North Texas Giving Day a Huge Success in Fannin County!

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.

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Child Abuse Cases Increasing

The Fannin County Children’s Center reports that the number of cases they are seeing has been growing at a significant rate. Most notably, the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) received 266 new referrals in the fiscal year ending August 31, 2018. This was a 116% increase over the previous year. The CAC staff also conducted 240 forensic interviews in the same year, which was a 124% increase over the previous year when 107 interviews were done.

CAC therapists provided 959 counseling sessions, which was only slightly more than the previous year. Another notable increase was the number of special medical exams completed. Sexual abuse victims must travel to neighboring counties for these exams and last year 25 were completed, which was more than double the previous year when only 11 exams were completed.

CASA served 131 children in the past year, which marked the second year in a row for this program to set a new record for the number of children served. Overall, CASA has served 58% more children over the past two years. In the past year, CASA attended 275 court hearings, 8 family group conferences, 43 permanency conferences and 26 mediations. CASA volunteers logged in 5,744 hours and more than 47,000 miles in their advocacy for the 131 children. Volunteer hours have increased 79% over the past two years.

“The big question, of course, is why are we seeing such a significant increase?” said Sandy Barber, Executive Director of the Fannin County Children’s Center. “I think one factor is that our local CPS office is more fully staffed and supported than they have been in the past. Another factor is that last year the Sheriff’s Office got a grant to hire an investigator who could specialize in working crimes against children cases.”

“A third factor could possibly be the #MeToo movement that started about a year ago,” said Barber. “One of the lessons learned from many of these stories is that victims sometimes did say something to someone they were close to, but no one reported the cases to the authorities who could investigate.”

In the past year, the Children’s Center also provided child abuse prevention education to 194 adults. The mission of the Fannin County Children’s Center is promoting safety and improving the lives of abused and neglected children. The center’s programs include CASA, Children’s Advocacy Center and child abuse prevention. Earlier this year, the center celebrated 25 years of serving children.

“We have been working hard to keep up with the growing need for our services,” said Barber. “We are thrilled that the Fannin County Commissioners Court has included funding in the coming year’s budget to continue the special investigator position, even though the grant was not re-newed.”

“One of the things we are also working on is finding a new, larger facility,” said Barber. The center has outgrown their current location near the courthouse in Bonham. “Community members are invited to donate to the center for North Texas Giving Day in order to help us build the dream of a new facility,” continued Barber. On September 20, donors can go to www.northtexasgivingday.org/fanninccc to make a gift for the new facility.

FCCC 1

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2018 School Supply Report

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.

 

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Bridges Out of Poverty

bridges (2)Four local organizations are teaming up to bring the Overview of Bridges Out of Poverty workshop to Bonham. MasterKey Ministries, Fannin County Children’s Center, Texoma Health Foundation and First Presbyterian Church of Bonham are working together to bring this training opportunity to volunteers and professionals in Fannin County.

The Overview of Bridges Out of Poverty workshop covers the strategies for professionals and communities to help improve the lives of people in poverty and, by extension, help make sustainable communities in which everyone can do well. It will be a lively, interactive day that lays out the philosophy, approach and framework to do just that.

Participants will learn to use the knowledge of people in poverty to build an accurate mental model of poverty, study poverty research to build prosperous and healthy communities, understand and apply theories of change, share Bridges constructs with people in poverty and create sustainable communities.

The class is designed for volunteers and professionals at nonprofits, schools, churches, government agencies and other organizations. The class will be held on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm at First Presbyterian Church at 818 N Main in Bonham, Texas.

There is a registration fee of $30 per person, which includes light breakfast, lunch and Bridges Out of Poverty workbook. A limited number of scholarships are available by contacting Shunnay Gilmore at Texoma Health Foundation at gilmore@texomahealth.org or 903.337.0755.

Registration deadline is September 25. Seating is limited, so registration may close earlier if the capacity has been reached. Registration is online at www.fanninccc.org.

Register now

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North Texas Giving Day is Coming to Fannin County!

North Texas Giving Day is set for September 20, 2018. This year marks the tenth year of this community wide fundraising event hosted by Communities Foundation of Texas. It is the first year for the event to include Fannin County and a few other counties surrounding Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

NTXGiveDay 2018More than 2,600 nonprofits are participating in North Texas Giving Day, including nine nonprofits in Fannin County. Those organizations include: 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.

On September 20, community members can go to www.northtexasgivingday.org and make donations to all of their favorite charities in one place. Gifts will support local causes and help build a stronger and more vibrant community. Contributions will also give the participating nonprofits the chances to win prizes and earn bonus funds. Some nonprofits have also secured 1:1 matching funds to make donations stretch even farther.

