We are excited that the weather has turned chilly and Fall is finally in the air! We are busy with all the Fall activities! Thank you all who attended our 9th VOICES FOR CHILDREN Breakfast! It was a wonderful morning with heartwarming speakers, a moving video and the best attendance ever. We are so grateful to all of you who made a financial gift to ensure that children who have been abused and neglected continue to receive services from CAFB. To those who joined our VOICES FOR CHILDREN Circle and made a sustainable gift, we thank you for your commitment to the cause. Next on the calendar was the Friends Council Fall Coffee — one of the best ever! The interactive role play was so well received and effectively conveyed the path a child goes through after reporting child abuse – the challenges they face and the very critical role that the CASA and CAC Volunteers, and staff play in helping these children find safety, permanency and heal. Our CASA Team is busy with training a new class of CASA Volunteers and we are looking forward to their Swearing-In on November 8. National Adoption Day is November 16 and we have big plans to celebrate all our “Super Hero” children who will find their “forever homes.” And, our biggest community event of the year is just around the corner – the 27th Christmas Home Tour on December 7-8 and will be sure to dazzle you with 5 amazing homes. Thank you to all the 800+ volunteers who will make the tour a great success – we can’t do it without you!
To all our volunteers, donors, board members, council members, partners and staff – thank you for all you do every day to change the lives of children.
For the Children’s Sake,
CEO, Child Advocates of Fort Bend
Just shy of 40 years ago, The National Exchange Club adopted child abuse prevention as its National Project. In this same spirit of service, four dedicated clubs in the Fort Bend area have supported Child Advocates of Fort Bend beginning in 2001: Exchange Club of Sugar Land, Exchange Club of Missouri City, Exchange Club of Fort Bend and Exchange Club of Rosenberg. Collectively, its members have distributed over $300,000 in grants and sponsorship toward Child Advocates of Fort Bend’s programs and overall mission.
Most recently, Exchange Club of Sugar Land significantly increased its annual grant award to CAFB last month to answer our urgent call for help. A surge of new children in need continues to arrive at our doorstep – CAFB has conducted 78% more forensic interviews for children than at this same time last year, and at this rate, we are on pace to double the number of children served by our agency far sooner than planned.
Without Exchange Club Members, thousands of children suffering from abuse and neglect in our community would go without help, and without the chance to break the tragic cycle of abuse. Thank you, Exchange Club Members, for your duty of service, your financial support of our mission and for proudly donning the Blue Ribbon, not only during Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, but every day.
CAFB is most honored to have the Exchange Clubs by our side in the fight to end child abuse. Together, we make a difference in the lives of children who have transformed into survivors.
Richard Zientek, Director of Public Affairs for Union Pacific, stopped by CAFB with a special delivery today. The company’s $5,000 in donated funds will support CASA’s 2018-2019 S.T.E.M. initiative which provides hands-on learning opportunities and career exploration in S.T.E.M.-related fields for youth in Fort Bend County foster care. Thank you, Richard and @unionpacific for helping our youth stay connected and on track!
Voices for Children
A fun night of celebration at the home of Pat and Brad Somers and delicious food prepared by the team from OCuSOFT capped a tremendous year for our VOICES FOR CHILDREN program.
This year was an amazing year for our VOICES FOR CHILDREN Transforming Lives breakfast. Attendance surpassed all prior years with 313 joining us for a morning filled with love and hope. 23 Ambassadors – our front line community volunteers who introduce our agency to others through our VOICES FOR CHILDREN Tour, became Table Captains at the breakfast – some hosting multiple tables.
We exceeded both our leadership and overall fundraising goals, raising a total of $327,339. It was exciting to share that in that morning, 90 minutes, our kind and generous donors helped raise 16% of our 2 million dollar fundraising budget.
The growth Child Advocates of Fort Bend has experienced in the last year has been exponential. And while we are saddened about those increasing numbers, we also know that the results of this year’s program, means more children are speaking up and receiving the help and care they so desperately need. Hundreds more children will be seen for forensic interviews a– decreasing wait lists and providing a safe place for their voices to be heard and helping them begin to heal. We are also able to recruit, train and supervise additional CASA volunteers, so children have a caring adult as their advocate, making sure their best interests are served. VOICES FOR CHILDREN donors are changing children’s lives.
