Kudos Corner

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

  • 5 New CASA Advocates October 23, 2017

    New CASA Vol Fall 2017 (2)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 Jarrett Tucker, Danny Loyd, Jennifer Smith, Ray McGovern and Kathy McGovern.

    “We are delighted to welcome this group of advocates to our team,” said Sandy Barber with the Fannin County Children’s Center, which includes the local CASA program.

    In the year ending August 31, 2017, CASA served 118 children, which was a 42% increase over the previous year. In that same year, 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 on becoming a CASA, click here.

  • McCraw Oil and Kwik Chek Golf Tournament September 26, 2017
     Kwik Chek and McCraw Oil raised $52,000 for CASA programs at a charity fishing and golfing tournament at Tanglewood Resorts. (from left) Bill Wilson, Sandy Barber, Kevin Smartt, Sherry Capehart, Kara Hobbs and Doyce Taylor.

    Kwik Chek and McCraw Oil raised $52,000 for CASA programs at a charity fishing and golfing tournament at Tanglewood Resorts. (from left) Bill Wilson, Sandy Barber, Kevin Smartt, Sherry Capehart, Kara Hobbs and Doyce Taylor.

    For 22 years, McCraw Oil and Kwik Chek have been hosting an annual charity golf tournament. For the last 10 years, CASA has been the beneficiary of the event. In the past decade, this event has raised more than a half million dollars to help sustain this non-profit that serves children in foster care.

    This year the event raised $52,000 for CASA programs, which brings the 10 year grand total to $504,000. This year’s tournament was held at Tanglewood Resort in Pottsboro.

    “It really is an honor to be able to support the CASA organization with our annual fundraising efforts,” said Smartt. “They are an organization with caring volunteers doing a great job to help represent children in very difficult circumstances. It is something that our Kwik Chek and McCraw Oil employees believe in and take pride in contributing to such an essential organization. Our goal is to continue to find new ways to help increase fundraising and awareness of CASA and what they do for the children and families in our community.”

    This year’s event also included a fishing tournament the day before the golf tournament. Fishing winners were first place: Corey Esser, with Pepsi; second place: Silas Stewart with Pepsi and third place: Chad Ellis with Verifone.

    First place team in the golf tournament was sponsored by Pepsi, General Mills and Crossmark and included David Staeheli, Curt Webber, Corey Esser, Silas Stewart, Lindsey Hansen and Henry McDonald. Second place team was sponsored by First United Bank and included Dennis Garrett, Brett Rogers, Bert Davison, Kyle Million, Justin Scott and John Hoefer. Third place team was sponsored by Legend Bank and Altria and included Jon Sisk, Danny Stroud, Charlie Jo Cary, Bill Yarbro, Miguel Lopez-Vergara and Keith Zack.
    CASA, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, recruits and trains volunteers to become advocates for children in foster care. When a judge determines that a child is no longer safe in their own home, CASA is assigned to gather information and make recommendations to the courts about what would be best for the child.

    Tournament proceeds will be donated to local CASA program across Texas in the same communities where Kwik Chek and McCraw Oil do business. Some funds will also be given to Texas CASA, which is the state association that provides training, technical assistance and other support to local CASA programs.

    “We cannot say thank you enough to everyone at Kwik Chek and McCraw Oil. Their generous vendors and hard-working, dedicated employees make this a great event every year,” said Sandy Barber, director of the Fannin County Children’s Center which is one of the local CASA programs to benefit from the event.

  • Another Successful School Supply Drive September 11, 2017
    Employees from the VA in Bonham collected an enormous number of supplies this year.

    Employees from the VA in Bonham collected an enormous number of supplies this year.

    A total of 588 students from all over Fannin County received free school supplies to start the new school year, thanks to a generous community. This year marked the 21st year that the Fannin County Children’s Center has provided school supplies to needy children and youth. The number of students served this year was more than in the last two years.

    “Once again, we are thrilled to have so much local community support – both volunteers and donors – who make this effort possible,” said Barber. “School kids from all over the county were able to start the school year prepared due to the generosity and hard work of many people.”

    The Bonham VA collected an enormous number of supplies. Many other businesses, churches and individuals also donated to the effort.

    The youth groups from Lannius Church of God and First Presbyterian each volunteered their time and efforts to move, sort, organize and prep supplies. Several other volunteers also made this project possible.

