Leonard Car & Jeep Show

The Leonard Car and Jeep Show is set for Saturday, July 18 at Leonard City Park. It is a fun, new feature of the 141st Annual Leonard Picnic and Parade. All cars, trucks, jeeps and jeep wranglers welcome.

The Jeep/Car show will begin at 11:00am at the Leonard City Park immediately following the Leonard Picnic Parade. The parade will start at 10:00 am. Participants are welcome to decorate their cars and jeeps for the parade. Participants can choose to be in the parade only or the car show only or both events.

There is no entry fee for the parade. Entry fee for the car show is $15 per vehicle. All proceeds will go to the Fannin County Children’s Center, a local non-profit that serves children who have been abused and neglected.

A grand total of $1,000 in cash prizes will be provided for the car show. The Jeep Club with the most participation will win the grand prize of $400. Prizes of $100 will be given to best of show winners in several different categories. There will also be lots of raffles.
The Leonard Picnic is a family friendly event going back 141 years. The three-day event includes kids entertainment, live music, vendors, food trucks, 5k, game tournaments, wineries and the Car/Jeep Show. The event will end with a wonderful firework show on Saturday night.

For more information, find the “Leonard Picnic Parade, Jeep and Car Show” event on Facebook.

For more about the Leonard Picnic, go to: https://leonardchamber.com/annual-picnic/

To register for the Car and Jeep Show, go to https://give.fanninccc.org/campaigns/15239-leonard-car-jeep-show.

For questions, contact Matthew Harvey at matthew4904@gmail.com.


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CASA Still Needs Volunteers

8773_TxCASA_SM_Insta1080px_v01_Girl2“Child abuse has not stopped during COVID-19 and neither have we,” said Sandy Barber, Executive Director of the Fannin County Children’s Center.  “Like everyone else, we have had to make adjustments to the way we do things.” Counseling and court hearings took a brief pause when the quarantine started while everyone figured out how to utilize video conferencing.  Forensic interviews at the CAC have continued in-person, with various safety precautions.  CASA advocates have been doing virtual visits with children in foster care.

At last check, 12 children from Fannin County who are in foster care do not have a CASA volunteer advocate.  Leaders at the Children’s Center are also preparing for an influx of referrals and removals when schools go back in session.

“School personnel are the biggest source of reports to the child abuse hotline.  When school stopped early, it was no surprise that the number of calls to the hotline dropped significantly,” said Barber.  “With unemployment on the rise and families under more stress, we are worried that there will be more cases of physical abuse.  Also, many children who are victims of sexual abuse have been stuck at home with their abusers during this time.”

“We are bracing ourselves for an increase in demand for our services when schools go back in session,” continued Barber.  “The more volunteers we can get trained this summer, the more prepared we will be for that potential.”

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.  Currently, advocacy work and meetings are being done by various video apps, phone calls and emails.  Court hearings are happening by Zoom.

The next training sessions for CASA volunteers will start June 16.  Training classes will be in the evenings on June 16, 18, 23 and 25 as well as all day on Saturday, June 20. Participants will have a choice of attending training in person or by Zoom.  Participants will also be reading and completing activities on their own time.  At least 2 hours of court room observation will also be required.

Apply online at www.fanninccc.org.  For questions, contact Amanda McDonald at (903) 583-4339 x240.


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Nicole Brown CASA Advocate of the Quarter

Nicole BrownNicole Brown has been named the CASA Advocate of the Quarter.  She became a CASA volunteer in July 2018 because she wanted to be a constant in a child’s life.

“I want to help break the cycle of child abuse and neglect,” said Brown.  “Children in care need an individual to stand up for them and be their voice. Being a volunteer means I will make a positive impact on a child’s life whether it be to show them that there is good in this world or it may be that I am their positive role model.”

Brown has advocated for 7 children over the last two years. “There has not been a situation that Nicole has not tackled head on,” said Amanda McDonald, CASA Program Director. “She is creative in her advocacy, always keeping the kids’ best interest at heart. While maintaining professionalism, she is still able to form long lasting relationships with the children and families she serves.”

Brown is a first and second grade teacher at Dodd City Elementary.  She has been teaching for 15 years.

