Many thanks to everyone who contributes to our center and makes our work possible!
- 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.
- Texoma Health Foundation Grants Funds January 9, 2018
Texoma Health Foundation recently awarded a grant of $50,000 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 thrilled that the Texoma Health Foundation has chosen to invest in our center and the children again,” said Children’s Center Executive Director Sandy Barber. “This year marks the fourth year in a row we have been blessed to be one of their grantees.”
Grant funding for all four years totals $150,000. 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.
“We appreciate their generous investments in our center, in our kids and in our community,” said Barber. “We also appreciate how the board and staff of the foundation regularly are looking for ways they can give more than just money. The leadership, connections, ideas, energy and passion they give to making our community healthier is also a huge blessing!”
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.
- Miller Foundation Gives January 8, 2018
Trustees with the M.W. and Fair Miller Foundation have been busy recently, giving generous grants to several local non-profits in Fannin County. A generous gift of $20,000 was granted to the Fannin County Children’s Center to support CASA and the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC).
“We are thrilled to benefit from the foundation’s generosity again,” said Sandy Barber, Executive Director of the Children’s Center. “This gift of $20,000 will help us sustain all of the ways we 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 was incorporated in 1992 and began serving children in 1993. The 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.
- Christmas all wrapped up! December 28, 2017
In all, 262 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 served grew by 48% this year,” said Sandy Barber, Executive Director of the Children’s Center. “Fortunately, the people of Fannin County rose to the challenge and donations increased to meet the demand of providing presents to 86 more children than last year.”
First National Bank of Trenton, Legend Bank, Tax Assessor Collector Office, Tractor Supply, Blessings and Butterflies, Cato’s, Warrior Tire and WalMart put up teddy bear trees to help the center collect presents. “Most of these locations have been doing this for more than a decade,” said Barber. “We are so grateful for their faithful support of our Christmas Drive.”
“We are also grateful to all of our volunteers who helped wrap and deliver presents,” said Barber. “Once again, our volunteer wrappers included numerous student groups.” Students from Dodd City, Leonard, Trenton, Bonham and Morning Star helped wrap presents. Several of these groups also collected donations.
Countless numbers of individuals, groups, churches and schools gave money and items to this effort. 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.
(See lots more Christmas photos on our Facebook page!)