Many thanks to everyone who contributes to our center and makes our work possible!
- 5 New CASA Advocates! April 4, 2019
Five 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
Fourteen 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.
- 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.”
- Exxon Mobil January 14, 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
Texoma 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.
- Miller Foundation December 18, 2018
Trustees with the M.W. and Fair Miller Foundation have been personally delivering generous grants to many local non-profit organizations in Fannin County in the recent weeks. One generous gift was for $20,000 to the Fannin County Children’s Center.
“We are honored to be awarded such a generous grant again,” said Sandy Barber, Executive Director of the Children’s Center. “This gift will help provide advocacy, counseling, forensic interviews and many other support services to help children find safety and begin healing from abuse and neglect.”
The M.W. and Fair Miller Foundation was incorporated in 1988 and organized for the betterment and care of the children in Fannin County. Currently serving on the Board of Trustees are Tyler Todd, Dr. Dana Sisk and Dr. Jerry Hopson.
The Fannin County Children’s Center is a nonprofit agency that has been serving abused and neglected children for more than 25 years. Programs include CASA, Children’s Advocacy Center and child abuse prevention. The number of children served by CASA has doubled in the past two years. In the fiscal year ending August 31, 2018, CASA served 131 children. The Children’s Advocacy Center received 266 referrals in that same reporting period, which was more than double the number of referrals in the previous year. The next CASA volunteer training class, as well as the next prevention classes are scheduled for January.
- 4H Kids Helping Kids December 3, 2018
Kate Kinkade recently organized a drive to collect blankets and bears as a 4H project. The items collected were donated to the Fannin County Children’s Center. “We appreciate all gifts given to us, but there is always something extra special about donations that involve kids helping kids,” said Sandy Barber with the Children’s Center. “These teddy bears and blankets will provide warmth and comfort to children from hard places.” For more about 4H in Fannin County, go to https://agrilife.org/fannin4h/
- Toyo Tire and Warrior Tire Building the Dream December 3, 2018
Fannin County Children’s Center Vice-President and owner of Warrior Tire Steve Collida (right) and Children’s Center Executive Director Sandy Barber (Center) enjoyed a recent visit with Jerry Granito with Toyo Tires (left.) Toyo Tires and Warrior Tire teamed up to provide gifts of $1,500 each to make a grand total of $3,000 in matching funds for the Children’s Center for North Texas Giving Day. In all, the Children’s Center raised nearly $10,000 for their future building fund in this one-day fundraising effort. These funds will be used to purchase land and/or build a newer, larger facility.
More about Building the Dream of a new facility.
- 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.