CAFB July News - Child Advocates of Fort Bend
CAFB July News


Things are hopping at CAFB with a very busy summer! June has been packed and it is wonderful to host events, trainings, and programming in person this year. It was fantastic to see so many of our volunteers at the Volunteer Happy Hour on June 8 at Lupe Tortilla, hosted by Volunteer Council. We had a fun night, and it was great to be together again to thank our amazing volunteers for your service. For donors and supporters, we launched Sip ‘N Stroll on June 29 which offers in-person tours of our campus, complete with beverages and light bites. The series will continue the last Tuesday evening of each month through August.  We also re-introduced our popular Cocktails and Conversation small group gatherings held in private homes to provide more in-depth updates about all the wonderful things going on at Child Advocates of Fort Bend.  Check out the program updates below to see some of the other highlights of this summer.

Thank you to all our volunteers, donors, partners and supporters who are making Summer 2021 so special.  As we move from a virtual world to in-person, it underscores the importance of personal connections in the work we do and how life-changing a hug, a high-five, or a cheer are for children as they overcome challenges and achieve incredible milestones.   Thank you for being a part of these children’s journeys!

For the Children’s Sake,

Ruthanne Mefford
CEO, Child Advocates of Fort Bend


Youth on a Mission to Help the Community
Thirteen-year-old twins, Maya and Arjun Govindaraj, started a club with their friends called “Mission BE A Resource” (BEAR) in September 2020 with the goal of volunteering for the community and spreading awareness about Rainbow Rooms and foster children. They donated 150 snack bags to the Children’s Advocacy Center for the children who come for interviews and therapy. We appreciate their donation and their generosity to CAFB.



Thank You Linlin Yan!
Many thanks to Linlin Yan with Chai Time Radio for coordinating an amazing give-back event at Spenga Sugar Land! We got to spin, stretch with yoga, indulge in delicious treats from Alings Chinese Bistro and make some amazing new friends who donated over $1,000 to CAFB.


Thank You George Hood and UPS Store #6774!
We are so thankful to George Hood and UPS Store #6774 who recently donated a variety of books at all reading levels to us! This generous donation gives our volunteers another option to entertain children in the Children’s Advocacy Center waiting area – reading good books to them. The children will also be able to take a few books home with them to keep.

In addition to helping entertain children in the Advocacy Center, the donation will help our CASA Advocates who take books to children in foster care when they make their monthly visits. Thanks to UPS Store #6774, a lot of children will be receiving good books at the right reading level. The books will not only help children maintain their pre-summer reading levels, but it will provide them with hours of enjoyment. It’s a win – win!

Thank You Sugar Creek Baptist Church
Pastor Jeff Land from Sugar Creek Baptist Church and members of his team have adopted children into their homes, so our mission is close to their hearts. Earlier this year, Pastor Jeff approached us about promoting awareness about Child Advocates of Fort Bend in their summer Vacation Bible School program. He invited Community Outreach Coordinator Lindsey Castellanos to meet with his team to learn about the needs of the children that we serve and invited us to record videos to promote prevention and child safety to all their VBS campers. We were able share this information to over 1,200 campers throughout Fort Bend County. They also held a “mission” moment each day and completed a gift card drive for the children of our agency. Not only did they help spread awareness about our agency, but their three camps donated more than $6000 in gift cards to us. We utilize those gift cards to help fill in need gaps for the children and families we serve. We are so grateful to Pastor Jeff and his team for thinking of us and for their generosity! If you would like to host a similar event or promote child safety education to your organization, contact Lindsey Castellanos or 281-344-5259.

Program Updates

Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC)

Our Children’s Advocacy Center has been extremely busy with record numbers of interviews. The CAC is seeing hundreds of children and families every month and our team is team is working extremely hard to make sure that all are getting the services and help that they need.

We are extremely grateful for the many generous donations of activity bags that we have received over the last year and we are excited to announce that we have returned the toys to the playrooms and no longer need donations of activity bags.

We have a couple of other needs at this time.

Each child receives a stuffed animal, a blanket and a snack after their first appointment. Although most teens enjoy receiving a stuffed animal, we would like to be able to provide them with more age-appropriate items including ear buds, nail polish, playing cards, etc.

In addition, we need snacks (candy, chocolate and chips) for the investigators from CPS and law enforcement who are in our office daily, working to ensure that the children and community are safe. They often spend hours at our Center working on a single case. We are grateful for their hard work in their very difficult jobs.