“Teaching is a passion of mine,” said Brown.  “Just like being a CASA volunteer, I strive every day at school to be a positive role model for my students because we do not know what children are going through at home.”

Brown has one son named Heath.  He keeps her busy with all his sporting activities.  Her boyfriend, Dale is a coach at Denison High School.  “When I’m not at Heath’s games, you can find me supporting Dale and his son Trey!” said Brown. She also enjoys running and hanging out with friends.

CASA is one of several programs operated by the Fannin County Children’s Center.  When home is no longer a safe place, a judge will order the removal of a child and appoint CASA to serve as the child’s Guardian ad Litem.  CASA advocates visit the children regularly, talk to many of the people involved in the child’s life, prepare written reports for the court and testify in each hearing.

More CASA volunteers are needed.  The next Volunteer Information session will be conducted via Zoom video conferencing on April 30 at 5:30 pm.  Registration is required.  The meeting link and directions will be provided after registering.  To get more information and register, click here

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COVID-19 Update

updated 6/11/2020

The mission of the Fannin County Children’s Center is promoting safety and improving the lives of abused and neglected children. Our work on safety has taken an unprecedented turn during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

At the Children’s Center, we have been working diligently to make changes and adjustments in order to ensure health and safety of all, while still providing many critical and essential services.

Child abuse has not stopped during the pandemic, and neither have we.

Most of our staff are back in the office and some work is still being done from home. Our counselors quickly learned and started telehealth so therapy can continue remotely. CASA volunteers and staff are making it a priority to have regular contact with our kids via Facetime, Skype or other visual app. Court hearings, staff meetings, case review meetings, advocacy and other work are being conducted via Zoom, phone calls, emails, etc.

Staff are coming in to the office to conduct forensic interviews in-person as needed for our partners in CPS and law enforcement.

The office is generally open daily, Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm with a limited number of staff.

We will continue to monitor the situation and adapt as needed. By working together, being flexible and helping one another, we will get through this trying time.

Take Care!

In this troubled and trying time, please be intentional about taking care of your physical and mental health. There is a lot of sadness and grief about cancelled activities, worry about job and food security, stress and fatigue over so many changes, decisions and learning to do during this public health care crisis. We too, are worried that we will soon be seeing more physical abuse, depression and suicides. So please….

Take time for self care.

Give yourself and others a bit of extra grace.

Check in on your friends, families and neighbors.

Help others when you can. Ask for help when you need it.

We are all in this together.

We will get through this tough time together.

Wash your hands and wear a mask!

~Sandy Barber
Executive Director
Fannin County Children’s Center

Food resources in Fannin County

  • Feeding Fannin – free food boxes on most Friday mornings – check the Feeding Fannin Facebook page for the latest announcements and details
  • Tuesday Super Supper – The Breakfast Stop and Feeding Fannin are offering to-go dinners on Tuesdays from 4-5 pm at the Family Life Center in Bonham – see the Facebook page for Feeding Fannin for the latest details
  • 7th & Main Baptist Church - is currently giving away free, prepared meals on Sundays at 11 am and Wednesdays at 6 pm – check the Facebook page of 7th & Main for the latest details
  • Blessing Box – at First Presbyterian Church in Bonham – look for the cabinet box attached to the brick building, near the corner of 9th and Main – take what you need or give what you can
  • Fannin County Community Ministries – Food pantry at 1022 Farm-to-Market Road 273, Bonham, Texas 75418, (903) 583-3663 – Generally open 8 am to noon on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays
  • 211 – call 211 for additional resources for food and other basic needs or go to www.211.org



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Matthews Children’s Foundation

Matthew 2020The Matthews Children’s Foundation recently donated $1,000 to the Fannin County Children’s Center for child abuse prevention efforts. Stephen Murden of Wise Funeral Home wrote the required letter of recommendation to go with the Children’s Center’s application and he was happy to be the one to present the donation check.

“We are grateful for the continued generosity of Matthews Children’s Foundation and for Stephen Murden’s help and support in making this possible,” said Sandy Barber, Executive Director of the Children’s Center. “This gift will strengthen our ability to prevent child abuse in our community.”

