Christmas at the Center

GaylesIn all, 210 children received Christmas gifts from the Fannin County Children’s Center, thanks to a generous community and many hard-working volunteers and staff.

For the third year in a row, the Children’s Center created a pop-up store to serve the children served by CASA and the Children’s Advocacy Center. Some CASA children were still served the traditional way. The pop-up store gave parents, caregivers or advocates an opportunity to select presents for their children. Each child got one or more books and either a coat, hoodie or pair of shoes. Each family got one family board game, wrapping paper and gift bags. Caregivers were also able to select toys and other gifts using a point system which gave each child 5-10 gifts.

“Over the years, our traditional way of doing Christmas had grown to be more than our staff could reasonably manage. We learned of this pop-up store idea from other Children’s Advocacy Centers,” 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.”

“Over and over again, we heard parents and other caregivers express their gratitude for this help for Christmas,” said Barber. “There were even some happy tears and lots of hugs of appreciation too.” One mother and grandmother were very excited to find cowboy boots in the exact size needed for their child.

United Methodist Women of Leonard

United Methodist Women of Leonard

“The generosity of our community was overwhelming and heartwarming once again. So many individuals, businesses, churches and other groups gave what they could. It all added up to make sure ALL the children served by CASA and the Children’s Advocacy Center have something special for Christmas,” said Barber. “This effort would also not be possible without our volunteers, board members and staff who worked hard to set up the store, run it and then take it all down.”

Eighteen local businesses set up teddy bear trees to help collect gifts for the children, including Blessings & Butterflies, Bonham Chrysler, Bonham Veterinary Clinic, Brookshire’s Grocery, CapTex Bank, Fannin Bank, Farm N Home Casualty (Pierson and Fendley Insurance), First United Bank, Gayle’s Restaurant, Honey Grove Library & Learning Center, Legend Bank, Red River Gypsies, Scriptx Honey Grove Pharmacy, Stay Grounded Coffee Company, Tax-Assessor Collector’s Office (Tag Office), Texas Farm Bureau Insurance, Veritex Bank and WalMart.

Bikes from Gifting the Cycle

Bikes from Gifting the Cycle

“Many of these businesses have been doing this for many years. A few were new this year,” said Barber. “We are very grateful for their support and generosity!”

Gifting The Cycle is a nonprofit that gives bicycles to children in the North Texas area. They gave 40 bicycles and helmets to the Children’s Center for Christmas presents. The United Methodist Women of Leonard and the Elvis Lives Texas Style group were two of many groups to donate lots or presents again this year.

When the Rock Yard in Trenton held their second annual Thanksgiving community meal in November, they set out a donation jar. The meal was offered for free and no donations were expected. They collected a grand total of $3000 in cash donations for Christmas presents for the Children’s Center.

Volunteers make this happen!

Volunteers make this happen!

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Christmas Drive for the Children’s Center

teddy bearThe Fannin County Children’s Center is currently seeking donations for their annual Christmas Drive. Last year, generous donors made it possible for 315 children and youth served by the center to get presents of clothing, coats, shoes, toys and other gifts. Organizers expect to serve a similar number of children this year.

Some of the children helped by this project 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.

Donations of cash, toys, new coats, new hoodies, shoes and other items are now being accepted.

Teddy bear trees, which contain wishes or needs are going up at several local businesses including: Brookshire’s, Blessings & Butterflies, Bonham Chrysler, CapTex Bank (Bonham & Trenton), Farm N Home Casualty, First United Bank (Bonham & Leonard), Legend Bank, Stay Grounded Coffee Company, Tax-Assessor Collector’s Office (Tag Office), Texas Farm Bureau Insurance, and WalMart

For donors who are short on time, the center also accepts cash donations which will be used to purchase gifts for the children. The center also has an Amazon Wish List:

Donations can be brought or mailed to the center at 112 West Fifth Street, Bonham, Texas 75418. The center is open 8 am to 5 pm, Monday – Friday, with extended hours until 6 pm on Dec 6-8.

