Kudos Corner

Many thanks to everyone who contributes to our center and makes our work possible!

  • Why I Give! September 18, 2019

    We recently asked some of our biggest fans to share why they give of their time and resources to the Children’s Center.  Here are their stories!

    NTXGiveDay - Why I Give Garner

    Charlotte Garner
    I support the Fannin County Children’s Center because I believe there is no better cause to pour my resources into, than one that supports the youth in our own community. As a child, I watched my parents serve others and I strive to carry on that legacy. The Children’s Center is working hard to meet the growing demands of Fannin County. I would like to take this opportunity to challenge you to donate! Even $5 can go a long way in helping the Children’s Center meet the needs of the children they serve. When we work together as a community, we can accomplish great things!

    NTXGiveDay - Why I Give  MagnessBrenda Magness

    Why do I donate and volunteer at Fannin County Children’s Center?

    My daughter graduated college and accepted a position as a CPS investigator. Like most parents, we were excited! Little did we understand how challenging this job would be.

    I remember having generic conversations with Dana about what she saw in homes she visited. From time to time, she would say “I don’t know if I can do this.” Each time, I responded “Dana, I am not saying this is your responsibility in life, but I do know someone has got to do this job for these kids.”

    I never dreamed my daughter would be out on the road in a driving rainstorm trying to get three kids to a foster home in a town which she was not familiar. I never dreamed she would witness the aftermath of a child being severely beaten and hung in a closet. I never dreamed Dana would not see her own son for 48 hours because she had taken custody of a child fighting for her life in a Dallas hospital.

    Dana’s earthly life was cut short by pancreatic cancer in 2015. I then realized I had to deal with my words of wisdom to her. “I do know that someone has to do this job for these kids.” It was time for me to stand up and follow my own advice.

    For me, donating and volunteering at the Children’s Center is serving neglected and abused children. It is supporting CPS investigators, which is paramount to me. It is serving the staff at the Children’s Center, the judges, CASA’s and everyone involved in ensuring each child has a great chance in life.

    In their darkness, we can be their light.

    NTXGiveDay - Why I Give KeltonKaren Kelton

    I was recently asked why I donated to the Fannin County Children’s Center.  For me, it’s something I’ve not really thought about, I just did it. Knowing children had gifts at Christmas, school supplies for school, and other various necessities was my why. About two years ago, my why somewhat changed, as I became a foster parent and was on the receiving end of the Children’s Center. My first placement was from Fannin County. I was able to get just a peek of how the Children’s Center and the CASA advocates love and support these children! Thanks to amazing people who give to the Children’s Center, my start as new foster parent was made a little easier. To them, I say thank you! Thank you for serving, thank you for loving, and thank you for giving to these children and families.

    NTXGiveDay - Why I Give - WilsonsBill and Roxanne Wilson

    When we moved to the area 10 years ago, we immediately looked for our local CASA organization because of our long affiliation with other CASAs through Roxanne’s history as a CASA volunteer and a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. When we met the Fannin County Children’s Center team, we knew that we had a home for both our volunteer efforts and donations. The Children’s Center provides critical services to the most vulnerable children in Fannin County, and the team does it with a passion that is truly inspirational. Roxanne is still a CASA volunteer at the center, and Bill had the honor of serving on the board for many years. We give with the confidence of knowing that our donation helps to fill a critical need in the budget of one of our counties best and most important charities. We encourage others to learn more and to support this wonderful cause.

  • Cyndi Keeler: Volunteer of the Quarter September 9, 2019

    Cyndi Keeler (2)Cyndi Keeler has been named Volunteer of the Quarter for the Fannin County Children’s Center.  Keeler found out about the Children’s Center through her church.  She served on the board for a couple of years but has mostly been volunteering in other ways.

    “I volunteer because I believe each one of us has talents or gift that can help someone,” said Keeler.   “The Children’s Center reaches out in so many ways into the community.  By volunteering I can focus on the needs of the community through an organization that is addressing those community needs.”

    For many years, Keeler has helped with the center’s big fundraising event called Justice Is Served.  She recently retired from working and owning a HVAC Service Company with her husband.  This has freed up more of her time, so she has started volunteering regularly to organize the Rainbow Room.  This room contains donations of new clothing, shoes, diapers and more for the children served by the center.   Over the summer, Keeler logged in many hours going through the entire room and re-organizing it.

    Keeler has been married to her husband David for over 32 years. Together they have had a full life of working, ranching and taking care of a wide variety of animals. When she is not volunteering at the Children’s Center, Keeler enjoys taking on new challenges in life. She likes learning new things like baking breads and knitting.  “I also enjoy hanging out with my husband and animals,” said Keeler.

