Justice Is Served

By several measures, the 15th Annual “Justice Is Served” fundraiser was the best one ever. Very early estimates are that the event raised at least $67,000 for the Fannin County Children’s Center. This amount tops the previous best of $66,000 from last year. In addition, attendance was the largest ever, with more than 500 people in attendance at the dinner and auction at the Complex in Bonham.

Many guests dressed in 1950’s style clothing to go along with this year’s theme. Congressman John Ratcliffe, State Representative Reggie Smith, 336th District Judge Lauri Blake, Fannin County Judge Randy Moore, Fannin County Criminal District Attorney Richard Glaser, Fannin County Sheriff Mark Johnson and several other local officials of the justice system served up dinner to the guests. DJ Tony Cruz played rock-n-roll hits from the 1950’s while guests bid on about 200 items in the silent auction. Guests also had fun taking turns at the SMP Party photo booth sponsored by Rebel Roots. Several more photos were also taken in front of the cars from the 50’s that were provided by Kenneth Taylor, Judge Lauri Blake, Robert Layman and Tony Rodriguez. Dairy Queen in Bonham served up coke floats and root beer floats to guests.

Fannin County Game Warden Randolph McGee was the auctioneer for the evening. A custom-built entry way gate from Jason Garner Custom Welding brought in $3,100 and a 5-day getaway to Broken Bow donated by Sunshine Dental raised $2,200.

US Rep. John Ratcliffe publicly recognized Fannin County Children’s Center Executive Director Sandy Barber as one of 3 Angels in Adoption honorees from Texas this year and one of only 124 from across the country.  This recognition is given to people who demonstrate extraordinary efforts to advocate for children in need of a family.

US Rep. John Ratcliffe publicly recognized Fannin County Children’s Center Executive Director Sandy Barber as one of 3 Angels in Adoption honorees from Texas this year and one of only 124 from across the country. This recognition is given to people who demonstrate extraordinary efforts to advocate for children in need of a family.

The highest winning bid of the night and in the fifteen-year history of this event was $5,000 for the Courage Item donated by the Board of Directors of the Children’s Center. Board President Steve Collida introduced the mystery item by describing the courage children have when they report abuse and neglect and encouraging the audience to have courage in bidding on the mystery item that would be worth at least $1,500 – $2,000. Beth Robertson of Cole Title Company and Gaylon Hammett of Hammett Excavation got into a lively bidding war over the Courage Item. Applause erupted from across the room when Robertson was declared the winner. Collida then revealed that what Robertson won: two round trip tickets to anywhere in the continental US that Southwest Airlines goes to, plus two nights of hotel as well as some meals and entertainment.

Before the live auction, Congressman John Ratcliffe took the stage to announce that the Children’s Center Executive Director Sandy Barber was selected as an Angels in Adotion honoree. Each year, each of the 535 members of the US House and Senate get an opportunity to nominate someone who has demonstrated extraordinary efforts to advocate for children in need of a family. This year 124 of those nominees were selected to be honored in Washington DC, including Barber. The 124 honorees will come from all over the country, including only 3 from Texas.

Barber expressed her deep appreciation for the award and looks forward to traveling with her husband to the nation’s Capital later this week. “This work we do is a team effort,” said Barber. “We have an amazing group of women on our staff, a dedicated and hard-working board, devoted volunteers and great professional partners with CPS, law enforcement and other fields. We also have so many generous donors who make our work possible.” Barber also talked about how amazing and encouraging it was to see so many people attend and give to this fundraiser event. Funds raised from the event will help the Children’s Center keep up with the growing demand for their services. Barber said there are still a few children without a CASA volunteer advocate and their Children’s Advocacy Center still has a waiting list for therapy.

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 Judge Randy Moore, Fannin County Sheriff Mark Johnson, Fannin County Clerk Tammy Biggars, Justice of the Peace, Pct 2 Bob Clemons, US Representative John Ratcliffe, 336th District Judge Lauri Blake, State Representative Reggie Smith, Justice of the Peace, Pct 3 Kenneth Karl, Trenton Police Chief William Robertson, County Court at Law Judge Charles Butler (back row, from left) John Vick for State Senator Bob Hall, Fannin County Criminal District Attorney Richard Glaser, Fannin County District Clerk Nancy Young, Honey Grove Police Chief Leigh Dixon, Juvenile Probation Chief Brandon Caffee, Adult Probation Chief Debra Roberts, Savoy Police Chief Carl Harrell and Whitewright ISD Police Chief Judy Sims.

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 Judge Randy Moore, Fannin County Sheriff Mark Johnson, Fannin County Clerk Tammy Biggars, Justice of the Peace, Pct 2 Bob Clemons, US Representative John Ratcliffe, 336th District Judge Lauri Blake, State Representative Reggie Smith, Justice of the Peace, Pct 3 Kenneth Karl, Trenton Police Chief William Robertson, County Court at Law Judge Charles Butler (back row, from left) John Vick for State Senator Bob Hall, Fannin County Criminal District Attorney Richard Glaser, Fannin County District Clerk Nancy Young, Honey Grove Police Chief Leigh Dixon, Juvenile Probation Chief Brandon Caffee, Adult Probation Chief Debra Roberts, Savoy Police Chief Carl Harrell and Whitewright ISD Police Chief Judy Sims.

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3 New CASA Advocates!