    The mission of the Children’s Center is promoting safety and improving the lives of abused and neglected children. In addition to the annual school supply drive, the center operates CASA, Children’s Advocacy Center and child abuse prevention programs.

    Volunteers from First Presbyterian Church of Bonham helped move, sort and organize supplies.

    Volunteers from First Presbyterian Church of Bonham helped move, sort and organize suppliescc.org.

    Volunteers from Lannius Church of God helped prepare lots of bags of school supplies!

    Volunteers from Lannius Church of God helped prepare lots of bags of school supplies!

  • Art Contest Winners April 10, 2017
    Jewyll Hemby won first place

    Jewyll Hemby won first place

    Eight year old Jewyll Hemby took home the top prize in the Open Your Heart Art Contest sponsored by the Fannin County Children’s Center. Hemby is a second grader at Morning Star Academy. 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. After she was given her prizes and posed for a photo, Jewyll donated her prize money back to the center to help other children.

    Nine year old Hailey Kempton won second place and will have her artwork featured on the inside of the cards. She won $50 and a red ribbon. Kempton is a third grader at Finley Oates Elementary in Bonham.

    Hailey Kempton won second place

    Hailey Kempton won second place

    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.

    For upcoming class schedule and more about the center, go to: prevention

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  • 11 New CASA Advocates March 27, 2017
    New CASA Advocates - Speing 2017

    New CASA Advocates – Spring 2017

    Eleven local people recently completed training and were sworn-in to become volunteer CASA advocates for children in foster care. The Honorable Judge John McCraw, Jr. administered the oath to the new volunteers as he was the visiting judge filling in for 336th District Judge Lauri Blake. New child advocates include Debbie Irvin, Nancy Burpo, Wendi Lindsey, Paula Chambers, Morgan Kelso, Heather Molsbee, Alice Creecy, Kaylen Hutchins, Kelly LeBrun, Shawn Look and Mike Nejtek.

    “We are thrilled to welcome this large group of advocates to our team,” said Sandy Barber with the Fannin County Children’s Center, which includes the local CASA program.

    “Nearly all of the new advocates will be accepting cases immediately, which will bring us back to serving 100% of our cases with volunteers,” said Barber. “Our CASA caseload has been growing and we have been working hard to keep up with the increasing demand.”

    In the year ending August 31, 2016, CASA served 83 children. This number has more than doubled in the last two years. In the first six month of the current fiscal year, CASA has already served 92 children.

    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 on becoming a CASA, call (903) 583-4339 or go here

  • Matthews Children’s Foundation March 27, 2017

     

    Matthew 2017

    Matthew’s Children’s Foundation Gives to Children’s Center – Stephen Murden of Wise Funeral Home presents a donation of $1,000 to Sandy Barber with the Fannin County Children’s Center.  The gift is from the Matthew’s Children’s Foundation and is designated to help recruit, screen and train more CASA volunteers to be advocates for children in foster care.

     

     

  • Kwik Chek and McCraw Oil January 19, 2017
    Kwik Chek/McCraw Oil owner Doyce Taylor (right) and McCraw Oil President Bill Wilson (left) present a donation of $13,100 to the Children’s Center’s Executive Director Sandy Barber.

    Kwik Chek/McCraw Oil owner Doyce Taylor (right) and McCraw Oil President Bill Wilson (left) present a donation of $13,100 to the Children’s Center’s Executive Director Sandy Barber.

    “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.

    Wilson and company owner Doyce Taylor recently presented a check for $13,100 to the Fannin County Children’s Center.

    “We are proud of our long association with the Fannin County Children’s Center and the wonderful work that the staff and volunteers do advocating for and healing children who are victims of neglect and abuse,” continued Wilson. “The Children’s Center and its volunteers are a critical and vocal voice for these at-risk children with child protective services, prosecutors and the courts. When we support the Children’s Center, we know that our money is wisely spent helping support a very important mission.”

    In all, Kwik Chek and McCraw Oil have been donating a grand total of $60,000 to local CASA programs across the state and to Texas CASA. The money was raised at the company’s annual charity golf tournament last fall. This tournament marks the ninth year in a row the proceeds are going to non-profits that served children in foster care and brings the grand total raised for CASA to $452,000.

    “We very grateful our long-term partnership with Kwik Chek and McCraw Oil,” said Children’s Center Executive Director Sandy Barber. The Children’s Center provides a varaiety of services to abused and neglected children including CASA and Children’s Advocacy Center. “In addition, to their very generous financial gifts and in-kind donations, we appreciate all of their employees who share their time and talents with us.”

