Around one hundred and fifty people were in attendance at the Complex in Bonham for a 30th Anniversary celebration and to honor the volunteers and partners of the Fannin County Children’s Center. Attendees included CASA advocates, investigators, prosecutors, therapists, forensic interviewers, caseworkers, attorneys, district judge, donors, board members and other volunteers and professionals involved in the child welfare and criminal justice systems in Fannin County.
Kelly LeBrun was named as the CASA Advocate of the Year. LeBrun has been a CASA advocate since 2017. CASA Program Director Julie Luton described she has experienced many joys, disappointments, successes and struggles along the way as she has advocated for 10 cases of children in foster care. LeBrun often worked two cases at a time and drove more than 9,000 miles in her volunteer work over the years.
Cody Shook with the Savoy Police Department was selected as the Multidisciplinary Team Member of the Year for the Children’s Advocacy Center. Members of the multidisciplinary team, which includes professionals from CPS, law enforcement, prosecution, medical and mental health, nominated and voted on the team member of the year. Assistant District Attorney Jessica Arnold and CPS investigator Shaterra Gunn were recognized for being finalists for the team member of the year award too. CPS Investigator Cody Trauer’s service dog Mathew received the “Goodest Boy Award” for bringing joy everywhere he goes.
Keira Prior was named the Children’s Center Volunteer of the Year. Volunteer Coordinator Kesly Chacon described how Prior volunteers with the annual School Supply and Christmas Drives and other ways around the office. Her cheerful smile and willingness to help get tasks completed in the Rainbow Rooms and around the center are greatly appreciated.
Executive Director Sandy Barber recognized current and previous board members and staff members of the Children’s Center as well as presented four Community Partner Awards. These awards were given to Fannin Bank, TXB/McCraw Oil, Glaser Family Charitable Foundation and 336th District Judge Blake. Each of these award winners have been dedicated partners with the Children’s Center in the pursuit of their mission of promoting safety and improving the lives of abused and neglected children and have helped the center reach its 30 year milestone.
Jenna Quinn was the guest speaker for the evening. She is a survivor of child sexual abuse who benefitted from a Children’s Advocacy Center in Texas. She shared some of her personal story and thanked all who were in attendance for the role they play in helping victims of abuse to recover. Quinn is also the namesake for “Jenna’s laws” which were first passed in 2009 in Texas to require child sexual abuse prevention education for students, teachers and caregivers.
The award-winning Bonham High School Choir, which recently returned from a trip to Nashville, entertained guests with a variety of songs at the beginning of the celebration. Paris Health Care Express provided a photo booth for guests. The catered dinner was served by the board members of the Children’s Center.