Organizers ask that the donations arrive by Dec 9, or earlier if possible. This will allow time for gifts to be sorted and delivered in time for the holidays. Checks should be made out to FCCC and indicate they are for Christmas. Donations can also be made by online on the center’s website. All donations are tax deductible to the extent allowable by law. For more information, call 903-583-4339 or visit


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McCraw Oil and TXB Give to the Children’s Center

2022 TXB golfThe Fannin County Children’s Center was thrilled to accept a donation of $22,000 from TXB (formerly Kwik Chek) and McCraw Oil and Propane recently. This check was one of several being delivered around the state by Sherry Capehart, on behalf of the two companies.

This gift was part of the proceeds from the 26th annual Doyce Taylor Memorial McCraw Oil & Propane/TXB Golf Tournament and 5th Annual Fishing Tournament held in May 2022. Over the past 14 years, this TXB and McCraw Oil have raised $787,000 for CASA programs across the state.

“What an honor it was for myself and a few team members to present the check at Justice Is Served, Dancing Through The Decades,” said Sherry Capehart. “We strongly believe in giving back to the communities that we service, especially when children are involved. We look forward to the support we can provide in the future, through our Round UP For Change Campaign, starting again next month at our TXB sites and our annual fishing and golf tournaments.”

“We are absolutely thrilled to accept this very generous donation!” said Sandy Barber of the Children’s Center. “The folks at McCraw Oil and TXB are wonderful. Not only do they host this tournament each year, they also serve on our board, volunteer at our center and always answer our calls for help. We are grateful for their partnership. They truly do live up to their motto of “leave ‘em better.”

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.
The gift to the Children’s Center will support children in foster care by providing trained volunteer advocates. To learn more about the Children’s Center, go to

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Justice Is Served for Kids

JIS servers 2022More than 400 people attended the 18th annual “Justice Is Served” event at the Complex in Bonham. Very early estimates are that the event raised at least $65,000 for the Fannin County Children’s Center.

The event theme was “Dancing Through the Decades, Celebrating Three Decades of Serving Children.” Guests dressed in attire from previous decades and included tie dye shirts, poodle skirts, disco outfits, flapper dresses and neon outfits from the 80’s. Guests bid on items in a large silent auction while a DJ played dancing hits from previous decades. Guests also had fun taking turns at the SMP Party photo booth sponsored by Fannin Bank. Several local officials in the justice field served up the buffet style dinner.

Five of the honorable servers were recognized for having been servers at 15 or more of the events over the years. They included 336th District Judge Lauri Blake, Fannin County Criminal District Attorney Richard Glaser, Fannin County Sheriff Mark Johnson, Justice of the Peace Kenneth Karl and District Clerk Nancy Young.

Ten sponsors who have generously supported the event for 15 or more years were also recognized at the event. They included DuAnne Bragg, Ray and Gloria Campbell, Clayton Homes, Cole Title Company, Fannin Bank, First United Bank (formerly American Bank of Texas), Glaser Family Charitable Foundation, Bobby and Karen McCraw, TXB and McCraw Oil and Propane and Voluntary Purchasing Group (VPG).

The highest winning bid of the night was $3,000 for a Getaway trip to Broken Bow donated by Sunshine Dental. Turtle brownies made by 336th District Judge Lauri Blake set a new record, selling for $2,200.

First United Bank was the presenting Diamond Sponsor of the event. Platinum sponsors included TXB, McCraw Oil and Propane, B&B Service Center/Driver’s Choice, Renlita Custom Opening Solutions, Bonham Chrysler, Pampered Paws in memory of Gaston Bordelon, and Kevin and Hailey Mayberry.

Funds raised from the event will provide counseling, advocacy, forensic interviews and more to help children from hard places heal, grow and thrive. To learn more about the Children’s Center, including volunteer opportunities, go to

First United Bank

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Justice Is Served

First United BankTime is running out to get tickets or tables for Justice Is Served.  The event will benefit the Fannin County Children’s Center and provide critical support services to children, youth and families recovering from abuse and neglect.

First United Bank is the presenting Diamond Sponsor of the event. Platinum sponsors include B&B Service Center and Driver’s Choice, Bonham Chrysler, Kevin and Hailey Mayberry, Pampered Paws Dog Hotel, Renlita Custom Opening Solutions, TXB and McCraw Oil and Propane.