  • Christmas all wrapped up at the Children’s Center December 28, 2016
    United Methodist Women  of Leonard generously gave presents again this year.

    United Methodist Women of Leonard generously gave presents again this year.

    Once again, the generosity of the people of Fannin County was overwhelming. In all, 176 children served by the Fannin County Children’s Center had presents of clothes, toys and other items to open on Christmas morning, thanks to many generous donors.

    “It never ceases to amaze us how so many things come together to make it possible for our kids to get presents for Christmas,” said Sandy Barber, Executive Director of the Children’s Center. “So many people gave what they could, many businesses put up teddy bear trees, plus we had many volunteers help wrap and in some cases, deliver too.”

    For the last several years, 120-140 children have received presents from the Children’s Center. This year, the number grew substantially to 176 and yet the donations kept up with the increased demand.

    Center staff got an email from one mom who said she expected 3 or 4 presents per kid. She was overwhelmed to see that each one got what she described as a mountain of presents. She said she cried the whole way home. As other family members picked up presents or had them delivered, there were many more happy tears of joy as well as lots of hugs and “thank you’s.”

    Fannin County Courthouse, First National Bank of Trenton, Legend Bank, Tax Assessor Collector Office, Tractor Supply, Blessings and Butterflies, Rebel Roots, Warrior Tire and WalMart put up teddy bear trees to help the center collect presents. “Many of these locations have been doing this for years,” said Barber. “We really appreciate their help.”

    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.

  • Miller Foundation Gives to Kids December 22, 2016
    Two of the trustees from the MW and Fair Miller Foundation recently presented a check for $20,000 to the Fannin County Children’s Center.  Trustees Dr. Dana Sisk (left) and Dr. Jerry Hopson (right) are pictured with the Children’s Center’s Executive Director Sandy Barber (center).

    Two of the trustees from the MW and Fair Miller Foundation recently presented a check for $20,000 to the Fannin County Children’s Center. Trustees Dr. Dana Sisk (left) and Dr. Jerry Hopson (right) are pictured with the Children’s Center’s Executive Director Sandy Barber (center).

    Tis the season for gift giving.  Trustees with the M.W. and Fair Miller Foundation have been busy giving generous gifts 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 delighted to receive another very generous gift again this year,” said Sandy Barber, Executive Director of the Children’s Center.  “This check for $20,000 will help us keep up with the increasing demand for our CASA and CAC services.”

    The M.W. and Fair Miller Foundation was incorporated in 1988 by Ray Peeler, Jr.  The foundation was organized for the betterment and care of the children in Fannin County.  The original Board of Trustees included Dr. Walter Sisk, Warren Jamieson and John Latham.  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 mission is promoting safety and improving the lives of abused and neglected children.  Programs include CASA, Children’s Advocacy Center and child abuse prevention.

  • CASA Gains 10 New Advocates October 18, 2016
    From left, Glenn Hensley, Kathy Evans, Michelle Hoops, Alicia Whipple, Cassie Seals, Judge Blake, Tracy Wood, Karen Howarton, Kenneth Littleton, Ellen Armstrong and Jodi Menjivar.

    From left, Glenn Hensley, Kathy Evans, Michelle Hoops, Alicia Whipple, Cassie Seals, Judge Blake, Tracy Wood, Karen Howarton, Kenneth Littleton, Ellen Armstrong and Jodi Menjivar.

    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 administered an oath to the new advocates after they completed at least 34 hours of training and court room observation.  New child advocates include Tracy Wood of Telephone, Cassie Seals, Karen Howarton, and Kenneth Littleton of Leonard, Jodi Menjivar of Sherman and Glenn Hensley, Kathy Evans, Michelle Hoops, Alicia Whipple, Ellen Armstrong of Bonham.

    “We are delighted to welcome this large group of advocates to our team,” said Sandy Barber with the Fannin County Children’s Center, which includes the local CASA program.

    All of the new advocates all accepted cases right away. “This brings us back to serving 100% of our cases with volunteers,” said Barber. “So for now, we are excited to be back to providing a trained volunteer advocate for every child in foster care from Fannin County.  Unfortunately, we expect that more children will come into care over the coming months, so we do plan on having another training session after the holidays.”

    All volunteers complete 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.  In the year ending August 31, 2016, CASA served 83 children.  This number has more than doubled in the last two years.