Scarecrow Stroll brings true heroes for needy children


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Friends of Children of Brevard and representatives of the Guardian Ad Litem program build Superhero Gal for the Scarecrow Stroll.

Adam Palumbo

Little things can make a big difference. For a child struggling to comprehend why the state has taken him away from his home, anything that brings a scrap of normalcy back into life is welcome.

Friends of Children of Brevard, the recipient of this year’s Scarecrow Stroll fundraiser, is all about providing normal activities for children who have been removed from the home environment because of abuse or neglect. The 100-percent, volunteer nonprofit has appropriately chosen a superhero theme for the crow they will create for the Stroll, a Viera Voice signature event.

“We’re using the theme of being a hero for a child,” said Brittany Levy, the vice president.

Seventeen board members, together with a handful of associate board members, spend the year fundraising to provide anything from sneakers to birthday cakes for the approximately 1,000 vulnerable youngsters in the Guardian Ad Litem program.

When the state deems it is in the child’s best interest to be removed from home, they turn to the children’s relatives, friends or licensed foster care homes. While the state covers the basics for the child, the interim caregivers might not have the financial resources to provide the little extras in life. The children often arrive with only the shirt on their backs.

“The state provides the necessities, but it can’t fund everything,” Levy said.

Friends of Children steps in to provide un-met needs, be it clothing, holiday gifts and even beds.

“Friends of Children are a critical part of helping kids remain kids,” said Carol Jewell, the director for Circuit Court District 18 of the Guardian Ad Litem program, which works closely with Friends of Children.

More than half of the Friends of Children members also are associated with Guardian Ad Litem, the volunteer child advocates who help Florida’s abused, abandoned and neglected children.

“It started many years ago with a few Harris Corporation employees asking how they could help,” Jewell said.

Brittany Levy joined the organization at the encouragement of her grandmother, 92-year-old Viera resident Esther Glaser, long active in Friends of Children.

“We raise funds to help these kids with everything from a summer camp to a prom dress or a cap and gown,” Levy said.

To make it all possible, the group hosts several fundraisers, including the Superhero 5K around The Avenue Viera. This year, the Scarecrow Stroll will infuse more funds into the program after the crows are auctioned off at the Oct. 19 Harvest Festival, when 100 percent of proceeds from the auction go to Friends of Children of Brevard.

The community is invited to “stroll” from Oct. 2 to 16 to see and vote for their favorite among the many unique crows created by local businesses and organizations, including Autumn House, Fairfield Inn and Suites, the Girl Scouts and the Art Gallery of Viera.   

For more on the Scarecrow Stroll, call 321-242-1235 or go to vieravoice.com.