Please continue sharing our story. Become an Ambassador. Tell your friends, tell your neighbors, bring a group to tour or have us bring a tour to you. Contact Dana at email@example.com or 281.344.5106 to schedule a tour at our building or offsite.
Preparing for the 86th Legislative Session
CAFB began preparation for the 86th Legislative Session with a Legislative Advocacy Team (LAT) Kickoff on Tuesday, October 23. Andrew Homer, Executive Director of Public Affairs, TX CASA and Christina Green, Director of Public Affairs, CAC of TX, spoke to the group about accomplishments from the last legislative session and priorities for the upcoming session. Glen Austin, Board Member, and Rhonda Kuykendall, CASA Volunteer, will co-lead the LAT this year and hosted the meeting. Priorities for the upcoming session for CASA include requests for an increase in annual funding of $2.25 million and continued funding for Collaborative Family Engagement of $644K. Program priorities include support for foster care placement to reduce disruptions and increase placement proximity to children’s families and home communities, improving services for older and transitioning foster youth, use of trauma-informed care, and protecting child and youth property during placement changes. CAC TX will also be asking for an increase in funding of $12 million to respond to the huge increases in the number of children being served and updating the TX Family Code to align current statute with practice.
Mark your calendars to join us in Austin: CAC TX Day at the Capitol on Jan 29, 2019 and CASA Day at Capitol on Feb 4-5.
Before joining the CAC staff, Lizbeth worked at the Harris County Community Supervision and Corrections Department as an adult probation officer for more than three years. She also volunteered at the CAC for two years.
Lizbeth graduated with a Masters in Victims Services Management from Sam Houston State University in 2018.
“I always felt my purpose in life was to always be a voice for someone whom cannot speak for themselves and that is exactly what I am doing with the Children’s Advocacy Center in Fort Bend,” she said. “I feel very blessed.”
Hello Baby Nolan!
Congratulations to Kristy Gutierrez, our Bilingual Forensic Interviewer, and husband Eloy. They welcomed a healthy baby boy, Nolan, on Friday, September 28th at 6:04 p.m. He weighed in at 8 lbs. 15 oz. and 20 inches long. We can’t wait to meet him!
Our Latest Pilot Program – Evening Therapy!
The Children’s Advocacy Center is excited to announce it has launched a pilot program of evening hours for therapy. Therapist Jessica Hernandez is now staying until 8 p.m. two evenings a week to see clients for whom regular business hours don’t work. Long-time volunteer turned part-time employee Susan Richardson will be monitoring the front desk and playroom while Jessica is with clients.
The new hours were launched in response to data gathered from therapy surveys in which many parents stated they would be interested in evening therapy hours. The CAC hopes the program grants greater access to therapy services for those who may otherwise not receive them. The program will be periodically reevaluated to ensure we are meeting our therapy clients’ needs.
We are grateful to Jessica and Susan for taking on the new hours to better serve our therapy clients!
Appreciating Our Partners
On October 18th, we celebrated our partner agencies’ hard work and dedication to serving the children of Fort Bend County with a luncheon. There are many working pieces that make the CAC program run as well as it does, so we wanted to show our appreciation for the Law Enforcement, CPS, County Attorney’s and District Attorney’s hard work on behalf of the kids.
This year we hosted a Casino Theme Party that included Blackjack, Roulette, and Texas Hold’em. Attendees played these games to enhance their chances of winning more tickets to be drawn for door prizes. The featured gift was a 1 week trip to Estes Park Colorado. Lots of fun was had!
Training So We Can Better Serve the Children
October was a busy training month for our CASA team. Not only did volunteer Rhonda Kukyendall and most of our CASA Team participate in the Texas CASA Conference in Denton on October 18-20 where they heard from leaders and speakers who are shaping the child welfare system and advocacy for children but Carollynn Thesing and Renee Lukefahr attended the Zero to Three Conference in Denver, Colorado. The 3 day conference was packed full of sessions dealing with Mental Health, Parenting, Home Visiting Programs, Court Teams, Development, and the newest research involving children from Birth to 5. Carollynn, Renee and all of the CASA team are eager share their newfound knowledge with our volunteers and use it to improve our programs to better serve the children.