New this year, donors will have 10 days to schedule their North Texas Giving Day gifts starting September 10. To do this, donors can go to www.northtexasgivingday.org and schedule their gifts, much like you can schedule on-line bill paying. All gifts scheduled from September 10-19 will not be processed until September 20.

Community members can also choose to be an ambassador for their favorite local nonprofit by signing up for their own FUNdraising page and asking their friends and family to join them in giving. North Texas Giving Day provides an opportunity for everyone to be a philanthropist. Every gift, no matter what size matters. When many people give together, the impact is even greater.

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 and the nine participating nonprofits in Fannin County, go to www.northtexasgivingday.org.

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TMC Bonham Auxiliary Helping Victims of Abuse

TMC Bonham SDFI camera 2018At the most recent meeting of the TMC Bonham Auxiliary, President Agnes Ricker presented a check for $2,000 to Children’s Center Executive Director Sandy Barber.

“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.

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Masons Helping Kids

Constantine Lodge #13 AF & AMSeveral 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.

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Render Turns 3!

Render’s puppy raisers and current handlers posed for a photo together at Render’s birthday party.  Back row, from left, Mandi Bruso and Kassi Lighfoot. Seated, from left, Kresten and Kimberly Cook and Render.

Render’s puppy raisers and current handlers posed for a photo together at Render’s birthday party. Back row, from left, Mandi Bruso and Kassi Lighfoot. Seated, from left, Kresten and Kimberly Cook and Render.

There was a steady stream of people in an out of the Fannin County Children’s Center on the afternoon of August 1. People were stopping by to celebrate the third birthday of a very special dog. Render, the facility dog at the Fannin County Children’s Center, was a gift from Canine Companions for Independence about one year ago.

Lacey Wicks from Canine Companions was in attendance at the event. She said that they breed and train their own dogs and always give them away free of charge. Canine Companions relies on donations and volunteers to be able to do this. One way volunteers help with the process is to be Puppy Raisers. Wicks said they are always in need of more volunteer puppy raisers.

Render’s puppy raisers attended the birthday party too. Kresten and Kimberly Cook volunteered their time and resources to raise and train Render from when he was 8 weeks old til about 18 months old. They said one of their sons benefited from two different service dogs from Canine Companions as he was growing up. Being a puppy raiser seemed like a great way for them to give back. They shared stories of their time with Render and expressed how rewarding it was to see and hear about the good work Render is doing now.

Render’s handlers Kassi Lighfoot and Mandi Bruso shared several stories and examples of how Render has helped over the past year. Lightfoot estimates Render has sat in on at least 120 forensic interviews with children already. He has also participated in several counseling sessions and even gone to court with children who had to testify. Render has also attended events and activities outside of the Children’s Center, including the Fannin County Fair, reading time at the Bonham Public Library and the Kiwanis Angel League baseball.

Guests at the party enjoyed refreshments, including some special cookies shaped like dog bones and footprints, donated by Molly Lane of Cake Lane. After guests sang happy birthday to Render, he enjoyed chowing down on a peanut butter and carrot cupcake made especially for him by Lightfoot. Party guests also enjoyed taking turns getting photos with the birthday boy.

For more information about Render and the Children’s Center, go to www.fanninccc.org. For more information about Canine Companions, including how to become a puppy raiser, go to www.cci.org.

Birthday Party Photos

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School Supplies Needed

It will soon be back to school time. The students in Fannin County will head back to class sometime between August 15-27, depending on which district they attend. For the staff and volunteers at the Fannin County Children’s Center, back-to-school time starts now as they make preparations for their 22nd annual School Supply Drive.

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.

The Children’s Center is once again seeking donations to make this effort possible. “As always, every contribution is appreciated and needed” said Sandy Barber, Executive Director of the Children’s Center. The center is now accepting paper, notebooks, pencils, folders and other school supplies on the local school supply lists. Barber said, “Donors can also donate cash and leave the shopping to us. We will use it to buy what is most needed and we will stretch the donation farther by using our tax-exempt status when making the purchases.”

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.

Items needed include: notebook paper, pens, pencils, three-ring notebooks, folders with and without brads, spiral notebooks, rulers, scissors, markers, crayons, red pens and pencils, highlighters, glue sticks and bottles, erasers, backpacks, construction paper, manilla paper, pencil boxes and bags and other supplies from area lists.

Contributions can be delivered to the center at 112 West Fifth Street, Bonham, TX. Checks can be made out to FCCC and should include a brief notation that the gift is for school supplies. Donations can also be made on-line here. All donations are tax deductible to the extent allowable by law. Organizers request that contributions arrive by August 10 or earlier if at all possible to allow time for organization and preparations. For more information, call (903) 583-4339 or click here.

Donate Now

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10 New CASA Advocates!

New Vol Summer 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.

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