It’s our favorite season at Child Advocates of Fort Bend for so many reasons. We have an incredible opportunity to let the entire community know about children who have been abused and neglected when we host our 30th Anniversary Christmas Home Tour on December 10 – 11. We are delighted to bring you four beautifully decorated homes for your enjoyment and inspiration. But most importantly, the Home Tour provides a platform to tell the stories of more than 20,000 children we have served over three decades. By buying a tour and raffle ticket, by volunteering as a host/hostess in a home, by serving on the committee, or by sponsoring this incredible event, you are helping Child Advocates of Fort Bend live our Mission: To Strengthen the Voice of Children who have been Abused or Neglected, Heal the Hurt and Break the Cycle of Abuse and Neglect. You are helping us get closer to our Vision of Ending the Cycle of Abuse. By one small act of kindness and support, you will be helping these children today and for generations to come. I hope to see you on the Tour!
We also love this season because of TOYS! You, our incredibly generous donors, volunteers and friends donate hundreds of stuffed animals, bicycles, stockings, games and every imaginable toy to make these children’s holiday season special. Elves are getting ready for toy drop offs and our new Multi-Function Building and Pavilion will provide the perfect collection and distribution venue.
We love this season because it gives us the opportunity to GIVE THANKS to all our generous donors who supported us at the Gala, Christmas Home Tour and at the many Cocktails and Conversation small group gatherings over the past year; to thank the hundreds of dedicated volunteers who remained faithful to their commitments to advocate for children in foster care through CASA, lovingly greet children in our CAC, welcome visitors (and take temperatures) at our building, collect auction items for our Gala, decorate houses at our Christmas Home Tour, serve as Ambassadors at our Voices For Children Breakfast and so, so much more. We could not have had such a successful year without your continuing support and commitment and we deeply thank you.
Wishing you peace, joy and good health this season and in the coming year from your Child Advocates of Fort Bend Family.
Blessings to you and your families,
CEO, Child Advocates of Fort Bend
We asked and you answered the call! When we put an all-call out for quilts, Dana Meschi from Brenham, TX made 18 custom quilts for the children we serve. Special thanks to her for making these for us! The children absolutely love them. Shown are Jen Brown and Mike Meador (Volunteer).
Thank You Brynlee and Braden Stevens!
Thank you to Brynlee and Brayden Stevens for their generous donation of 40 blankets to help kids who visit CAFB feel cozy and safe. Brynlee is currently 2022 UNM Richmond Princess and #brynleesblankets is her personal platform. Thank you for your generosity!
Thank You Fort Bend County DA’s Office and PetSmart
Fort Bend County DA’s Office and PetSmart collected 12 large bags of stuffed animals for the children we serve. Investigators Davidson, Gonzalez, and Kreusel delivered the bags and gave the first animal to a 4-year-old child visiting the CAC. Thanks for your generosity!!
Thank You Catholic Daughters
The Catholic Daughters donated hats, gloves, and socks to the children we serve to keep them warm this winter. Duchess and Jim Collins, Sharon Henry, Nanette Willis, Catherine Odika, and Jill Wolosonovich delivered the items to our campus. Thank you for your generosity and for choosing Child Advocates of Fort Bend for your donation.
Thank you, Fluor!
Child Advocates of Fort Bend (CAFB) was named among the 2021 event beneficiaries of the Fluor Cares – Golf for Greater Houston tournament and received a $50,000 grant from proceeds from the annual event. Fluor Cares is the charitable and employee volunteer arm of Fluor Corporation. As part of the Golf Tournament, local partners and non-profits also participate in a trade showcase to inform attendees about the work their respective agency does in the community. CAFB is so thankful for our local community partners who share our vision for ending child abuse.
VOICES FOR CHILDREN CIRCLE
Sustainable Funds, Transforming Lives
Please consider joining our VOICES FOR CHILDREN CIRCLE before the year ends!
Your support will transform children’s lives.
