After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Florida Atlantic University, Judge John Bowman went on to receive his JD from St. Thomas University, and in 2002, he was elected to the position of circuit civil judge in Ft. Lauderdale. As an active public servant, Judge John Bowman received the Community Advocate of the Year award in 2007 from the Florida Guardian ad Litem program (GAL), an organization whose mission is to give a voice to children.
GAL volunteers must undergo training to learn how to advocate effectively for children who have been taken away from their families due to abuse or neglect. Volunteer advocates may be attorneys, welfare professionals, or community members, and their job is to advocate in court for children who are often scared and too young to navigate the legal system alone.
GAL provides volunteers with a variety of training and resource opportunities. Topics and certifications include promoting normalcy for foster youth, child welfare and human trafficking, transitioning foster youth to permanency, and navigating Medicaid, as well as other information relevant to children in foster care. Training may be done via instructional videos, state and local conferences, and online learning modules to equip volunteers for the role of court advocate.