Why I Give!

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.

Posted in Kudos Corner, News | Leave a comment

Cyndi Keeler: Volunteer of the Quarter

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.”

Posted in Kudos Corner, News | Leave a comment

CASA Volunteers Needed

At last check, 13 children from Fannin County who are in foster care do not have a CASA volunteer advocate. The next volunteer training session is set to start soon.

CASA, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, is one of several programs offered by the Fannin County Children’s Center for the benefit of abused and neglected children. CASA is seeking adult volunteers who can complete training and pass background checks to be appointed by the 336th District Court to serve as Guardian ad Litem for children in foster care.

In that role, CASA volunteers regularly visit their assigned child or sibling group and gather information from parents, other family, teachers, medical personnel, therapists and others in order to make recommendations to the court on what will be in the child’s best interest. They prepare court reports and testify at court hearings too. Many volunteers successfully manage to volunteer while also working full time and spending time with their families.

The Children’s Advocacy Center is another program of the Children’s Center. Volunteers are needed to provide child care while parents and siblings are in groups and to sit with families who are at the center for interviews or counseling. Other volunteers are needed for tasks not directly working with children, such as organizing clothes in the Rainbow Room, preparing newsletters for mailing, getting school supplies ready to give away and other office jobs.

There will be an informational session on Tuesday, August 27 from 5:30 – 6:30 pm at the center at 112 West Fifth Street in Bonham. Community Development Director Andrea Lappin and CASA Program Director Amanda McDonald will present information about all the volunteer opportunities available at the center, as well as information about the application process and training requirements. Attendance at the information session is not a requirement to become a volunteer, however, it is a helpful step to learning more about what it takes to be a volunteer. Attending the session will also not obligate anyone to become a volunteer.

The next training sessions for CASA volunteers will start on Sept 10. Participants will gain knowledge and learn skills needed to become an advocate for abused children in foster care. Participants will also be reading and completing activities on their own time. At least 2 hours of court room observation will also be required. All who successfully complete the training will take the CASA oath in the Fannin County District Courtroom.

Applications are now being accepted for both CASA and CAC volunteers. For more information, attend the volunteer information session on August 27,  call Amanda or Andrea at (903) 583-4339.

More Info

 

 

Posted in News | Leave a comment

School Supply Fair 2019

A total of 609 students from all over Fannin County received free school supplies on August 10 to start the new school year, thanks to a generous community. This year marked the 23rd 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 four years.

New this year, other organizations were invited to set up tents and tables in front of the center to give out other free resources and information. Five local hairstylists volunteered their time to cut hair for 101 students. Alex Kennedy played the guitar and sang while families visited with all the community organizations.

Feeding Fannin Mobile Food Pantry gave out lots of fresh strawberries and more than 1,000 apples. First United Methodist Church gave away around 6,000 diapers, plus some hygiene kits, feminine hygiene products and deodorant. Bonham ISD had staff on hand to sign up students for Head Start, Pre-K and free and reduced lunches. King Trail Cowboy Church brought their chuck wagon and cooked up 300 breakfast burritos and 200 hotdogs. This same church and Kwik Chek also provided ample supplies of bottled water, which volunteers handed out to people waiting in line for school supplies. Bonham Smiles gave out many free toothbrushes.

Bonham Police Department and Fannin County Sheriff Office were both on hand, visiting with kids and families and giving out safety information and stickers. Several organizations gave out information about the programs and services they offer, including Kool Lunches, Getting Ahead Program, Fannin County Family Crisis Center, TAPS, Cigna, 211 Texas Area Information Center, Bonham Mosaic Church, Carevide, Fannin County 4-H, Lannius Church of God Food Pantry, Maximus, McCraw Oil, TCOG and Texoma Health Foundation.

“What an amazing community effort this was!” said Sandy Barber of the Fannin County Children’s Center. “Our hard-working volunteers and staff, combined with our generous community, made sure so many kids have school supplies to start the new school year. We were thrilled to have more than 20 community partners also brave the heat in order to provide free haircuts as well as more free items, resources, services and information.”

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.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

North Texas Giving Day

Confetti2019North Texas Giving Day is set for September 19, 2019. This year marks the 11th year of this community wide fundraising event hosted by Communities Foundation of Texas. It is the second year for the event to include Fannin County and a few other counties surrounding Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

In all, nearly 2,700 nonprofits participated in North Texas Giving Day in 2018. A grand total of more than $48 million was raised, which was $9 million more than the previous year. In Fannin County alone, 144 donations to 9 organizations totaled up to $24,414.

