What an amazing Off To The Races Gala we held on May 5! The ballroom was full – with 600 guests enjoying the pageantry of the Kentucky Derby complete with live bluegrass, mint juleps, fantastic auction items and a dance band that played into the night! Particularly poignant was the heartwarming story of two children who found their “forever homes” with the help of Child Advocates of Fort Bend and then meeting the family who adopted one of the boys. Thank you to all Gala Volunteers, Committee members, staff and board who worked tirelessly to make this a special night. We are excited to announce that we made nearly $400,000 that evening – a record! This will support the programs and services that we provide for all the hundreds of children we serve every month in our CASA and CAC Programs. Thank you all!
For the Children’s Sake,
CEO, Child Advocates of Fort Bend
Pack Your Bags
www.cafblegacy.org Is Now Up and Running to Serve You
A good estate plan can ensure you are prepared for the future, so that you have what you need when you need it.
One of the greatest benefits of a vacation is the sense that your work is finished and you can find rest and relaxation. Establishing an estate plan that achieves charitable and financial goals is another way to achieve peace of mind. When including a gift to Child Advocates of Fort Bend in your will or estate plan, you will:
- Have peace of mind supporting a cause important to you
- Live every day knowing you have done something great
- Continue to use your assets during life
If you don’t have a will, or it has been some time since you updated your will, now is the perfect time to review your plan. As you consider your plan, remember that a will is not solely about what you own; it is a way to help the people and causes that matter to you and a way to leave a lasting legacy.
Child Advocates of Fort Bend has been working to help you achieve the kind of peace of mind that comes from a well-designed estate plan. We now have a variety of resources, available at your fingertips, on www.cafblegacy.org to help you work through some of the more common questions and concerns related to estate planning.
We now have an estate planning guide that we would be happy to provide to you, and have the ability to provide you a confidential, no-obligation illustration that shows what the benefits of certain charitable plans will be. For assistance, please email or call Jessica Jubin, Development Officer firstname.lastname@example.org or 281-344-5136.
CenterPoint Energy Supports Our Programs for Children
CenterPoint is committed to making a positive difference in the communities it touches. For five years, they have been supporting our programs for children in foster care. This generosity has inspired healthy development, life skills training and educational pursuits for hundreds of children participating in the N.E.S.T. and WINGS Programs. A special thanks goes to Angela Cox who has encouraged this support, keeping children and families safe and breaking the cycle of child abuse.
CAFB Board and Staff Judge Exchange Spaghetti Dinner
Child Advocates of Fort Bend board members and staff participated as judges in the Sugar Land Exchange Club’s annual spaghetti dinner. The proceeds raised benefit several Fort Bend non-profit organizations including Child Advocates of Fort Bend.
Thank You Carol Holton – We’ll miss you!
Volunteer and former staff member Carol Holton Moves
Carol has been an integral part of this agency from the very beginning and 25 years later has remained dedicated to our cause. It is impossible to know exactly how many children’s lives she has impacted through her work as a volunteer and a staff member over the years. Carol was our Chief Financial Officer for 14 years. She was instrumental in making sure the agency was running smoothly and we had the resources we needed to serve the children. When Carol wasn’t working for us, she was directly serving the children as a volunteer. She was the CASA volunteer for the very first child the program served and made a lasting impact on his life. She has also volunteered in the CAC, touching the lives of so many children who walk through our doors.
Carol is one who never compromises her principles and held us all accountable to do the same. She has an amazingly huge heart for children in need and devoted her life to making a difference in their lives. Along with being a part of our CAFB family, Carol was also a big sister through the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Program. As such, she mentored twin girls through their childhood, took them on a cruise for their high school graduations and danced at their weddings. This exemplifies how Carol doesn’t do anything halfway. When she dedicates herself to a cause, she does so with gusto.
In 2011, Carol received a Lifetime Hero award from us in acknowledgement of her many contributions to this agency and the community. Carol never did it for the accolades, she did it to make a difference and we can say that Carol did make a difference here in Fort Bend County and she will definitely be missed!
Carol and her beloved Tom, who was also a volunteer and a board member travelled the world and we loved to hear the stories of their adventures upon their return. And when they returned they were always back to continue to service to our children.
Carol is moving to Connecticut to be closer to her family and to, hopefully, find some much deserved rest. We are happy for her to start her new adventure but we are saddened that she will no longer be here with us. Carol’s impact will remain with us and the children we serve for many years.