    “Cyndi has been a huge help to us,” said Andrea Lappin, the Children’s Center’s Community Development Director.  “The Rainbow Room has been transformed over the summer by Cyndi.  It is so much easier for everyone to find things that are needed for the kids we serve.”

  • Dani Gerhardt: CASA Volunteer of the Quarter July 22, 2019

    Dani July 2019Dani Gerhardt has been named the CASA Volunteer of the Quarter by the Fannin County Children’s Center. Gerhardt became a CASA advocate for children in foster care a little over two years ago. Ever since her son was born, she has always wanted to try to make the world different for him. She became a nurse because she enjoys caring for others in need. She was looking for a way to volunteer to give back to the community and set a good example for her son when she found CASA.

    “I didn’t fully understand until my second case why CASA was so important,” said Gerhardt. “To summarize a very complicated situation, my supervisor and I knew that something needed to change with my case. However, no one else in the court room agreed. We continued to advocate for what we felt was right. After some time and some patience, I feel we were able to change the course of the case for the better. It really showed me that being a CASA is important.”

    When going through the initial training, Gerhardt learned about many statistics of children in foster care, including how many children were in care, how long they often stay and how many would age out of care. “Those statistics do have a face,” said Gerhardt “and once I saw that those statistics were a real person, I knew that I wanted to continue. My first case was simple, completed in one year. My second case has been much more difficult, and it really showed me why CASA is so important to the youth in our community. Being a voice for the children’s needs is crucial.”

    Julie Luton has been Gerhardt’s supervisor from the start. “It has been a great joy to work with her,” said Luton. “She has been steadfast and positive through many difficult challenges. Children had to be removed several times from different placements. Hard decisions were made and no one agreed at first with Dani in court. Still, Dani stood in court and advocated for the kids on her case. She was never unsure or wavering to keep them safe.”

    Several children in foster care in Fannin County do not have a trained volunteer advocate on their case. The next training class for CASA volunteers is scheduled to start on September 10. Being a CASA advocate is just one way to volunteer at the Fannin County Children’s Center. To learn about all the ways to volunteer at the Children’s Center, make plans to attend the next volunteer information session on Tuesday, August 27 from 5:30 – 6:30 pm at 112 W. 5th Street in Bonham.

  • 4 New CASA Advocates July 15, 2019
    New CASA Advocates

    New CASA Advocates – Summer 2019

    Four 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 Wayne Adams, Michelle Case, Lauren Hilliard and Lori Parsons.

    “We thrilled to welcome these people to our team,” said Sandy Barber with the Fannin County Children’s Center, which includes the local CASA program. “This helps get us closer to having an advocate for every child in foster care from Fannin County.”

    In the year ending August 31, 2018, CASA served 131 children, which set a new record for the number of children served in a year.  In the first 10 months of the current fiscal year, 102 children have already been served.  More volunteers advocates are still needed in order for every child in foster care from Fannin County to have one.  Another training class is already being planned to start September 10.

    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.

  • 5 New CASA Advocates! April 4, 2019

    CASA Vol Spring 2019Five 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 Ashlyn Hoops, Jackie Schrodel, Rosemary Clemons, Susan Mattison and Richard Mattison.

    “We excited to welcome these people to our team,” said Sandy Barber with the Fannin County Children’s Center, which includes the local CASA program. “This helps get us closer to having an advocate for every child in foster care from Fannin County.”

    In the year ending August 31, 2018, CASA served 131 children, which set a new record for the number of children served in a year. More volunteers advocates are still needed in order for every child in foster care from Fannin County to have one. Another training class is already being planned for June.

    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. More info

  • Art Contest Winners! March 4, 2019

    2019 First PlaceFourteen year old Jocelyn Garoutte of Leonard took home the top prize in the Open Your Heart Art Contest sponsored by the Fannin County Children’s Center. She won $100 for her artwork that will now be featured on the front of the Open Your Heart campaign cards. Eleven year old Kailynn Pearson of Bonham won second place and $50. Her artwork will be featured on the inside of the cards.

    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.

    CASA recruits, screens, trains and supervises volunteer advocates for children in foster care. Children’s Advocacy Center facilitates a multidisciplinary team of public and private agencies involved in the investigation, prosecution and treatment of child abuse. Child abuse prevention efforts include classes are offered for children, youth and adults.

    2019 Second Place

  • Kwik Chek and McCraw Oil January 22, 2019

    Kwik Chek and McCraw Oil recently presented a check for $14,000 to their local CASA program, the Fannin County Children’s Center.  In all, leaders of Kwik Chek and McCraw Oil will be presenting checks totaling $56,000 to local CASA programs across the state where they do business.