If you can donate, please contact Melissa Johnson at to arrange delivery.


Court Appointed Special Advocates Program (CASA) and Community Engagement

Between testifying in court, visiting children and a host of summer activities, our CASA and Community Engagement teams have been off and running this month!

With a shortage of male volunteers and several cases that would best be served with a male advocate, we kicked off 2021 volunteer training with our first Volunteer Pre-service Training exclusively for men called MEN OF CASA.  We are delighted to have an amazing group of men from all walks of life and backgrounds who want to make a difference in the lives of children.  Studies show that children with a consistent, positive male influence in their lives achieve more academically, are more likely to abstain from using drugs, demonstrate greater ability to take initiative, have better physical well-being and better evidence of self-control. These new volunteers will fill that void for some of the children we serve. We welcome them to the CAFB family and look forward celebrating them at their Swearing-In Ceremony on July 8.

On Friday, June 18 our N.E.S.T. team treated children to a Summer Movie Night at our campus to celebrate their educational and behavioral achievements this semester. The luau themed evening was complete with a showing of “Moana” and a concession stand filled with James Coney Island hotdogs, popcorn, and treats. Special thanks to Cane Island, Lawren Eckhardt Covault and Brian Covault. The children and families LOVED the drive-in movie event!

              (N.E.S.T. Summer Movie Night)

The following afternoon, we held a Hawaiian themed celebration for 21 High School Seniors, many of whom have been a part of our WINGS programming during their teen years and have benefited from the life skills, educational support, mentoring and planning for adult living  that are the bedrocks of the program. Special thanks to FRIENDS of CAFB for providing gift cards for the youth, the Child Welfare Board for also helping with the gift cards and providing laptops and Preparation for Adult Living (PAL) for lunch and the decorations! Youth in our WINGS program consistently graduate at a higher rate than the national average. They worked hard and we are extremely proud of their success! Check out a little of the action from the celebration at

     (WINGS Graduation Celebration)

Our Infant and Toddler Team hosted a very informative conference, “Child-Centered Attachment and Co-Parenting” on June 25 which focused on the importance of caregiver attachment in the critical first 100 days of life.

The Community Engagement team launched its Summer series “Connection is Prevention” on CAFB’s Facebook page on Tuesday, June 1st. The series, with Lindsey Castellanos and Jennifer Brown is intended to provide resources to everyone who interacts with children. They’ll discuss books they have read and what they have learned, hard topics to discuss with your children, current events and how those relate to caregivers and much more.  Watch the first few episodes below and make sure to join us each Tuesday on Facebook for more on how to stay connected with the kids in your life so you’ll be better able to keep them protected.

Community Engagement will begin its Summer Education Series for teachers, counselors and administrators beginning Tuesday, July 13 on Zoom and will run throughout the rest of the month of July.



Infant & Toddler Monthly Open-Door Topic Talk

The Infant and Toddler Team is hosting monthly Open-Door meetings to give advocates assigned to infant and toddler cases an opportunity to drop in, ask questions, staff cases, or just say “Hi” to fellow advocates. July’s Topic Talk Let’s Talk TBRI is scheduled for July 12 from noon to 1:00. Volunteers are encouraged to submit questions for this month’s talk.

For details or to participate, contact Renee Lukefahr at or Carol Thesing at


FRIENDS Back to School Backpack Drive
School may be out but FRIENDS of CAFB is gearing up for back-to-school with their annual backpack drive. Every year, FRIENDS provides backpacks full of school supplies to the children we serve. They are seeking help in purchasing supplies to fill the backpacks.

There are a couple of ways to help. Either you can purchase the supplies yourself and FRIENDS will supply a child’s name, grade, school and a supply list for their classroom OR you can donate $75 and FRIENDS will purchase the supplies on your behalf.

To receive a child’s name and school supply list contact Brigit Engleman, 281 748-7987  or for your child’s information. You do not need to purchase a backpack.

If you would like to donate $75, please make your check payable to Friends of Child Advocates and mail to: 
Peggy Jackson, 2906 Carnoustie Ct., Sugar Land, TX 77479

Supplies must be dropped off by July 15, 2021 to
Lynn Halford at 1906 Silver Pond Court in Sugar Land or
Brigit Engleman at 906 San Marino St., Sugar Land (Venetian Estates).