The in-person event will be at the MultiPurpose Complex in Bonham on Saturday, Nov. 12, starting at 6 pm.  Tickets and tables are on sale now at the Children’s Center and on their website.  Ticket prices include dinner, drinks, desserts and an evening of fun.  Bidding in the live and silent auction will be in-person only.

Dinner will be served up buffet style by local judges, police chiefs, sheriff, DA and others in the justice system.  Guests are encouraged to dress up for the event theme which is “Dancing Through the Decades, Celebrating Three Decades of Serving Children.”  Guests may choose to wear flapper dresses from the 20’s, poodle skirts from the 50’s, tye dye from the 60’s, disco outfits from the 70’s or fashion from more recent decades.

The Baked Goods Auction will be on-line only and anyone with access to the internet can participate without purchasing a ticket.  The Baked Goods Auction will be on Wednesday, Nov. 9.  Bidding will open at 9:00 am and end at 5:15 pm.  Winners can pick up their items at the Children’s Center the same day until 7 pm or on Thursday or Friday from 8 am to 5 pm.

The Silent Auction items will be up for bid at the event on Saturday and will include jewelry, home furnishings, hand crafted items, gift cards and gift baskets.   The Live Auction includes tickets to the Texas v Baylor football game donated by Leonard Pharmacy, a Getaway to Broken Bow donated by Sunshine Dental, a Frisco RoughRiders VIP package donated by TXB and McCraw Oil, a Lone Star Bench donated by Calvary United Pentecostal Church in Bonham, Judge Lauri Blake’s Turtle Brownies and a Tailgate Table made by the Bonham High School Ag Department.

more event info

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New CASA Advocates

new advocates fall 2022Three 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 Cathy Naylor, Star Breece and Taryn Nejtek.

“We are so excited to have these three new CASA advocates join our team,” said Julie Luton, CASA Program Director with the Fannin County Children’s Center, which includes the local CASA program. “All of them have dedicated themselves to work the 32 hours of training it takes to be a CASA volunteer. All three are now trained and ready to help children from hard places. Now their CASA journey begins! And as Gandhi said “the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.””

In the year ending August 31, 2022, CASA volunteers logged in 2,963 hours serving 66 children in foster care. During the same year, when CASA closed out cases 23% were reunified with their families, 41% went to live permanently with relatives, 32% went to non-relatives and 5% aged out of 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 of several programs for abused and neglected children that are operated by the Fannin County Children’s Center. The next new CASA volunteer training will likely be in January or February 2023. Other volunteer opportunities are available now at the Children’s Center. For more information call (903) 583-4339 or visit

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North Texas Giving Day!


logo vertical 2022North Texas Giving Day is coming up soon on September 22, 2022. This year marks the 14th year of this community wide fundraising event hosted by Communities Foundation of Texas. It is the fifth year for the event to include Fannin County and a few other counties surrounding Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

More than 3,300 nonprofits are participating in North Texas Giving Day this year, including at least 11 nonprofits based in Fannin County: Bonham Education Foundation, Creative Arts Center, Fannin County Children’s Center, Fannin County Family Crisis Center, Fannin Health Clinic, Fannin County Food Pantry, Feeding Fannin, Getting Ahead, Kool Lunches Program, Lucky and Sadie’s Place and Open Arms Shelter.

Early giving is open now. Community members can go to and make donations to many of their favorite charities in one place anytime between now and midnight on Sept 22. 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.

For example, the Fannin County Children’s Center has secured $10,000 in matching funds from TXB and McCraw Oil. Funds raised by the Children’s Center will be used to sustain all the services they provide to children from hard places, including counseling, advocacy, forensic interviews, court accompaniment and more.

The Open Arms Shelter has secured $450 in matching funds from Boyd Baptist Church. At last check, they only needed to raised an additional $350 to meet that match. Open Arms Shelter is a Biblical faith-based organization that provides temporary shelter and guidance toward an independent life through hope, encouragement, and shelter.

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 a community-wide celebration and an event that promotes 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. To give or learn more about North Texas Giving Day, go to

early giving 2022

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Successful School Supply Drive!

