Kudos Corner

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

  • 4 New CASA Advocates April 1, 2021

    Spring 2021 (1)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 Jan Woodruff, Jamie Gentry, Kristin Morgan and Lana Allred.

    Because of the pandemic, this training class was entirely on-line including the swearing in ceremony, which Judge Blake conducted via Zoom. Each volunteer will be assigned a case to work after taking their oaths.

    “We excited to welcome these people to our team and even more excited to report that we are very close to having an advocate for every child in foster care,” said Sandy Barber with the Fannin County Children’s Center, which includes the local CASA program.

    In the year ending August 31, 2020, CASA served 119 children, which was the second most number of children in one year in the agency’s 27 year history. That same fiscal year was the busiest ever in terms of the numbers of cases worked and the number of new children coming into foster care.

    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 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. For more information call (903) 583-4339 or visit www.fanninccc.org.

  • Art Contest Winners March 4, 2021
    Maesyn won first place

    Maesyn won first place

    Seven year old Maesyn Mallicote of Sumner, Texas took home the top prize in the Open Your Heart Art Contest sponsored by the Fannin County Children’s Center. She won $100 for her artwork that will now be featured on the front of the Open Your Heart campaign cards. Eight year old Xomayra Smith of Bonham, Texas won second place and $50. Her artwork will be featured on the inside of the cards.

    The winning artwork will be featured in the upcoming fundraising campaign for the Children’s Center. Funds raised will provide a wide array of support service to children, youth and families recovering from abuse and neglect, including CASA, the Children’s Advocacy Center and Rainbow Room. 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.

    Xomayra won second place

    Xomayra won second place

    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. The Rainbow Room provides new clothes, shoes, diapers, coats and other items to children served by CASA, Children’s Advocacy Center and Child Protective Services. To make a donation, learn about volunteer opportunities or read more about the center, go to www.fanninccc.org.

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  • Christmas Wrapped Up! December 22, 2020
    Jamie Lynch and Darrin Chaisson from Gifting The Cycle donated 50 bikes for Christmas!

    Jamie Lynch and Darrin Chaisson from Gifting The Cycle donated 50 bikes for Christmas!

    In all, 224 children served by the Fannin County Children’s Center will have gifts of coats, shoes, books, games, toys and other items to open on Christmas morning, thanks to several generous donors and many hard-working volunteers and staff.

    This year’s effort to provide Christmas presents for the children and youth served by CASA and the Children’s Advocacy Center looked different than in year’s past. Some of the changes were due to the pandemic, but others were because the agency’s caseload has grown so much in recent years.

    This year the staff and volunteers of the Children’s Center created a pop-up store at the Bonham Armory for the week of December 14. Parents, caregivers or advocates came to the store at a designated times to “shop” for the children in their care. Each child got a book and either a coat, hoodie or pair of shoes. Each family got one family board game and plenty of wrapping paper. Caregivers were also able to select toys and other gifts using a point system.

    “For the last few years, our traditional way of doing Christmas had grown to be more than our staff could reasonably manage. I started asking other CASA and CAC programs how they did Christmas, and we learned of this pop-up store idea,” said Sandy Barber of the Children’s Center. “This way of getting gifts to kids turned out to be much more empowering for our families and allowed for more volunteer involvement.”

    “Our community was amazing in their generosity once again! So many people gave what they could and it all added up to make sure all of the children served by CASA and the Children’s Advocacy Center have something special for Christmas,” said Barber.

    Rebel Roots Boutique, WalMart, Bonham Chrysler, CapTex, Legend Bank, First United Bank, Fannin Federal Credit Union, Fix and Feed, Tax Assessor Collector Office, Blessings and Butterflies, Stay Grounded Coffee Company, Warrior Tire, Red River Gypsies and 9-1-1 Nutrition put up teddy bear trees to help the center collect presents. “Many of these businesses have been doing this for as long as anyone can remember. Some places were new this year too,” said Barber. “We are very grateful for their faithful and generous support of our Christmas Drive.”

    Gifting The Cycle is a nonprofit that gives bicycles to children in the North Texas area. They gave 50 bicycles to the Children’s Center for Christmas presents.

    Presents were given to the children and youth who are being served by the Children’s Center’s two primary programs: 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 December 10, 2020
    Trustees with the MW and Fair Miller Foundation

    Trustees with the MW and Fair Miller Foundation

    Trustees with the M.W. and Fair Miller Foundation have been delivering lots of holiday cheer this month by presenting generous grants to many local schools and non-profit organizations in Fannin County. One generous gift was for $22,000 to the Fannin County Children’s Center.

    “Once again, we are excited and honored to receive such a generous gift,” said Sandy Barber, Executive Director of the Children’s Center. “This gift will provide many critical support services for kids from hard places. This donation will make sure advocacy, counseling, forensic interviews and many other support services are available to help children heal from the trauma of abuse and neglect.”

    The M.W. and Fair Miller Foundation was incorporated in 1988 and organized for the betterment and care of the children in Fannin County. Currently serving on the Board of Trustees are Dr. Jerry Hopson, Tyler Todd and Dr. Dana Sisk.

    The Fannin County Children’s Center is a nonprofit agency that has been serving abused and neglected children since 1993. Programs include CASA, Children’s Advocacy Center and child abuse prevention. For more information about the Children’s Center, including volunteer opportunities, go to www.fanninccc.org.

     

  • Another Successful Justice is Served! November 16, 2020

    The 16th annual Justice Is Served was different in many ways due to the pandemic.  “One thing that was not different was the generosity of this community,” said Sandy Barber, Executive Director of the Fannin County Children’s Center.  “Fannin County turned out BIG for kids from hard places.  Once again, we are grateful and so encouraged by such an awesome show of support.”

