Many thanks to everyone who contributes to our center and makes our work possible!
- Great Gatsby! Great Night! November 14, 2018
Justice Is Served – Honorable servers who served up dinner for guests at the Justice Is Served fundraiser for the Fannin County Children’s Center included (front row, from left) Fannin County Clerk Tammy Biggars, Adult Probation Chief Debra Roberts, 336th District Judge Lauri Blake, Fannin County District Clerk Nancy Young, Whitewright ISD Police Chief Judy Sims, (back row, from left) Juvenile Probation Chief Brandon Caffee, Fannin County Judge Spanky Carter, Justice of the Peace, Pct 2 Bob Clemons, Texas State Senator Bob Hall, Trenton Police Chief William Robertson, Honey Grove Police Chief Leigh Dixon, Justice of the Peace, Pct 3 Kenneth Karl, County Court at Law Judge Charles Butler, Fannin County Criminal District Attorney Richard Glaser and Fannin County Sheriff Mark Johnson.
Early estimates are that the 14th Annual “Justice Is Served” fundraiser raised at least $65,000 for the Fannin County Children’s Center. This amount tops the previous best of $55,000 from last year. In addition, attendance was the largest ever, with nearly 500 in attendance at the dinner and auction at the Complex in Bonham.
This year’s theme was The Great Gatsby. Many guests were wearing flapper dresses, pearl necklaces, feathered headbands, fedora hats and bow ties. State Senator Bob Hall, District Judge Lauri Blake, Fannin County Judge Spanky Carter, Fannin County Sheriff Mark Johnson and several local officials of the justice system served up dinner guests. The James Dering band played jazz music while guests bid on around 200 items in the silent auction.
Fannin County Game Warden Randolph McGee was the auctioneer for the evening. Judge Lauri Blake’s turtle brownies were the first item up for bid in the live auction and brought in $1050. A custom built entry way gate from Jason Garner Welding tied for the top bid in the live auction, bringing in $2,600 for the nonprofit. A one-of-a-kind bar with headlights that worked that was created by Tracey Lackey, Shawn Fulton, Jim McDonald and Brenda Magness also brought in $2,600.
“This year’s event was amazing!” said Sandy Barber, Executive Director of the Children’s Center. “Once again, the Fannin County community turned out in force this year. It is always inspiring and encouraging to see so much wonderful support for the children we serve. We are so grateful to everyone who played a part in making this event so successful, including our sponsors, auction donors, board, volunteers and staff. The money raised will help us keep up with the growing demand for our services.”
All proceeds from the event will sustain all of the support services provided by the Children’s Center for abused and neglected children, including CASA and the Children’s Advocacy Center.
- TMC Volunteers Donate October 3, 2018
Texoma Medical Center Volunteers recently donated $23,500 to the Fannin County Children’s Center. This generous gift, combined with a generous gift from the TMC Bonham Hospital Volunteers will allow the Children’s Center to purchase a very special camera and computer system that can be used in cases of physical and sexual abuse, as well as domestic violence.
Initially, this camera will be used by investigators with CPS and law enforcement in Fannin County to document bruises and other physical injuries. In the future, the Children’s Center plans to build a new facility and include a medical exam room for non-emergency sexual assault exams. The special camera and system can be used in those exams too. The donations will also cover the costs for training for investigators and on-going technical support.
Currently, victims in Fannin County must travel to neighboring counties for specialized medical exams for physical and sexual assaults. “This wonderful gift will help us take a huge step forward in helping victims get this needed service closer to home,” said Sandy Barber with the Children’s Center. “It will also help our investigators be more efficient in their investigations. We are very grateful to the volunteers at both TMC in Denison and Bonham for joining forces to make this happen.”
- Children’s Center Volunteers Honored September 28, 2018
The Fannin County Children’s Center recently held a banquet at First Baptist in Bonham to honor all the volunteers who contribute their time and talents to the local nonprofit organization who serves abused and neglected children.
Michelle Hoops and Phyllis Kinnaird took home the top honors for the CASA program as they were named CASA Volunteers of the Year. Each woman has devoted many hours and driven many miles to visit children in foster care and speak up for them in court and other settings. Both have worked cases that were not easy. Their perseverance has made a difference for their CASA kids.
Tony Winkler earned the honor for the Children’s Center Volunteer of the Year for all his efforts helping around the center. Volunteer Coordinator Andrea Lappin sang his praises for all the ways he helps around the center, including organizing the Rainbow Room, giving away school supplies and many other tasks around the office.
Marta Schreiber was given the CASA Super Star Award for her 19 years of dedicated service as a CASA advocate for children in foster care. Mike Nejtek was awarded the Team Player award for his efforts to pull together all the parties involved in the life of his CASA child to make things start happening for his child. Ray McGovern and Jarrett Tucker both won the CASA Rookie of the Year awards because they have both done excellent work in their first year of becoming CASA advocates.