Terisa HillThree 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 Laura Luke, Jana Garner and Terisa Hill.

“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. “They each bring unique skills, experiences and knowledge to our team.”

In the year ending August 31, 2019, CASA served 110 children, which was slightly less than the previous year, but still significantly more than what had been usual.
Laura Luke
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 also advocates and monitors to ensure that all of a child’s educational, medical, mental health and other needs are met.

CASA is one program of several programs for abused and neglected children that are operated by the Fannin County Children’s Center. The next training class is set to start in February 2020.

Jana Garner

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Brookshire’s Gives

Brookshires 2019Brookshire’s recently donated $500 to the Fannin County Children’s Center to continue their long history of supporting the children of Fannin County. Store representatives Kenny Moore and Austen Bird recently presented the local nonprofit with a $500 check for sponsoring the fifteenth annual “Justice Is Served.”

This event benefits the children of Fannin County by raising funds needed for the Children’s Center to offer forensic interviews, counseling, advocacy, court accompaniment and other support services including their facility dog Render free of charge to victims of child abuse.

“We are grateful for Brookshire’s faithful and generous support for nearly two decades,” said Sandy Barber with the Children’s Center. “By our tally, we have received more than $27,000 in cash donations from Brookshire’s since 2001. That doesn’t include their in-kind gifts such as diapers, baby wipes for our kids and food for special events. We are blessed by their partnership with us.”

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Rebel Runway

Rebel Runway 2019Rebel Roots Boutique sits on the east side of the square in Bonham. In August before school started, Rebel Roots owner Melody Hammett and her staff put together a two-day event at the Multi-Purpose complex in Bonham called the Rebel Runway Event and Fashion Show. It was the second year for this event.

Vendors who sell clothing, jewelry, beauty products and more set up shop in the Complex. Friday night there was a concert featuring Sam Riggs. Zane Dockery was the opening band. On Saturday, activities included a fashion show and SCA steak cookoff. The fashion show featured clothing from the vendors at the event and models were local people. Proceeds from the event were donated to the Fannin Country Children’s Center.

“We started this event to bring some social life to our community while raising money for a local charity,” said Hammett. “I feel Like God put me in this business to help others and this event was away I could reach a lot of people at one time.”

Hammett recently presented the Children’s Center with a check for $7,000. “We are very grateful for this generous gift,” said Sandy Barber, Executive Director of the Center. “Melody and her staff worked hard to put on a great event. This gift will help provide counseling, advocacy and other important services for children from hard places to help them heal from abuse.”

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Shirt Sale!

For a limited time only, we are having an on-line shirt sale!

Order now at: https://specialtsprinting.com/fannincountychildrenscenter/shop/home

Lots of choices:

  • youth and adult sizes
  • two different designs
  • several color choices
  • short sleeve t-shirts, long sleeve t-shirts & hoodies

All ordering and payment is online only.

Online store will close at 2 pm on October 11, 2019.

Pick up or Ship?

  • You can pay a little extra to have your shirts shipped directly to you.
  • Or you can pick up your shirts at the Children’s Center, starting October 18.

Fannin County Children’s Center
112 West Fifth Street, Bonham, TX 75418
Open Monday – Friday – 8 am to 5 pm

In-stock shirts
We do have a limited number of shirts in stock.  These will be on sale at our booth at the Fannin County Fair.  We will accept cash, check, credit and debit cards for these purchases.

Order now: 

https://specialtsprinting.com/fannincountychildrens  center/shop/home

2019 Nevertheless shirts

2019 Texas shirts

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Justice Is Served

Staubach jerseyTickets and tables are on sale now for the 15th annual “Justice Is Served” to benefit the Fannin County Children’s Center.  A limited number of seats are available, so organizers encourage everyone to secure their table or tickets soon.

Doors to the Multi-Purpose Complex in Bonham will open at 6:00 pm on Saturday, Nov 9.  A buffet dinner prepared by Feast on This will be served up by local judges, police chiefs, prosecutors, lawmakers and other justice officials.  Dairy Queen will be providing coke floats for guests.

This year’s event theme is “Fabulous Fifties” and guests are strongly encouraged to dress up in 1950’s style clothing.  DJ Tony Cruz will be playing 50’s rock and roll hits while guests bid on items in the silent auction.  Guests can also take a turn in the photo booth, sponsored by Rebel Roots.  Fannin County Game Warden Randolph McGee will be the live auctioneer.

A framed Dallas Cowboy jersey, autographed by Roger Staubach that includes certificates of authenticity was donated by Dr. Lee Schreiber for the auction.  A preview list of silent and live auction items will be posted soon on the Children’s Center’s website.

Early bird pricing for individual, open seating tickets are $45 each and include dinner, dessert, drinks and entertainment.  If tickets are still available, the price will go up to $50 per ticket on November 5.  Reserved seating for two, four, eight and sixteen are also available.  Additional sponsor information is available on the agency website. Deadline to guarantee inclusion in the printed program for sponsors and auction donors is October 28.

Proceeds from the event will help sustain a wide variety of programs and services for children, including CASA, Children’s Advocacy Center and child abuse prevention.

Jason Garner Custom Welding is the Diamond sponsor of the event.  Platinum sponsors include Kwik Chek, McCraw Oil, B&B Service Center and Driver’s Choice.

more info

_Justice Is Served 2019 invite front

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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.

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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.”

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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

 

 

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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.

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