It’s Back to School time for our children and we are excited about heading them off with new backpacks and school supplies! Thank you so very much to the FRIENDS Council and Brigit Engleman for all of your hard work on the Backpack Project again this year! See more about it below. Thank you also to our friends at UBS Financial Services Inc. in Sugar Land who stopped by on Friday, August 9 with 25 backpacks full of school supplies and a $700 donation.
As we wind down our busy Summer schedules, it gives us time to reflect on what a truly amazing Summer we had here. Nearly 50 children participated in our NEST Summer Workshops, WINGS Lifeskills or WINGS Campus Crawl. Twenty-four new Volunteers completed their pre-service training and were sworn in as CASA Advocates. 4 new CAC Volunteers attended our inaugural CAC Pre-service Training. Staff were busy making school presentations called “Break The Cycle” reaching students and administrators in public schools, private schools and day care center and dozens more are already on the Fall calendar. CASA staff were trained in TBRI trauma-informed care, which will become a standard for our CASA staff going forward. We welcomed 2 new staff members to join our CAC and our Development team. And our Capital Campaign hit a major milestone by raising $6.6 million toward our goal of $8 million to support the expansion of our building. It has been a productive few months and we thank all the volunteers, staff and partners who made this happen.
For the Children’s Sake,
CEO, Child Advocates of Fort Bend
“It is an honor to work on such a dedicated team of volunteers and staff to create this vision for the future. When I was asked to chair the For The Children’s Sake initiative, I knew right away how important this expansion would be for our community. Children deserve the chance to heal and receive services provided by CAFB without delay. Thank you to everyone who understands the urgency of the need for these most vulnerable victims among us.”
Progress Meter: The Campaign For The Children’s Sake
Thanks to the many generous, early phase supporters of the For The Children’s Sake Campaign, this bold and ambitious expansion project has hit a new milestone: $6.6 million raised toward an $8 million goal.
These funds will allow CAFB to increase its building by 50% and fulfill a plan to carry the mission forward for the next ten years. By increasing the agency’s capacity, it can hire urgently needed staff, recruit and train more volunteers, and most importantly, open additional safe, calming space for children and families to receive services such as forensic interviews, therapy, educational advocacy, court advocacy and more. Our vision is to reach every child with every service, and with your help, we can build this dream together brick by brick.
“When I first learned about the volume of children who need help after suffering from abuse and neglect, especially sexual abuse, I knew I needed to spring into action and help. The fact there is a wait list for children who have disclosed abuse to receive therapy is unacceptable to me. I am sharing about this campaign with everyone I know, because it will take all of us to help reach its goals. Together, we can change the lives of children. To me, that is the most powerful difference I can be a part of right now.”
If you would like to make a difference and join Nancy and Dave by making a contribution or if you are interested in taking a hard hat tour, please contact Jessica Jubin, Development Officer – Campaign Manager at email@example.com or 346-327-3606.
“I had originally thought about leaving my IRA to our kids and other assets to charity. My attorney explained that if my kids inherited the IRA, my estate would pay estate taxes and my kids would pay income tax on the IRA. But, by giving the IRA to charity and other assets to my kids, the kids will still receive a nice inheritance, and we avoid income and estate taxes entirely. I contacted my IRA custodian, who emailed me an IRA beneficiary designation form. I completed the form, named Child Advocates of Fort Bend as the primary beneficiary of my IRA and mailed it back to the custodian. I called Child Advocates of Fort Bend to tell them about my gift, and they were very touched. I know my late husband would be happy too. Best of all, I can continue to use my IRA for as long as I live, and when I pass away, my IRA will go to charity.”
Did you know leaving a meaningful legacy gift can be done very simply, without the cost of a lawyer or CPA? While some families and individuals choose to use professionals to help them make big decisions, and that often is a very good idea, there are a few ways you can designate Child Advocates of Fort Bend as a beneficiary of your assets using the Beneficiary Designation.
If you own a qualified retirement plan, such as an IRA, 401(k) or 403(b) and would like to make a charitable gift, your family or your estate might benefit if you update your beneficiary designation form naming Child Advocates of Fort Bend as a beneficiary. Even your bank account may have this option. Beneficiary designation gifts may help your heirs avoid paying income tax on certain inherited assets and may help your estate avoid estate taxes.