    Early estimates are that the event raised at least $60,000 to sustain the services provided by the Children’s Center, including CASA and the Children’s Advocacy Center.  By comparison, it was the third best year ever.  This event raised $66,000 to $67,000 in each of the last two years.

    This year’s event was a 3-day virtual event and the leaders of the nonprofit were not sure what to expect.  The first day of the event was the baked goods auction which raised a record breaking $4,475.  The rest of the items traditionally in the silent auction were in an on-line auction that lasted two days.

    On the third day of the event, there was a live stream starting at 7 pm on Saturday night.  Board President Steve Collida and Barber acted as hosts for the program.  Fannin County Game Warden Randolph McGee was the auctioneer for the evening.   A 5-day getaway to Broken Bow donated by Sunshine Dental raised $3,000 in the live auction.  The Courage Item donated by the Board of Directors sold for $2,550. This mystery gift turned out to be a trip to the Gaylord Resort with spa and meal packages. A last-minute auction item of a fishing trip on Lake Texoma with the Game Warden brought in the highest bids of the evening of $3,200.

    The raffle winner was announced during the live stream.  Samantha Farris won the guided fishing trip on Lake Texoma that was donated by Jason Garner Custom Welding.

    Before the Saturday night live stream, ten honorable servers delivered dinner to some of the event sponsors.  Fannin County Judge Randy Moore, 336th District Judge Lauri Blake, Judge Charles Butler, District Attorney Richard Glaser, Fannin County Sheriff Mark Johnson, Judge Bob Clemons, Judge Kenneth Karl, District Clerk Nancy Young, Juvenile Probation Chief Brandon Caffee and Adult Probation Chief Corey Baker delivered dinners and desserts prepared by local restaurants.

    The Children’s Center also premiered several new videos during the live stream that tell the stories of the services they provide and their dreams for the future.  For more about the Children’s Center, go to www.fanninccc.org.

  • New CASA Advocates October 22, 2020

    Fall 2020 (1)Seven 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 Dawnita Williams, Shonda Magness, Beverly Royse, Byron Royse, Heather Smith, Ashley Spencer and Marilyn Bower-Pegues.

    Because of the pandemic, this training class was entirely on-line including the swearing in ceremony, which Judge Blake conducted via Zoom. Each volunteer was quickly assigned a case to work soon after taking their oaths.

    “We excited to welcome these people to our team and even more excited to report that we are very close to having an advocate for every child in foster care,” said Sandy Barber with the Fannin County Children’s Center, which includes the local CASA program.

    In the year ending August 31, 2020, CASA served 119 children, which was the second most number of children in one year in the agency’s 27 year history. That same fiscal year was the busiest ever in terms of the numbers of cases worked and the number of new children coming into foster care.

    Fall 2020 (2)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 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 CASA training class is set to start in early 2021. For more information call (903) 583-4339 or click here.

  • Record Breaking North Texas Giving Day September 21, 2020

    More than $48,000 was raised in one day for 10 nonprofits in Fannin County on North Texas Giving Day.  This year marked the 12th year of this community wide fundraising event hosted by Communities Foundation of Texas and the third year for Fannin County to be included.

    In all, more than 3,200 nonprofits participated in North Texas Giving Day on September 17, 2020.  A grand total of about $58.8 million was raised, which set a new record and was significantly more than the $50 million raised in 2019.  In Fannin County alone, 218 donations to 10 organizations totaled up to $48,953.  This was more than double what was raised last year for Fannin County nonprofits, as $22,483 was raised in 2019.

    Fannin County nonprofits who received donations included Bonham Education Foundation,  Fannin County Children’s Center, Fannin County Food Pantry, Fannin County Family Crisis Center, Fannin Health Clinic, Feeding Fannin, Kool Lunches Program, Morning Star Academy, Northeast Texas Trail Coalition and Open Arms Shelter.

    The Children’s Center raised $27,000, which was about triple the amount raised last year.  The Children’s Center also won a $1,000 prize in a random drawing of all nonprofits who met or exceeded their matching dollars.  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 the services and programs offered by the center, as well as space for partner representatives from CPS, law enforcement, prosecution and medical professionals.  The Children’s Center revealed a rendering of their future home on their social media pages on Sept 17. (see below)

    Fannin Health Clinic raised $8,384.  These donations will be put to use immediately, purchasing flu vaccines for their patients, covering lab work, prescription drugs and other vital services for uninsured individuals in Fannin County.

    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. 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.

    FCCC 1

  • School Supply Drive Thru August 10, 2020

    Nearly 700 students from all over Fannin County received free school supplies on August 8 to start the new school year, thanks to a generous community. This year marked the 24th year that the Fannin County Children’s Center has provided school supplies to local children and youth.

    The exact number of students served this year was 687, which was more than in recent years. The last time the Children’s Center served more in one year was 2013 when 730 students received supplies.

    “We are so grateful to our generous donors and hard-working volunteers and staff who make this happen every year,” said Sandy Barber, Executive Director of the Children’s Center.

    This year’s event ran differently because of the pandemic. The drive thru event had families drive up and stay in their vehicles in front of the center while staff and volunteers brought supplies out to them.

    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. For more information, call (903) 583-4339 or go to www.fanninccc.org.

  • Nicole Brown CASA Advocate of the Quarter April 9, 2020

    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

  • Matthews Children’s Foundation March 11, 2020

    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.