Volunteer Council Holds Fall Social
The Volunteer Council held a Fall Social on Tuesday, October 16. Disability Specialist, Latissa Stevens, Educational Specialist, Felicia Bennet Chambers, and the CAFB Education Committee talked to volunteers about their roles in advocating for our youth and families.
Looking For Ways to Help?
The Children’s Advocacy Center is in need of permanent weekly volunteers for two shifts: Monday mornings (9 am – 1 pm) and Friday mornings (9 am – 12 pm). The CAC always needs people to fill in vacancies every week. If you are interested in a permanent shift or volunteering for a temporary vacancy shift, contact Melissa Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The CAC is also running short on snack items for children: goldfish, animal crackers, fruit snacks, and small bottled water. Each child receives a snack bag and bottle of water after their interview or therapy session. We could also refill our treasure chest with items for children to pick from after a forensic interview. We need new stuffed animals, adult coloring books, colored pencils, hand sharpeners, books (baby to teen to young adult), earbuds, lanyards, blankets, journals, gel pens, small-sized body wash, small lotions, makeup, lip gloss, chapstick, nail polish, handheld electronic games, and anything a teenager would like.
We appreciate your support!
It’s Almost Christmas Home Tour Time!
Friday, December 7th from 10am-4pm & 6pm-9pm and Saturday, December 8th from 10am-4pm.
‘Tis the season for. . . Christmas Home Tour. The two-day Christmas Home Tour, set for Friday, December 7th and Saturday, December 8th hosts visitors from all of Fort Bend County and surrounding areas. More than 3,000 guests will tour the homes, including more than 1,000 volunteers who take their time to participate. We are thrilled to announce that our 2018 Tour homes will be in historic Richmond, Lakes of Williams Ranch, Alkire Lake, Sienna Plantation and Sienna Point.
This is a spirited community event, but most importantly it is a fundraiser.
Home Tour tickets will go on sale November 1st at www.cafb.org.
Please consider joining us.
We need volunteers to work 2 hour shifts in the homes, cookie bakers (open to all ages), performers (singers, musicians and choral groups) and sponsors. Sponsorships from $100 – $15,000 are available. Most of the money raised through this event is raised through sponsorship. We work hard to keep expenses low so that 94% of the money raised goes directly to services for the children.
For the 4th year, talented and generous volunteers have made wreaths for us to raffle during the Christmas Home Tour. Check out our 4th annual Wreath Raffle on display in the office, at the homes on the Home Tour or on www.cafb.org. Buy a ticket to one of several gorgeous wreaths and CHOOSE the one you hope to win. One ticket = $10, 3 tickets + $25 and 5 tickets = $40.
For more information, please contact Lisa at LMoore@cafb.org
Are you interested in joining our Walk of Heroes by purchasing a brick for our walkway?
For $100 a 4” x 8” brick with whatever you designate it to say will be placed in the walkway to our building. Bricks may contain up to 3 lines of copy, 20 characters per line.
For more information, please contact Lisa at LMoore@cafb.org
Sugar Land Holiday Lights
This fun light show featuring 2.5 million lights, 8 themed areas, holiday shopping, food and MORE takes place at Constellation Field in Sugar Land from November 23 through January 1.
Mention CAFB or CASA, and you’ll get your tickets for $10 (and they’ll give a donation back to CAFB).
Mark your calendar!
November 16, 2018 National Adoption Day
8am – 11:30am
Fort Bend County Justice Center, 3rd Floor
November 29, 2018 Case Closing Celebration
6pm – 8pm
Details coming soon. . .
December 7 + 8, 2018 Christmas Home Tour
January 29, 2019 CAC TX Day at the Capitol
details coming soon. . .
February 4-5, 2019 CASA Day at the Capitol
details coming soon. . .