To make a beneficiary designation gift, contact Ruthanne Mefford at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome and Welcome Back!
Please join us in welcoming Development Analyst Deborah Spencer and welcoming back Therapist Meghan Zeien. Deborah is an expert in Raisers Edge and has been a consultant for many years to a wide range of nonprofit organizations. She is working with our Development and Accounting teams to streamline and improve our data management processes for donors, gifts, events, foundation grants and Raisers Edge. She will also be helping with prospect research to help us expand our donor base.
Meghan has returned to work after being on maternity leave and is excited to get back to her therapy clients. We are thrilled to have Meghan back on our team and to welcome Deborah to the CAFB family!
Celebrating New Volunteers
On August 8th, 2019 we had the pleasure of celebrating all our new Child Advocates of Fort Bend volunteers at our swearing in ceremony and luncheon! The class kicked off online in June followed by three in classroom sessions in July at the Justice Center. We had a delicious lunch hosted by Volunteer Council and sponsored by Fort Bend Junior Service League where staff, volunteers, and their families got to enjoy getting to know each other a little better. We were pleased to have Judge Millard swear in all 24 of our volunteers. We are so grateful to these special people who are dedicating their precious time to the children that we serve. Thank you is not enough!
Enterprise, Alamo or National
Do you or a family member work for Enterprise, Alamo or National?
We’re working on a funding request through their Foundation and would love to chat.
Please contact Lisa at LMoore@cafb.org if you can help.
Thank you to our FRIENDS
Thank you to Brigit Engleman, the FRIENDS Council and the FRIENDS members who provided backpacks and supplies for 140 kids this school year. Brigit and the FRIENDS Council worked tirelessly to support and orchestrate the Backpack Project again this year, providing new backpacks filled with school supplies. This team of ladies personally purchased 140 backpacks, specific school supplies for each child, filled the backpacks and attached a personalized gift tag to every backpack. They make Back to School time special for the kids we serve!
Thank you also to all the CASA and CAC Volunteers who delivered and handed out backpacks to the children. You have made 140 children’s first day of school so special and memorable. They can walk into school that first day with confidence and belonging so that they can be just like all the other kids. Thank you also to our friends at UBS Financial Services Inc. in Sugar Land who stopped by on Friday, August 9 with 25 backpacks full of school supplies and a $700 donation.
Presenting to Educators
Our partnership with area school districts and private schools is a key component of Break the Cycle in our mission statement. Teachers, counselors, and administrators are on the front lines to notice and report suspected abuse or neglect. We were invited back to Holy Rosary Catholic School, St. Theresa Catholic School, and Lamar Consolidated ISD to present to educators and counselors about child abuse and neglect. For the first time this year we were also asked to present to Hempstead ISD as well. Fiona Remko, CAC Program Director, and Metoyer Martin, CASA Program Director shared their expertise and best practices on child abuse reporting.
We had a blast in August celebrating back to school with Access Health’s Operation Community! Child Advocates of Fort Bend set up a booth with information about how to talk to your child about abuse. Having served over 2,500 children in 2018, we think it is important for families to know how to talk about abuse and what to do if abuse is suspected. We gave out fun pencils, tattoos, and blue ribbon stickers to all the children who stopped by. Staff visiting with children discussed the meaning of the blue ribbon, to prevent child abuse, and encouraged children to talk to a safe adult if someone was hurting them. It was great to see everyone out! We estimate over 1,500 families visited us during these events!
Training Our Staff!
CASA team members attended the National CASA conference in early June. Held in Atlanta, GA the conference showcased the best and brightest ideas in CASA organizations around the country. Staff learned about the impact of children building a relationship with parents who are incarcerated, how to better advocate for children in educational settings, expanding relationships with grandparents caring for grandchildren, and trauma impacts on the brain, just to name a few. This was an amazing time to learn from other programs and build resiliency within our own CASA team!
Supporting Children and Families
July and August have been busy for our Children’s Advocacy Center staff and our partners at the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office, Law Enforcement and CPS as they have been involved in several criminal court trials. Criminal Court Advocate Renee Johnson has been very busy supporting children and their families as they go through the court process. Thank you Renee for all of your hard work!