    “The McCraw Oil and Kwik Chek teams have long had a passion for supporting the health and well-being of children in the communities where we live and work,” said Bill Wilson, President of McCraw Oil.

    This year marks the eleventh year in a row that the company’s annual golf tournament has benefitted CASA.  In those 11 years, a grand total of $560,000 has been raised.

    “We are honored and blessed to benefit from our partnership with Kwik Chek and McCraw Oil,” said Children’s Center Executive Director Sandy Barber.  “Their gifts from the golf tournament, their sponsorship of our events and their volunteer efforts all add up to good things for some of the most vulnerable kids and families in our community.”

    The Children’s Center’s mission is promoting safety and improving the lives of abused and neglected children.  Programs include CASA, Children’s Advocacy Center and child abuse prevention.    Kwik Chek Jan 2019

  • Exxon Mobil January 14, 2019

    ExxonMobil 2019

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    McCraw Oil President Bill Wilson (center) presents a check for $2,000 from ExxonMobil for the Children’s Center to Board President Brenda Magness (right) and Executive Director Sandy Barber (left).   “We are honored to benefit from ExxonMobil’s generosity again this year,” said Barber. “This gift will provide counseling, advocacy, forensic interviews and many other support services to help children recover from the trauma of abuse and neglect.”  The Children’s Center’s programs include CASA, Children’s Advocacy Center and child abuse prevention programs.

  • Texoma Health Foundation January 10, 2019

    THF 2019 JanTexoma Health Foundation recently awarded a grant of $25,000 to the Fannin County Children’s Center to address the medical and mental health needs of abused and neglected children in Fannin County and support child abuse prevention efforts as well.

    “We are honored and grateful that the Texoma Health Foundation has chosen to invest in our center, in our community and in our children for the fifth year in a row” said Children’s Center Executive Director Sandy Barber.

    This year’s grant brings the five year total to $175,000 for the Children’s Center. The grant to the Children’s Center was one of many awarded by the Foundation to nonprofits in Grayson, Fannin, Bryan and Marshall Counties to further the foundation’s mission to support the health and well-being of people.

    “While we certainly appreciate the financial support from the foundation, we are also grateful for how the foundation’s board and staff are always looking for ways to share their connections, leadership, information, enthusiasm and passion to making our community healthier,” said Barber. “They have been the one of the driving forces behind several efforts related to mental health, including a partnership with UTSW Center for Depression and Research and Bonham ISD to increase resilience and reduce suicide thoughts and attempts in youth and the Texoma Behavioral Health Leadership Team which is working on expanding to Fannin County.”

    The Children’s Center will use the funds to ensure that each child in foster care has a trained CASA volunteer to advocate for their medical and mental health needs. In addition, the grant will support the Children’s Advocacy Center’s efforts to provide child abuse victims with access to the specialized medical and mental health treatment they need to heal. The center will also use grant funds to train children, youth and adults in how to prevent, recognize and report child abuse.

    For more information about the Children’s Center, go to www.fanninccc.org and for the Texoma Health Foundation, go to www.texomahealth.org

  • Christmas All Wrapped Up! December 20, 2018

    In all, 261 children served by the Fannin County Children’s Center had presents of clothes, shoes, coats, toys and other items to open on Christmas morning, thanks to many generous donors.

    “The number of children given presents was only 1 child less than last year,” said Sandy Barber, Executive Director of the Children’s Center.  “However, this still is about 100 kids more than we had been giving presents to for many years prior to 2017.  Fortunately, the Fannin County community turned out in force to make sure our kids were taken care of.  So many individuals, families, businesses, churches and other organizations gave what they could and it all added up to meet the needs.”

    First National Bank of Trenton, Legend Bank, Tax Assessor Collector Office, Tractor Supply, Blessings and Butterflies, Cato’s, Warrior Tire, Bonham Smiles, Cole Title Company and WalMart put up teddy bear trees to help the center collect presents.   “Many of these locations have been doing this for as long as we can remember.  A few places were new this year too,” said Barber.  “We are so blessed by their generous and faithful support of our Christmas Drive.”

    Presents of clothes, shoes, coats, toys and other items were given to the children and youth who are being served by CASA and the Children’s Advocacy Center.  Some of the children are living in foster homes, away from family and friends.  Other children have gone to live with grandparents or other relatives as a result of abuse or neglect.  Many of these families struggle financially when one or more children suddenly come to live with them.  In other families, the discovery of sexual abuse in the home has meant the loss of family income when the offender leaves.

    In January, there will be a new training class for individuals interested in becoming CASA volunteers.  There will also be free classes for adults to learn how to prevent, recognize and respond to child abuse.