Why Sustainable Funding? Child Advocates of Fort Bend has been fortunate to be supported over the past 30 years due to the generosity of the community and grant support. However, most donations are annual or one-time gifts and often for restricted purposes. Sustainable (multi-year) gifts have numerous advantages:
- Ensures uninterrupted services for children and families
- Facilitates forecasting and planning of resources including staff, equipment and supplies
- Assists donors by allowing for payment to be spread over multiple years, yet be recognized at the total value of the pledge
To become a VOICES FOR CHILDREN CIRCLE member, contact Dana at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you begun your holiday shopping? Did you know that Child Advocates of Fort Bend is registered for AmazonSmile? This is a program through Amazon.com that will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Ft Bend County Child Advocates, Inc. This allows you to give back to the children we serve while you shop this holiday season! To shop via AmazonSmile, go to http://smile.amazon.com/ch/76-0337426.
Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC)
Our Children’s Advocacy Center staff have been on the front lines since the beginning of the COVID pandemic and the number of children and families in need of our services has increased dramatically. This team of therapists, social workers and others has been working tirelessly to meet the needs of children and families, often working late at night, or coming in after hours for interviews. Not only did these folks work but several of them completed degrees while juggling work, home, and the stress of the pandemic. We are proud of them and applaud this team and our entire staff for all their hard work this year. As we close out 2021, we asked our CAC staff what they felt their biggest accomplishments were and here are their answers:
“My biggest accomplishment during COVID has been coming into work. When it seemed most everyone was able to work from home I remained upbeat about coming into the office. When it seemed most everyone was running the other way from people, I was grateful to be around my handful of coworkers and was encouraged by our willingness to continue serving families in person. I am proud that none of us got COVID as we continued to serve families and found ways to serve more families as the risk remained high.”
“I am also proud that I worked full time, my husband worked full time and our 3 kids were home trying to figure out online school. There were a lot of tears, stress, “I don’t want to”, and late nights. There were some school assignments that had to wait until we got home from work to be started because the kids needed the extra help. My husband and I were very excited once the schools opened back up.”
Work Accomplishments: “Starting my clinical supervision for my LCSW & taking on therapy clients.”
“We were able to continue to serve the children during the pandemic and remain open for interviews. We followed the CDC guidelines and had to continuously change protocols to remain open and serve the children. We did not turn any child in need away due to the pandemic. The interviewers and staff risked their own health and safety and were in close contact with people at the early stages of it all and it really shows our team’s dedication to the children and families we serve.”
“I’m proud of and thankful for the fact that during the height of COVID we came to work every day and by using the procedures and protocols set in place (masks, social distancing, screening questions, and temperature checks), it kept our staff, clients, and families safe from the virus. No staff or families caught COVID from being at the CAC. Considering the number of people we saw during that time, that’s an amazing feat!”
“Finding balance between meeting client needs and the needs of my own family.”
“Adjusting to protocols to maintain safety of staff and clients”
“Great teamwork and a good sense of humor to get through the challenging days.”
“I feel like my biggest accomplishment related to work is not only mine but our team’s accomplishments. We have been able to continue to accommodate our partners and the families. We never stopped seeing children. We were so accommodating that partners from counties we do not serve reached out to see if we could serve their children because other CAC’s had waitlists for forensic interviews. Every time a new partner comes to our agency, they tell us how easy we make the process, how everyone at the facility is extremely nice, and that they wished they could bring all their cases to our center. When I hear these compliments, it gives me a sense of pride because I am part of that team.”
RIP – Louis Poodle
Beloved therapy dog Louis Poodle passed away recently. He was about 15 years old and died of liver cancer. For years, Louis and his owner Margaret came every Tuesday and spread love and joy to clients, families and staff. Together they were the stars of the show in the playroom. Margaret worked with kids every day as a Special Education Counselor, but then still gave up her free time to come volunteer. Louis and Margaret moved to Seattle a few years ago but kept in touch. He was a very special therapy dog who will be greatly missed.
We need both blankets and Pop-Its. Not familiar with Pop-Its? Pop-its are fidget toys that we use in the interview rooms and children are allowed to take with them when they leave. They help to reduce anxiety in a similar way to other fidget toys and can be a great way to any child to calm down or get rid of the wiggles.