Congratulations to our Assistant District Attorneys who have worked very hard to prosecute the offenders in these cases! Here are the results of those trials:
- Alexander Cuellar was sentenced to a 20-year prison sentence for a 1st degree felony charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child. Prosecutor was Alycia Curtis.
- Martin Williamson took a 15-year plea for a 2nd degree felony, possession with intent to promote child pornography. Williamson took a 31-year plea for 1st degree felony, continuous sexual abuse of young child under 14 years of age. Prosecutors were Melissa Munoz, Claire Andresen and Craig Priesmeyer.
- Anthony Johnson was sentenced to 8 years for Indecency with a Child by Sexual Contact and 15 years for aggravated sexual assault of a child. Prosecutors were Jessica Ramos and Tonika Davis.
- Eddie Charles was sentenced to 75 years in prison for continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14 years of age. Prosecutors were Melissa Munoz and Laurel Ellisor.
Volunteer Information Session
Do you know someone that is interested in becoming a volunteer with us but has a lot of questions?
Invite them to come have lunch with us! We are holding a volunteer information session on September 20th, 2019 from 11-12:30 PM at the Fort Bend County Justice Center. We will be talking CASA and CAC volunteer roles, how to get involved with our fun and fabulous events like the Christmas Home Tour, and much more. Please RSVP to Lindsey Castellanos at email@example.com
SAVE THE DATE – Human Trafficking 101
On October 17, Child Advocates of Fort Bend will be hosting Human Trafficking 101, at the Rosenberg Civic Center. This presentation is free and open to all partners and community members. Several of our partners in the Fort Bend community will be on hand to talk about their roles in the human trafficking process. Registration will open in September. For more information or to register, please contact Kristy Gutierrez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 281-344-5134.
Christmas Home Tour and Annual Wreath Raffle
The Christmas Home Tour is scheduled for December 13th and 14th. The two-day Home Tour hosts visitors from all over Fort Bend County and surrounding areas. Over 3,000 guests will tour the homes, including the 1,000 volunteers that take their time to participate. If would like to discuss showcasing your home and Christmas décor or you are interested in volunteering on the Home Tour committee – contact Lisa at LMoore@cafb.org.
We are also planning for our 6th annual Wreath Raffle! Everyone will have an opportunity to purchase a raffle ticket and choose the wreath they hope to win.
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 your gorgeous creation by Friday, October 4th.
Please bring a friend and join the FRIENDS auxiliary group of Child Advocates of Fort Bend for their annual Coffee, Mission & Mimosas event on Tuesday, October 1, 2019 at 10:00am. To RSVP or for more information contact Kristin Stiles-Janossy at email@example.com.
Why FRIENDS is so Important to CAFB
CAFB cannot purchase items directly for the children we serve due to an inherent conflict of interest. Friends Council provides this direct assistance through their Special Needs Fund which reviews and grants Special Needs Requests for children’s needs which have included clothing, recognition awards, medical expenses, extra-curricular activities, camperships and other items that the children and their families are not able to afford.
Back To School Program
Through the $40 annual membership fee Friends Council coordinates and funds an annual Back-To-School Program which provides 125+ personalized backpacks for children from pre-K through high school.
Mark your calendar!
September 20, 2019 Volunteer Information Session
11am – 12:30pm
Fort Bend County Justice Center, 3rd Floor Conference Room
1422 Eugene Heimann Circle, Richmond, TX 77469
September 26, 2019 Voices for Children Breakfast
Sugar Land Marriott Town Square
October 1, 2019 FRIENDS Coffee, Mission & Mimosas
10am – 11:30am
For details, contact Kristin Stiles Janossy at Kristin.firstname.lastname@example.org
October 17, 2019 Human Trafficking 101
9am – 4pm
Rosenberg Civic Center
For more information or to register, please contact Kristy Gutierrez at email@example.com or 281-344-5134.
November 22, 2019 National Adoption Day
8am – noon
Fort Bend County Justice Center, 3rd Floor
1422 Eugene Heimann Circle, Richmond, TX 774699
RSVP to Metoyer at firstname.lastname@example.org
December 13 + 14, 2019 Christmas Home Tour
Friday 10am – 4pm and 6pm – 9pm; Saturday 10am – 4pm
Mark your calendar and watch for details. . .