For more information or to help, please contact Brigit Engleman or Lynn Halford at



License to Help!
Did you know that Child Advocates of Fort Bend participates in the TX CASA Specialty License Plate Program? You can order a custom license plate with the phrase “Big Voices for Little Texans”. Not only can you spread awareness and show your support for us but a portion of the cost of the plate goes to Texas CASA and the local programs to increase our statewide efforts to advocate for every child in the foster care system. To order your plate go to and search for CASA under specialty plates OR visit your local tax assessor’s office and ask for the Court Appointed Special Advocate license plate.


FRIENDS Tea & Crumpets

FRIENDS of Child Advocates of Fort Bend invites you to put on your hat & gloves and join them for their annual membership event – Tea & Crumpets on Friday, October 15 at the CAFB office. For more information or to RSVP contact Kristin Stiles-Janossy at


Christmas in July!

While you are busy trying to beat the heat, we are in Christmas planning mode and are very excited to announce the dates for our 30th Christmas Home Tour. Save the date for December 10th and 11th. The two-day Home Tour hosts visitors from all over Fort Bend County and surrounding areas. Over 3,000 guests will tour the beautifully decorated homes, including the 1,000 volunteers who donate their time to ensure a successful event.

In addition to the Home Tour, we are also planning for our 8th annual Wreath Raffle. Everyone will have an opportunity to purchase a raffle ticket and choose the wreath they hope to win. It’s a fun “game of chance” and will get you into the holiday spirit PLUS it is an easy way to help us raise a little extra money.

Won’t you please help support us by donating a wreath or swag with a retail value of $150 – $500?

We would like to receive/pick up your gorgeous creation by Friday, October 5th. Your wreath does NOT have to be Christmas-themed. . .

We are also looking for awesome volunteers who like to bake cookies or bring your hospitality skills and take a two-hour shift in our featured homes.

If you are interested in donating a wreath, participating as a volunteer or donor or if you would like to discuss showcasing your home and Christmas décor on the Christmas Home Tour, please contact Tarina Sheridan at




Fluor Cares and Golf for Greater Houston

Golf for Greater Houston is excited to announce its return for 2021 and CAFB is a beneficiary for this 12th annual charity event! Mark your calendars for Monday, October 4th at Black Hawk Country Club in Richmond, TX and let us know if you are interested in playing on a team. Contact Lisa Moore at to learn more.



Don’t Forget. . .

Child Advocates of Fort Bend is registered for AmazonSmile. This is a program through that will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Ft Bend County Child Advocates, Inc. To shop via AmazonSmile, go to



30th Birthday Gala Celebration SUCCESS

Many thanks to the volunteers and staff who worked tirelessly to make our first live event – our 30th Birthday Gala Celebration – a huge success. We were proud to partner with Lori Renfrow, Phoenix Design, Mandap Creations, Johnny Bravo and Michele Fisher. Special shout outs to Pat Somers, Vickie Looney, Nancy Olson, Beverly & Rick Martinez, Michelle Cano, Lisa Ybarra, Alexis Jackson, Carrie Fix, Lin Wooten, Dana Loper and so many more. You guys are the hands that hold our village together!


Mark your calendars!


July 1, 2021 Case Closing Celebration
CAFB office


July 6, 2021 Voices for Children Tour
Via Zoom

To participate or for details contact Dana Mersiovsky at


July 12, 2021 Infant & Toddler Open Door
Noon – 1pm
Via Zoom

To participate or for details contact Carol Thesing at


July 15, 2021 Voices for Children Tour
Via Zoom

To participate or for details contact Dana Mersiovsky at


July 27, 2021 Summer Sip & Stroll
5:30 – 6:30
CAFB Office

To RSVP or for more information contact Dana Mersiovsky at or 281-344-7253.


August 24, 2021 Summer Sip & Stroll
5:30 – 6:30
CAFB Office

To RSVP or for more information contact Dana Mersiovsky at or 281-344-7253.


October 15, 2021 FRIENDS Tea & Crumpets
1pm – 3pm
CAFB Office

Contact Kristin Stiles-Janossy at to RSVP or for more information.


December 10 + 11 Christmas Home Tour
Friday 10am – 4pm + 6pm – 9pm
Saturday 10am – 4pm

To sponsor, volunteer or for more information contact Tarina Sheridan at



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