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In addition to providing legal services, Henderson Franklin attorneys are involved in numerous community organizations throughout Southwest Florida. Over the next few weeks, we will be letting our blog readers get to know the members of our Condominium and Homeowners’ Association group a little better by sharing some of the exciting organizations and events we have been involved in.

PuopoloToday, meet Shannon Puopolo. Not only does Shannon handle association and real estate litigation matters, including collections and foreclosures, and other commercial litigation matters, she serves on boards of several local organizations, including the Guardian Ad Litem Foundation. Shannon gives the highlights of the Foundation’s signature event of the year for us in her latest blog:

Many Americans enjoy the annual tradition of watching the Kentucky Derby. Some even partake in dressing the part, by putting on their finest hats, bowties, and pastel-colored clothing. In Southwest Florida, the community combines this time-honored tradition with a charitable cause – namely, raising money for at-risk youth in our legal system.

On Saturday, May 7th, the Guardian ad Litem Foundation (“GALF”) held its annual Viva La Derby Party, which raises money to support, recruit, and train volunteers who advocate for abused, neglected and abandoned children in the child welfare and court system.

GALF’s mission is to ensure every abused, neglected, and abandoned child in Southwest Florida has a Guardian ad Litem volunteer (GAL) and every GAL has access to financial assistance and resources available for meeting the child’s health, educational and social needs. GALF also runs the Kids Being Kids Program, which provides children in the dependency system with a sense of normalcy, by providing a warm, cozy bed, a birthday party, emergency/supplemental clothing, dues for sports, arts, or social clubs, academic tutoring, summer camps, and medical needs.

I have been fortunate enough to serve on the GALF Board for the past three years, and am currently serving as the Board’s Vice President. For the past two years, Henderson Franklin has supported the Viva La Derby Party as the “Hat Contest” Sponsor. As part of its sponsorship commitment, Henderson Franklin’s attorneys chose finalists to compete in the contest and awarded prizes for the “Best Overall Hat,” “Most Beautiful Hat” and “Most Creative Hat.” As you can see from the photos, the finalists brought their “A” games and showed up to win!

From left to right: Shannon Puopolo, Esq., Nick Stokke, Kayla Richmond, Esq., John Miller, Esq., Suzanne Boy, Esq., John Agnew, Esq., Julie Harmon, Jane Kelly and Carlos Kelly, Esq.

If you would like more information about GALF, or to learn what you can do to help, please visit