Court Appointed Special Advocates Program (CASA)
November was an exceptionally busy month for our CASA and Community Engagement Teams. CASA Volunteer Advocates have been busy working their cases. We’ve seen an uptick in hearings which has kept them very busy. In addition, our CASA team has been working on the annual CASA audit, making sure all files are complete and that everything is organized and as it should be.
We have the following specialized volunteer opportunities available if you are interested or know someone who might be:
- Education Mentor (contact Krystal at KHughes@cafb.org)
- Trauma Informed Advocacy Mentor (contact Aly at AFerrante@cafb.org)
- Anti-Child Trafficking Advocacy Mentor (contact Krystal at KHughes@cafb.org)
- Collaborative Family Engagement Meeting Facilitator (contact Jackie at JTownsend@cafb.org)
- Collaborative Family Engagement Family Connections Mentor (contact Jackie at JTownsend@cafb.org)
Fifteen CASA Volunteer Advocates completed their volunteer training this month and were sworn in. We are excited to have them join the CAFB family and are looking forward to working with them. Our NEST and WINGS teams hosted their annual Fall Break event for the children and youth on November 23. The youth participated in a pack-a-thon in the morning, packing food for the hungry followed by a fun afternoon with the Steel Talons who created an escape room for them to do. Later, they got to spend a few hours with the horses at Reining Strength Therapeutic Horsemanship. Everyone had a great time and is looking forward to the Spring give back event!
On December 2, we will celebrate CASA Volunteers who have closed cases and on December 3, our NEST Team is planning their Incentive Party at our Campus with a movie night featuring the movie UP. Special thanks to Lawren Covault with Cane Island for loaning us their movie trailer for this event. The kids will enjoy Coney Island hot dogs, a sack cart and more to celebrate their successes with behavior and in the classroom. Stay tuned to hear how it went.
Casey Davis at NAACP Missouri City Chapter’s Business and Community Showcase; Jackie Townsend and Julia Saller at Cornerstone Community Bible Church National Adoption Month Event
The Community Engagement team has been off and running too. In October, they shared awareness and education with 875 people at 17 different events and November and December numbers will be similar. The NAACP – Missouri City Chapter’s Business & Community Showcase and Cornerstone Community Bible Church National Adoption Month awareness event were just a few of the events they participated in to spread Child Abuse Prevention Awareness in our community. Other highlights included more than 7 Child Safety Matters presentations. Special thanks to Dallis Warren and Dr. Jennifer Roberts for partnering with us at the schools and to Shady Oak Primary School for hosting us as well. We have presentations for children and adults of all ages. If you would like for us to present to your group, please contact Lindsey at LCastellanos@cafb.org to get on our calendar. If you are interested in joining the Outreach Speaking Team, please contact Jennifer at JBrown@cafb.org. We will train you and you can observe a few trainings before you commit to see if it is something you would like to do.
On December 9 from 10am until noon, we will be hosting a Darkness to Light training in our building for anyone interested. This training will help you learn how to prevent recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. Reservations are required. For more information or to reserve your spot, contact Lindsey at LCastellanos@cafb.org.
Congratulations Rhonda Kuykendall
Congratulations to Volunteer and CAFB Board member Rhonda Kuykendall! Rhonda has been named as the Anti-Child Trafficking Consultant for Texas CASA. She will be working with Texas CASA to further develop best practices for local programs to be active stakeholders in their local anti-trafficking community, and to develop a framework for programs and volunteers to best advocate for children and youth who have been or are at risk of being trafficked. Learn more about Rhonda and her new appointment at https://texascasa.org/2021/11/09/texas-casa-welcomes-anti-child-trafficking-consultant/.