This donation, combined with generous gifts from the Glaser Family Charitable Foundation and the MW and Fair Miller Foundation, has helped the center purchase a new curriculum and supplies for child abuse prevention efforts with children and youth. The curriculum developed by the Women’s Center of Tarrant County is called Play It Safe.

Play it Safe is a child abuse awareness and prevention program that incorporates age-appropriate scripts and movies to teach children how to reduce their risk of sexual and physical abuse. It teaches them to recognize potentially abusive behavior, provides the tools to respond to threatening situations, and encourages them to report abuse to a trusted adult. It is an evidence-informed, age-appropriate risk reduction program for Pre-K through high school age students. Each grade level’s interactive curriculum speaks to children in a way that they can best learn and respond.

A more detailed list of what each class covers is available on the center’s website at www.fanninccc.org. The Children’s Center’s staff are available to travel to local schools, churches and day cares to teach the classes. To schedule, contact Andrea Lappin at (903) 583-4339 or andrea@fanninccc.org.

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Blue Shirts on Sale

Go Blue Day in Texas is Friday, April 3, 2020.  This is a day that people across the state of Texas will be wearing blue in honor and memory of child abuse victims.

The Fannin County Children’s Center has several blue shirts available for sale for this occasion.  Orders can only be placed and paid for on-line at www.fanninccc.org.  Short sleeve shirts cost $12 each, long sleeve shirts are $18 each and sweatshirts and hoodies are $20 each.  Youth and adult sizes are available in three different designs.

Orders must be placed by March 24 in order to guarantee a shirt in time for Go Blue Day on April 3, 2020.  When ordering, there will be an option for free pick up at the Children’s Center after March 30 or pay extra to have the order shipped.

“On Go Blue Day, we hope to once again see lots of photos on social media with people wearing blue in support of victims of child abuse,” said Sandy Barber with the Children’s Center.  “Whether they are wearing our shirts or not, we encourage schools, businesses and other organizations to wear blue and take group photos and send them to us so we can share too.”

“Statistics tell us that 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused by their 18th birthday and that many victims wait to tell,” said Barber.  “When we wear blue on April 3, we will be sending a message of support to both the victims who have found the courage to tell, as well as the ones who are still silently bearing the trauma of abuse.”

The Fannin County Children’s Center’s mission is promoting safety and improving the lives of abused and neglected children.  The agency’s programs include CASA, Children’s Advocacy Center and child abuse prevention classes.

To order shirts, click here




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Kwik Chek and McCraw Oil Helping Kids

Kwik Chek 2020McCraw Oil and Kwik Chek have been hosting an annual charity golf tournament for 24 years.   CASA has been the beneficiary of the event for the last 12 years. The most recent tournament raised a grand total of $62,000 for CASA programs, which brings the 12-year grand total to $622,000.

In recent weeks, the leaders of these companies have been presenting checks from the tournament proceeds to local CASA programs across the state in the communities where they do business.  Recently, they presented a check for $15,000 to the Fannin County Children’s Center in Bonham, which operates several programs for kids who have been abused and neglected, including CASA.

Kwik Chek and McCraw Oil’s mission is “we strive every day to make our communities, our team members, and our customers better off for having known us, or as we say, we ‘leave ‘em better.’”

Children’s Center Executive Director Sandy Barber said “We really appreciate everything Kwik Chek and McCraw Oil does for our center and our community.  Their gifts are making a difference for kids and fulfilling their mission of leaving our community and kids better.  The golf tournament alone has generated $112,250 for the Children’s Center and that does not include all of the other sponsorships and donations they have made over the years.”

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.

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Art Contest Winners

First Place Winner!

First Place Winner!

A sixth grader from Honey Grove took home the top prize in this year’s art contest sponsored by the Fannin County Children’s Center. Evangeline Barbee earned $100 and a blue ribbon for her drawing of several children holding hands in a circle.

Barbee’s artwork will be featured on the front of cards that will be mailed to local supporters of the Children’s Center to raise funds to sustain the variety of services the center offers to children and families recovering from abuse and neglect.

Second place honors went to Reagan Sutton, who is an second grader in Howe. Her artwork features a bright red heart and will be featured on the inside of the cards. She won $50 cash and a red ribbon for her artwork.