Kimberly Coffey won the Rainbow Room Volunteer of the Year award for her faithful efforts to come each week to organize and straighten up the clothing, shoes, diapers and other items in the Rainbow Room. Cassidy Barber was given the School Supply Drive Volunteer of the Year award for the many hours she cheerfully gives each year to shopping, organizing and preparing bags for the annual school supply drive. Richard Mattison was honored with the “Get the Job Done” award for all the tasks he completes around the center on a regular basis, including lawn care, changing light bulbs and air filters, cooking meals and more.
All volunteers and board members were recognized and thanked for their service after enjoying a meal catered by The Breakfast Stop. Newly elected board president Brenda Magness welcomed everyone and thanked the volunteers for their service. 336th District Judge Lauri Blake expressed her appreciation for all that CASA volunteers do for the children in foster care. For more information about volunteer opportunities at the Children’s Center, click here
For more photos, check out our Facebook page photo album.
- North Texas Giving Day a Huge Success in Fannin County! September 24, 2018
Nearly $25,000 was raised in one day for nine nonprofits in Fannin County on North Texas Giving Day. This year marked the tenth year of this community wide fundraising event hosted by Communities Foundation of Texas. It was the first year for the event to include Fannin County, Grayson County and a few other counties surrounding Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.
In all, nearly 2,700 nonprofits participated in North Texas Giving Day on September 20, 2018. A grand total of more than $48 million was raised, which was $9 million more than last year. In Fannin County alone, 144 donations to 9 organizations totaled up to $24,414.
The nine nonprofits in Fannin County who participated included Bonham Education Foundation, Bonham High School Band Boosters, Chi Lambda, Fannin County Children’s Center, Fannin Health Clinic, Fannin Pregnancy Care Center, Morning Star Academy, SMAS Patient Assistance and The Isaiah’s Closet.
The Children’s Center raised an amazing $9,366. These funds will be designated to go to a future building fund. As the demands for the services provided at the center have increased dramatically, the number of people working and volunteering at the center have increased. A new, larger space is needed to have room for all of the services and programs offered by the center, as well as space for partner representatives from CPS, law enforcement, prosecution and medical professionals.
North Texas Giving Day is powered by Communities Foundation of Texas, a 65-year-old community foundation that has presented North Texas Giving Day since 2009. The foundation professionally manages more than 1,000 charitable funds for families, companies, foundations and nonprofits and has awarded more than $1.8 billion in grants since its founding in 1953.
North Texas Giving Day is a community-wide celebration and an event that lifts up giving by engaging the entire community to support local nonprofits, celebrating their important role in strengthening the region. It is also an efficient way for charitable organizations to raise funding for critical services to support North Texans. For more about North Texas Giving Day, go to www.northtexasgivingday.org.
- 2018 School Supply Report August 27, 2018
Many children went back to school with supplies, thanks to a generous community and some hard-working volunteers and staff at a local non-profit agency. The Fannin County Children’s Center gave school supplies to 515 students from all over the county.
This year was the 22nd year in a row that the Children’s Center has provided free school supplies to needy families. This year’s number of students served was down a little over last year when 588 students were assisted.
“Once again, this effort would not be possible without so many generous donors, as well as our dedicated volunteers and staff,” said Sandy Barber, Executive Director of the Children’s Center. Many local individuals, families, churches, businesses and other organizations contributed pencils, crayons, markers, paper, notebooks, cash and other items to the project. Several individual volunteers and several church groups volunteered their time to organize and prepare supplies for the distribution.
- TMC Bonham Auxiliary Helping Victims of Abuse August 21, 2018
“We are so grateful to this dedicated group for being so generous in their support of victims of abuse,” said Barber. The gift will be used to help purchase a very special camera that will be used in specialized medical exams for victims of abuse in Fannin County. Currently, victims of abuse must travel to neighboring counties for these specialized exams. Purchasing the camera will be the first of several steps to bringing these exams closer to victims in Fannin County.
When someone has been traumatized by physical and/or sexual abuse, getting a medical exam from a professional with specialized training is critical to the healing and pursuit of justice for the victim. Having to travel long distances to access that service can be a barrier to seeking treatment. “Bringing this service closer to home will not only help victims, but also our partners in law enforcement and CPS,” said Barber. Having this camera locally will allow investigators to save time and be more efficient in getting the photos needed.
- Masons Helping Kids August 13, 2018
Several members of the Constantine Lodge #13 AF & AM stopped by the Fannin County Children’s Center to present a check for $1,500. This donation was for the center’s 22nd annual school supply drive. “We are very grateful for such a generous donation!” said Sandy Barber, Executive Director of the Children’s Center. “This gift will buy lots of paper, pens, notebooks and more to help children in Fannin County be ready for the start of another school year.”
