Several years ago, Lori Sizemore-Warren read about an organization in California that gives duffle bags to foster kids going through foster care. Many people do not realize when a child is removed from their home and put into the foster care program, they are, many times, removed with short notice, even though it is for their safety. However, without a suitcase or a duffle bag, many children have to put their belongings in a trash bag in order to take their things with them. What a sobering implication. My things are trash. Am I trash too? Many times the people removing these children from their home are law enforcement officers. This burdened Lori’s heart and she began to explore opportunities to help children in her area. She attended classes on how to start a 501c3, researched several ideas and explored other non-profits. However, nothing felt right.
The need has never been greater than it is right now for the citizens of a community to understand the importance of our law enforcement. Police officers and deputies are afforded a great opportunity throughout their careers to interact with children in many settings. Unfortunately, they aren’t always good. Can you imagine having to remove a child from their home because of abuse, neglect or because their parents are doing drugs? These are things law enforcement officers face every day.
Wanting to help, Lori started the My Guardian Angel Project. Her firm donates a portion of the proceeds from each deposition to purchase backpacks. They are distributing the backpacks to city and county law enforcement officers across the state to keep in the trunk of their patrol cars. In the event that a child has to be removed from their home in an emergency situation or from an accident scene, the officer will have a backpack to give the child to keep their belongings in.
While this may seem like a small gesture, it is has great implications. The backpack will serve as a tool to carry their things in, but it also gives them something to call their own. Something they can keep. Emblazoned on the front of the backpack is a halo and angel wings with the words “My Guardian Angel.” The kids will never know who Lori Sizemore-Warren is, nor Alabama Court Reporting®. They may not remember the name of the officer that gave it to them. But, hopefully, when they see their backpack, they will remember that the officer was kind and made them feel safe. He or she was their guardian angel in a very difficult time, and being a “Guardian of the Record,” it suddenly felt right.
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