More than 600 students from all over Fannin County received free school supplies on August 6 to start the new school year, thanks to a generous community.  This year marked the 26th year that the Fannin County Children’s Center has provided school supplies to local children and youth.

The exact number of students served on Saturday was 605.  Organizers expect the final number to grow over the next few days as additional students will be served with the remaining supplies.  Misti Tackett and Emily Littleton from Hair Central in Leonard also provided free haircuts to 19 students too.

“Once again, we are very 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.

“We also appreciate Misti and Emily for generously using their talents to give 19 children free haircuts on Saturday.  We also are grateful to Red River Gypsies for loaning us their space, so that the haircuts could be indoors and in a setting suitable for haircuts,” said Barber.

Numerous other organizations braved the heat and set up outside, in front of the center to offer resources to the children and families getting supplies.  One City Church gave away 500 breakfast burritos as well as lots of toiletries, baby wipes and diapers. Other vendors included Bailey Inglish Early Childhood Center, Balloons & More, Bonham Public Library, Fannin County Prenancy Care Center, Fannin County Sherriff Office, Meade-Norman Bayless Insurance, Superior HealthPlan, Texas A&M ArgiLife Extension Service, Texas Farm Bureau, Texas Star and Texas Health Steps (Maximus) and Workforce Solutions Texoma.

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.  The next CASA volunteer training class starts soon.  The deadline to apply online to become a CASA is Aug 22.  For more information, call (903) 583-4339 or go to

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Prevention Classes

The Fannin County Children’s Center has scheduled two free classes for this summer for adults to learn how to prevent, recognize and respond child abuse. The classes are designed for parents, teachers, other school personnel, day care workers, coaches, Sunday School teachers and other professionals and volunteers who work with children.

“Stewards of Children” is a 2 hour class that utilities video, workbooks and class discussion to teach adults how to prevent, recognize and respond child sexual abuse. The video includes personal stories from survivors of sexual abuse and education from professionals in the child abuse field. This class will be offered on Thursday, August 18, 2022 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm at the Children’s Center. Register now

“Recognizing & Reporting” is a 1.5 hour class that 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 on Thursday, August 25, 2022 from 5:30 – 7:00 pm at the Children’s Center. Register now

Both classes will be held at the Children’s Center at 112 West Fifth Street in Bonham. All participants who successfully complete the class will receive a certificate. There is no charge for the classes, thanks to generous support from local donors. Seating is limited and advanced registration is required. Registration is available online

The Fannin County Children’s Center is a private, non-profit organization. Its mission is promoting safety and improving the lives of abused and neglected children. Programs include CASA, Children’s Advocacy Center and child abuse prevention efforts.

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School Supply Drive

Donations are needed for the 26th annual School Supply Drive and Fair hosted by the Fannin County Children’s Center. The Children’s Center will once again be giving away free school supplies to Fannin County students on Saturday, August 6 from 9 am to noon.

This year’s event will include a Back-to-School Fair, similar to what was done in 2019. The street in front of the center will be blocked off to allow churches, non-profits, local businesses and other organizations to set up tents to give away free food, resources or information. Free haircuts will be provided. There is still more room for additional vendors and people licensed to cut hair. The vendor application can be found on the agency website or by contacting Andrea Lappin at (903) 583-4339 or

The center is also seeking donations to make this effort possible. “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.” 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 12,000 students in the last 25 years. Organizers expect to serve 500-700 students again this year. This effort depends on contributions from many generous individuals, churches, businesses and other local organizations.

Items needed include: notebook paper, pens, pencils, three-ring notebooks, folders with and without brads, spiral notebooks, scissors, markers, crayons, red pens and pencils, highlighters, glue sticks, glue in bottles, erasers, backpacks, construction paper, manilla paper, watercolor paints, pencil boxes and pencil bags.

Contributions can be delivered to the center at 112 West Fifth Street, Bonham, TX anytime they are open from Monday – Friday 8 am to 5 pm. 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 at All donations are tax deductible to the extent allowable by law. Organizers request that contributions arrive by August 3 or earlier if at all possible to allow time for organization and preparations. For more information, call (903) 583-4339 or go to

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