Growing Our Volunteer Community
Welcoming New Volunteers
Please join us in welcoming our newest CASA/Children’s Advocacy Center Volunteers! They were recently sworn-in on May 17. Congratulations on joining the Child Advocates of Fort Bend family!
New volunteers shown (L to R) are: Deborah Thompson, Jessica Renee Thompson, Taylor Wells, Christi Parham, Frances Suarez, Deidra Lyons Lewis, Dana Mersiovsky, Dawn Alvarez, Patricia Albornoz, Hon. Ronald Pope (328th Judicial District Court), Christy Willhite, Jolecelle Okruhlik, Lori Morgan and Dorothy Maxwell (not pictured: Nahide Karabag & Dina Patel)
Have You Tried the OPTIMA Database
Optima has allowed our CASA Volunteers and their Volunteer Supervisors to share vital information regarding their CASA cases and the children that they serve. Optima is web-based and allows Volunteers to track their contacts, coordinate family/legal party information and document important information for court reporting. All active CASA Volunteers should have access to Optima.
As we hit the middle of the year, we are asking all CASA Volunteers to give Optima a try and if you have not logged in, please use the following information to begin:
INITIAL LOGIN INSTRUCTIONS:
Your Optima Web address is:18
Initial Password: 123456 (Once you login for the first time, you will be able to change the password)
We have training opportunities throughout the year and also have an electronic guide that you can use to use Optima. If you are interested in learning more or need to request a copy of the Optima User Guide, please contact Casey at email@example.com or 281-344-5172. We are also offering one-on-one training sessions for any Volunteers who would like to learn how to navigate through Optima.
Children’s Advocacy Center Interviews Increase by 40% in 2018
The number of interviews is projected to continue to increase going forward. In April, alone, the CAC conducted 140 interviews.
This growth is likely related to Senate Bill 1806. The bill requires reports of suspected child sexual-abuse cases made by professionals, such as doctors, teachers, therapists and daycare workers, be investigated with a CAC-facilitated joint investigation with Child Protective Services and law enforcement. This means that most Fort Bend County children in those reports to CPS and law enforcement must be interviewed by a CAC forensic interviewer. The same is true for cases involving child fatalities when there are other children in the home.
The bill underscores the importance of CACs in preventing abused children from falling through the cracks. It’s also keeping our forensic interviewers so busy they are coming in on nights and weekends to ensure every child who needs to be interviewed has a chance to tell their story.
You can support our interviewers, court advocates and therapists in their mission to provide a voice and heal the hurt by helping them fulfill the CAC’s Amazon wish list. See the wish list here.
Summer Volunteer Training Dates Have Changed
Due to busy schedules in the summer, we have changed the New Volunteer Training dates to June and July. The August training session (August 6-10) has been cancelled at this time.
The updated schedule will be as follows:
Online Training –Part I
June 11- July 6: Self-Paced Online Web-Based Training
Classroom Training – Part II
July 11 (Wednesday) – 9am-4pm – Classroom Training
July 18 (Wednesday) – 9am-4pm – Classroom Training
July 25 (Wednesday) – 9am-4pm – Classroom Training
All Volunteers must complete Parts I & II for this Session to complete the training.
If you are interested in learning more, please contact Volunteer Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or 281-344-5100.
Meet Julia Saller!
CASA Volunteer Julia Saller joined us in 2017.
WOW!!! Thank you so much to all the attendees, sponsors, volunteers and donors who helped with our 18th annual Gala – Off to the Races! We had an amazing event with mint juleps, live bluegrass & dancing music, silent and live auction, raffle, wine & jewelry pulls and so much more. The Marriott was filled with over 575 people in colorful hats and fun bowties. It takes all of us to put on this event and it was successful because of everything we did TOGETHER. Special thanks to the key superstars who made things work Colleen Fox, Alexis Jackson, Kristin Janossy, Beverly Martinez, Lori Renfrow, Kelly Vaughan, the CAFB staff and all the evening volunteers! It was another amazing night and the very best part is that we raised nearly $400,000 for the programs and services we provide to the children we serve.
If you missed us this year, but would like to be included next year – Save the Date – for Saturday, May 4th, 2019.
Mark your calendar!.
June 28, 2018: WINGS College Signing Day
CAFB Training Room
For details or to participate contact Aly at email@example.com.
September 27, 2018: Voices for Children Breakfast
7am – 8:30am
Sugar Land Marriott Town Square
October 1, 2018: Golf for Greater Houston Golf Tournament
Black Hawk and Shadow Hawk Golf Courses
We are one of the beneficiaries of this event.