In collaboration with Jewish Family Service, the Volunteer Guardian Program completed its second year and is positively changing lives in Summit County. Under the direction of Judge Stormer, the Probate Court, in collaboration with the County Executive’s Office, the Department of Public Health, the ADM Board and the Summit DD Board, this program provides trained legal guardians to serve as advocates and surrogate decision-makers for those under the guardianship of Probate Court. Due to the aging population, the demand for court appointed guardians increases every year.
“We are excited that this innovative program is making a positive difference to those in need and to the volunteers that have stepped up,” says Gizelle Jones, executive director of Jewish Family Service.
Since the first training held last July, the program now has almost 80 active volunteers handling one or two cases each. “We limit the amount of cases to only one or two per person,” said J.J. Mesko-Kimmich, director of volunteers. “We want our volunteers to be able to concentrate on their families and continue to enjoy their role as a volunteer guardian. The program and volunteers are making a big impact.”
The goal is to support the volunteer through the process. So the Volunteer Guardian Program provides initial and ongoing training, background checks, and networking.
“We have an amazing group of volunteers, but we still need more to join our team,” says Mesko-Kimmich. “We are always looking for those that have a desire to make a difference in a person’s life.”
To learn more about the Volunteer Guardian Program, contact the JFS Volunteer Guardian Program Director of Volunteers, J.J. Mesko-Kimmich, at 330-867-3388 or firstname.lastname@example.org.