National Adoption Day
On Friday, November 19th we held our annual National Adoption Day celebration. Due to COVID protocols, this year’s event was a hybrid celebration with families being given the option of in-person or virtual adoption followed by a celebration at our Davis George Campus. Thirteen adoptions, eight for children out of foster care, were finalized that morning and an additional 17 children were adopted out of the foster care system earlier this year. Following the ceremony at the courthouse, families could drive through our campus or park and participate in an outdoor celebration, depending on their comfort level. Special thanks to all of our partners who worked on this event with us and to these organizations who participated in the celebration at our office: Cultivating Families, Arms Wide Open Adoptions, Biker’s Against Child Abuse, Sanctuary Foster Care, Southern Ice Cream, ArtREACH, Aguirre Fields Engineering Innovators, Fort Bend Junior Service League, Rosenberg Exchange Club and CAFB volunteers. See additional photos from this event at https://www.cafb.org/events/national-adoption-day/.
CAFB Volunteer Handyperson Needed
We are looking for a volunteer who has a few hours a week to help out at our building with general maintenance. If you can spare some time and are “handy” with tools and fixing things around your house, we’d love to talk to you!
For more information or to volunteer, contact Cathy at CZapalac@cafb.org.
Infant & Toddler Monthly Open-Door Topic Talk
Join us for our monthly infant toddler drop in on Monday, December 6 from noon to 1pm. Renee Lukefahr will be hosting. The talk topic will be open. Renee will be available to answer any questions regarding your cases. In addition, volunteers can help one another with issues that they may be experiencing. Watch for the zoom link to join us. Any questions contact Renee at email@example.com.
Opportunity to help our Neighbors
Our friends at Renova Appliance did a give back for CAFB and donated $5500 to us in November and now we would like to help them by sharing their upcoming event. Instead of hosting an employee Christmas party or celebration, the team at Renova decided that they want to throw a PAR-TAY and stuff one of their utility trailers full of toys to deliver to “Toys For Tots”. On Wednesday, December 15th they are holding an event in their showroom at 12440 S Sam Houston Parkway W, Houston TX 77031 from 11AM to 8PM with music, live chefs doing demonstrations and making small bites, and more. This is a FREE community event to spread some extra cheer this year! Contact Megan at Megan@Renovaapplicance.com for any questions!
Our Christmas Home Tour is around the corner! We are finalizing everything and are so excited to share the four exceptionally decorated homes with you!
How can you buy your $30 ticket?
- Purchase on our website by clicking on THIS LINK
- Visit Fort Bend County Randalls stores, Magpies, Southern Sister, Fabulous You, 2250 Interiors or Sienna Home Finder
And don’t forget our fabulous Wreath Raffle sponsored by Early, McClintic & McMillan. To see all the amazing wreaths and purchase a raffle ticket for $10 a chance, visit our website. Tickets may also be purchased at Sienna Home Finder Center. Forgot to get a wreath raffle ticket? No problem – you can purchase a chance while visiting our homes the weekend of Dec 10 & 11. The winners will be announced on Tuesday, December 14th at noon. Pick up will be at the CAFB offices.
Are you wondering how can you help? We are still in need of wonderful hosts for the homes and cookie bakers! Please click HERE to host and sign up for a 2–3-hour shift. As you know, part of the Christmas Home Tour tradition is yummy homemade baked cookies! If you or someone you know, would like to provide 3 dozen cookies, please click HERE for all the details including the drop off locations.
CAFB T-Shirt UPDATE
If you purchased a CAFB “Merry & Bright” t-shirt, please pick up from the CAFB offices the week of November 29th. If you chose to have the t-shirt shipped to you, they will be shipped the week of November 29th. We have a limited supply of short sleeved shirts available at the office for a donation of $25. Please contact Tarina at TSheridan@cafb.org if you would like one.
Mark your calendars!
December 2, 2021 Case Closing Celebration
6pm – 8pm
Newmark Homes Model in Veranda
Join us to celebrate 21 CASA Volunteer Advocates who have closed cases and CAC Volunteers who have completed mentoring!
To RSVP or for more information contact Jennifer at JBrown@cafb.org.
December 10 + 11, 2021 Christmas Home Tour
Friday 10am – 4pm + 6pm – 9pm
Saturday 10am – 4pm
To sponsor, volunteer or for more information contact Tarina at TSheridan@cafb.org.
December 24 + 27, 2021 Offices Closed for Holiday