and must serve the Southwest Florida community.



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