“Our judges had a difficult job in deciding the winners,” said Sandy Barber, Executive Director of the Children’s Center. “We are grateful for all of the children and youth who created and entered their artwork, as well as the parents, grandparents, teachers and other adults who helped them get it turned in.”

The artwork was scanned and sent to a local printer who printed up cards for the Children’s Center. These cards will be mailed to more than two thousand people to help raise funds to sustain all of the services offered by the center.
The Children’s Center’s mission is promoting safety and improving the lives of abused and neglected children. Programs include Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), the Children’s Advocacy Center and child abuse prevention programs.

Second Place Winner!

Second Place Winner!

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Child Abuse Prevention Classes

The Fannin County Children’s Center is offering free child abuse prevention classes for adults. The classes are ideal for parents, teachers, day care workers, coaches, Sunday School teachers, youth leaders and others who work with children and youth.

One class is called “Recognizing & Reporting.” It utilizes video, class discussion and case studies. Learning objectives include: the realities of child abuse, detailing who becomes victims, who the likely perpetrators are and the prevalence of abuse in all communities, the legal definitions, signs and symptoms of child abuse, how to communicate with a child who makes a disclosure of abuse, how to make a report and how to overcome one’s fear’s and barriers around reporting. This class will be offered two times: on March 17 and April 23. Both classes will be from 5:30 – 7:00 pm at the Elizabeth May Room at First United Bank in Bonham.

The other class for adults is called “Stewards of Children.” This class utilizes video, interactive workbooks and class discussion. Topics covered include how to recognize signs and symptoms of child sexual abuse, how to react to a child making a disclosure of sexual abuse, as well as steps that individuals and organizations can take to prevent sexual abuse of children. This class will be offered twice: on March 26 and April 30. Both classes will be from 5:30 – 7:30 pm at the Elizabeth May Room at First United Bank in Bonham.

All participants who successfully complete either class will receive a certificate. Thanks to generous donors, there is no charge for the classes. Seating is limited and reservations are required. Register on-line at www.fanninccc.org.

Children’s Center staff are also available to come to a school, church, business or other location to teach these classes to adults, free of charge to groups of 8 or more. To learn more and arrange this, contact Andrea Lappin at andrea@fanninccc.org or (903) 583-4339.

The Fannin County Children’s Center has been serving children since 1993. The nonprofit agency’s mission is promoting safety and improving the lives of abused and neglected children. In addition to child abuse prevention classes, the center’s programs include CASA, Children’s Advocacy Center, Rainbow Rooms, School Supply Fair and Christmas Drive. For more information, go to www.fanninccc.org or call (903) 583-4339.

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Joey Koo – Volunteer of the Quarter

Joey Koo 2020Joey Koo has been named the Volunteer of the Quarter for the Fannin County Children’s Center. Koo started volunteering at the center a little under a year ago. He is an eighteen-year-old home school student and will be attending Southwestern University in the fall to study Art History.

“Being homeschooled I have extra time during each week,” said Koo. “That gives me the opportunity to volunteer and give back, so during this last year I have really tried to use that time well and hopefully help out a little and make a difference.”

Koo has helped prepare newsletters and invitations for mailing. One day, he assembled about a dozen new chairs that the center purchased. Last fall, he and another volunteer helped put together many of the table decorations for the center’s big fundraising event “Justice Is Served.”

When he is not volunteering at the center or completing his studies, Koo enjoys painting and drawing, going to museums, and spending time with friends and family. He lives in Bonham with his grandmother, dog and two birds.

“Joey is a great volunteer because he very passionate about helping others,” said Andrea Lappin, Community Development Director for the Children’s Center. “He is always willing to jump in and help wherever needed and very dependable. His enthusiasm, commitment and compassion are contagious, and he is a joy to work with. We are very lucky to have him as one of our volunteers at the center.”

The Fannin County Children’s Center is a nonprofit agency that started serving children in 1993. The agency’s mission is promoting safety and improving the lives of abused and neglected children. The agency’s programs include CASA, Children’s Advocacy Center, child abuse prevention and Rainbow Rooms. For more information, go to www.fanninccc.org.

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