More than 2,400 nonprofits have already signed up to participate in North Texas Giving Day 2019, including ten nonprofits in Fannin County. August 19 is the deadline for nonprofits to register for this year’s event.

Organizations who have registered and serve Fannin County include: Bonham Education Foundation, Bonham High School Band Boosters, Bonham Mosaic Church of the Assemblies of God, Fannin County Children’s Center, Fannin County Community Ministries, Fannin County Family Crisis Center, Fannin Health Clinic, Kool Lunches Program, Morning Star Academy and Northeast Texas Trail Coalition.

On September 19, 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.

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 ten participating nonprofits in Fannin County, go to www.northtexasgivingday.org.

More

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Rebel Runway

Rebel Runaway 2019

 

Get Tickets!

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Volunteer Info Session

The Fannin County Children’s Center is looking for a few good men and women who are willing to volunteer to help children from hard places. There will be an informational session on Tuesday, August 27 from 5:30 – 6:30 pm at the center at 112 West Fifth Street in Bonham. Community Development Director Andrea Lappin and CASA Program Director Amanda McDonald will present information about all the volunteer opportunities available at the center, as well as information about the application process and training requirements. Attendance at the information session is not a requirement to become a volunteer, however, it is a helpful step to learning more about what it takes to be a volunteer. Attending the session will also not obligate anyone to become a volunteer.

CASA, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, is one of several programs offered by the Children’s Center for the benefit of abused and neglected children. CASA is seeking adult volunteers who can complete training and pass background checks to be appointed by the 336th District Court to serve as Guardian ad Litem for children in foster care.

In that role, CASA volunteers regularly visit their assigned child or sibling group and gather information from parents, other family, teachers, medical personnel, therapists and others in order to make recommendations to the court on what will be in the child’s best interest. They prepare court reports and testify at court hearings too.

The Children’s Advocacy Center is another program of the Children’s Center. Volunteers are needed to provide child care while parents and siblings are in groups and to sit with families who are at the center for interviews or counseling. Other volunteers are needed for tasks not directly working with children, such as organizing clothes in the Rainbow Room, preparing newsletters for mailing, getting school supplies ready to give away and other office jobs.

The next training sessions for CASA volunteers will start on Sept 10. Participants will gain knowledge and learn skills needed to become an advocate for abused children in foster care. Participants will also be reading and completing activities on their own time. At least 2 hours of court room observation will also be required. All who successfully complete the training will take the CASA oath in the Fannin County District Courtroom.

Applications are now being accepted for both CASA and CAC volunteers. For more information, attend the volunteer information session on August 27 or call Amanda or Andrea at (903) 583-4339 or click here.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Dani Gerhardt: CASA Volunteer of the Quarter

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.

Posted in Kudos Corner, News | Leave a comment

Employment Opportunity

Must Love DogsThe Fannin County Children’s Center is seeking a Family Advocate/Forensic Interviewer for our Children’s Advocacy Center.

An ideal applicant will have excellent communication and organizational skills as well as skills and experience in working with children, youth, families and multi-disciplinary team including Child Protective Services, law enforcement, prosecutors, medical and mental health providers.  The Children’s Center is looking for someone who is dedicated, team-oriented, flexible and hard working.

Must love dogs.  We have a facility dog named Render and this new person will work with him daily.

Duties will include forensic interviewing children when sexual and physical abuse is suspected, providing victim support services, developing a strong working relationship with the multidisciplinary team, documenting services provided, preparing written reports and testifying.

A Bachelor’s degree in psychology, social work, criminal justice or other human service field is strongly preferred.  Bilingual (Spanish) is also preferred.

Interested applicants should send in resume and application to sandy@fanninccc.org or 112 W. 5th Bonham, TX 75418.

We are adding a position to keep up with the growing demands for our services.  The start date for the position will be September 1.  Salary is $36,000.  Benefits include health insurance, dental insurance, paid vacation, paid sick time and paid holiday time.  After one year of employment, a SIMPLE IRA retirement benefit is also available.

Employment Application

Posted in News | Leave a comment

4 New CASA Advocates

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.

Posted in Kudos Corner, News | Leave a comment