This school drive is open to all needy kids in Fannin County. Families in need can come to the Children’s Center at 112 W. 5th in Bonham on August 14, 15 or 24 from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon or 2:00 to 5:00 pm to sign up and receive supplies. Parents or other caregivers should bring the child’s social security card and some proof of need, such as Medicaid card, food stamps or paycheck stub.
In all, the agency has given out free school supplies to more than 9,700 students in the last 21 years. Organizers expect to serve 500-700 students again this year. This effort depends on contributions from many different individuals, churches, businesses and other local organizations.
- 10 New CASA Advocates! July 23, 2018
Ten local people recently completed training and were sworn-in to become volunteer CASA advocates for children in foster care. The Honorable Judge Lauri Blake of the 336th District Court administered the oath to the new volunteers. New child advocates include Karen Wright, Morgan Lewis, Tammy Hutchings, Anita Dettmer, James Crawford, Taylor Stephenson, Teresa Massie, Machaella Dennis, Megan Towery and Nicole Brown.
“We are thrilled to welcome this big group of advocates to our team,” said Sandy Barber with the Fannin County Children’s Center, which includes the local CASA program. “We can now get back to serving all children in foster care from Fannin County with a trained volunteer advocate.”
In the year ending August 31, 2017, CASA served 118 children, which was a 42% increase over the previous year. In the first 10 months of the current fiscal year, CASA has already served 118 children. In fiscal year 2017, the number of court hearings CASA attended increased 74% and the number of active volunteers increased 68%.
All volunteers completed an intensive training class which prepares them to serve as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for children who have been removed from their home due to abuse and neglect. The district judge appoints CASA volunteers to serve as the Guardian ad Litem for each child who has been placed in the state’s custody. In that role, CASA advocates investigate the child’s situation, prepare written reports to the court and advocate for the child’s best interest in court hearings and other settings.
CASA is one program of several programs for abused and neglected children that are operated by the Fannin County Children’s Center. For more information call (903) 583-4339 or visit www.fanninccc.org.
- Successful 25th Anniversary Gala April 30, 2018
Around 250 people attended the 25th Anniversary Gala for the Fannin County Children’s Center. The Complex in Bonham was decorated in a silver theme, including silver balloons of stars and the numbers “25” for the silver anniversary celebration of the local non-profit that serves abused and neglected children.
Board president Kyra Barsi welcomed everyone to the event and board member Rev. Dana Coker gave the opening prayer. Executive Director Sandy Barber talked about how so much has been accomplished because so many individuals have done what they could do.
CASA was started by Paula Spindle, who had a dream of helping children involved in the court system. She recruited other individuals to serve as board members and volunteers and gained the support of the local courts and Child Protective Services. Over the years, the center continued to grow and expand to serve more children, including the addition of the Children’s Advocacy Center.
CASA Program Director Sandy Hood talked about how CASA volunteer have made a difference in the lives of children and recognized all of the current and former CASA volunteers in attendance. CAC Program Director Kassi Lightfoot recognized each of the partner agencies that make up the Children’s Advocacy Center and recognized all of the current and past multidisciplinary team members in attendance. Andrea Lappin who serves as the Administrative Assistant and Volunteer Coordinator talked about all the other ways volunteers contribute at the center, including wrapping Christmas presents, preparing and giving away school supplies, setting up and cleaning up for Justice Is Served, cleaning the center, helping with newsletters and more. She too, recognized all current and past volunteers in attendance. Barber spoke about the significant impact that the 336th District Judge, board members and staff members have made over the years and recognized the ones in attendance.
The center unveiled a new video that was created to tell the agency’s history, impact and dreams for the future. While guests enjoyed a delicious dinner, the Bonham High School jazz band played and a slide show of photos from the 25-year history of the center ran on continuous loop. Both the video and photo slide show are now posted on the center’s website.
President-elect Brenda Magness and Past President Bill Wilson are leading the center’s Facility Task Force that was formed last year. They spoke about the center’s dream of a new facility and all the work that has already gone into looking at other centers, talking to key stakeholders and making plans for a larger facility. They spoke about how the center has out-grown the current location and the dreams for the future facility.
- Art Contest Winners February 22, 2018
Eleven year old Grace Farrell of Bonham took home the top prize in the Open Your Heart Art Contest sponsored by the Fannin County Children’s Center. Farrell is a sixth grade student who is homeschooled. She won $100 and a blue ribbon for her artwork that will now be featured on the front of the Open Your Heart campaign cards.
Seven year old Rowan Davis won second place and will have her artwork featured on the inside of the cards. She won $50 and a red ribbon. Davis is a first grader at Morning Star Academy in Bonham.
The winning artwork will be featured in upcoming fundraising campaign for the Children’s Center. Funds raised will support all services provided by the center, including CASA, Children’s Advocacy Center and child abuse prevention efforts. As a non-profit, the center relies on grants and donations to be able to offer their services for no cost to victims of child abuse and neglect.