This is an exciting time for the thousands of children we serve as they head back to school! It is so important that our children are prepared and approach the school year positively and what better way than by making sure that the first day of school is special for every child. This is something that Friends of Child Advocates knows so well. For 15 years, Friends has purchased and assembled beautiful backpacks – each personalized for a child with the correct supplies for their classes. This year they set a record by providing more than 180 backpacks! Thank you so much for this amazing commitment of time and funding. Thank you to our CASA Volunteers for delivering these backpacks to the children – I’m sure that they were thrilled! Although school is back in session, our busy summer continues with record-setting increases in the number of children being interviewed in our CAC. We provided a safe place for 55% more children to tell their stories of abuse than a year ago. Our Children’s Services Coordinators were there to provide support and information for families who were going through the trauma of learning that their child had been abused. And to all the staff and volunteers who made sure every child was welcomed and treated with the highest level of attention, despite the increase in the number of children, thank you. Finally, we welcome our new class of advocates who were just sworn in and have already taken a case – welcome to the Child Advocates of Fort Bend family!
For the Children’s Sake,
CEO, Child Advocates of Fort Bend
Double Your Impact With a Matching Gift!
Fall is just around the corner, and it’s that time of year when many employers begin their matched giving campaigns. Did you know Child Advocates of Fort Bend receives matched gifts from 13 companies? We applaud them for their commitment. Matched giving is a great way to increase the impact of the donation you have already made by getting your workplace engaged. Many companies will match your funds and also your time as a volunteer. The best way to connect with CAFB is to inquire with your company’s human resources department to find out how its program works since every employee matching gifts program is different.
Thank you to the following companies, and their respective employees, who have helped CAFB receive matching funds in 2017-2018:
Margaret and Louis
Margaret and Louis Poodle are a unique pair of volunteers…one is human and the other canine. This dynamic duo started volunteering in the Children’s Advocacy Center in June of 2013 and came faithfully for the Tuesday evening shift for more than 5 years – 238 visits in all! Recently, however, they moved to Wyoming where Margaret accepted a position at the Wind River clinic on the Arapaho reservation.
Margaret and Louis Poodle work well together. Margaret, a Licensed Social Worker and Special Education Counselor by day, is upbeat by nature and tuned into the children. She always knows the right things to say to them in the playroom and how to answer the hard questions. Louis Poodle is part-time therapy dog and full-time beloved furry friend. Together, however, these two were the stars of the show in the playroom on Tuesdays. They managed to keep the boisterous children calm and the calm ones happy. They spent a lot of time reading to the kids, doing tricks, talking and wagging. They gave the children attention and the children thrived on it.
The therapeutic value of their time spent with the children was evident. Louis paid special attention to children he felt were hurting and would stay by their side until they left the office. We believe that he eased their pain with his special brand of love and care. When children saw Margaret and Louis, they immediately smiled. One child said she was sad but being there with them made her happy. Another child graduated from therapy but came back on Tuesday afternoons, just to see Louis. That was their power. It was very hard for kids not to smile when they were around – their enthusiasm was contagious!
We like to say that they were for the kids, but it’s funny how many extra staff members dropped by the playroom on the days that Margaret and Louis were volunteering. Although we miss them terribly, we are thankful to have had them as part of our CAFB team as long as we did and we wish them well on their exciting new adventure!
Growing Our Volunteer Community!
Please join us in welcoming our newest CASA/Children’s Advocacy Center Volunteers! They were recently sworn-in in July and August! Congratulations on joining the Child Advocates of Fort Bend family!
Shown – left photo (L to R) are: Claire Kraft, Nancy Tracton, Michelle Buckley, Donna Anderson, Stephanie Howard, Valarie Sikes, Hon. Ronald Pope (328th Judicial District Court), Annie Lombardi, Charlotte Holden, Heather Scantlin, Amy Tyer and Jennifer Brown. Right photo (L to R): Maxine Osborn, Hon. Ronald Pope (328th Judicial District Court) and Amanda Curry
CASA Volunteer Survey!
We can’t serve the children and families in Texas without you and as you know we need more volunteers. In order to learn more about you and to find more heroes that are LIKE you, we are conducting a short, voluntary demographic survey of our current volunteers. We have partnered with Texas CASA’s marketing agency, GDC Marketing & Ideation, to analyze the information for use in the media planning for our statewide marketing campaign.
We really need your support and only 3-5 minutes to take the survey from the link below. The survey contains no personally identifying questions and all responses will solely be used by CASA for the purpose of learning about our current volunteers and where to find new volunteers.
The more responses we can collect, the better we can serve the children and families in our community.
We appreciate your participation!
OPTIMA Database. . .
As we hit the end of the year, we are asking all CASA Volunteers to give Optima a try. If you have not logged in, please follow the initial login instructions below, make plans to attend the upcoming training OR contact Casey to schedule a one-on-one training session.
Our Volunteers and Volunteer Supervisors are now fully using the Optima Database to communicate about their cases and their activities. 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.
Our next Optima Training will be held:
Tuesday, September 25th
Time: 10am -11am
Where: Child Advocates of Fort Bend – Large Training Room
To register, please click on the following link:
INITIAL LOGIN INSTRUCTIONS:
Your Optima Web address is: https://TX-FortBend.EvintoSolutions.com
Initial Password: 123456 (Once you login for the first time, you will be able to change the password)
NOTE: We also have an electronic guide that you can use to start working in the Optima database. If you are interested in learning more or need to request a copy of the Optima User Guide, please contact Casey at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Keeping Families More Informed
Our Children’s Advocacy Center, in partnership with the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office, has started hosting information sessions for families whose cases have been indicted in an effort to keep families more informed about the court process.
The first English session was held in April. In August, the CAC hosted the first session in Spanish to accommodate all of our Spanish speaking clients. Parents of CAC clients had a chance to learn about the court system and ask questions about the process. Criminal Court Advocate Carolina Coronel walked through important documents the family received once the case was indicted, explained the importance of each, and explained the professional relationship between the District Attorney’s Office and the CAC. Assistant District Attorney Melissa Munoz presented and explained the court process, charges, possible outcomes according to the law and the rights of the victims and defendants. In addition, the families had a chance to learn about their role in the court system and the involvement they could have at certain points in the process.
CAC Program Assistant Melissa Johnson entertained and kept an eye on the children while their parents attended the training. Her help was invaluable for the success of the presentation as the families were able to attend the session due to child care. Pepperoni’s Pizza also donated 6 large pizzas for the event.
This new program, the brainchild of court advocate Renee Johnson, was designed with Assistant District Attorney Terese Buess to help new families who have been victims of a crime, to lessen their anxiety and fear about a new system in their lives. We plan to continue so that parents will have the opportunity to get information about the court system in a comfortable and safe environment.
Second Spanish Caregivers Group Started
We are excited to be able to serve more families through group therapy thanks to the formation of a second Spanish Caregivers Group. Caregivers groups are an excellent source of communication and mutual support for parents and caregivers of the children who are attending individual or group therapy sessions at the CAC. In these groups, caregivers share and process their personal experiences regarding the trauma of the alleged sexual abuse of their children and how they were also affected (vicarious trauma). Likewise, caregivers learn about the dynamics of sexual abuse which facilitates understanding and improved support to their children. Caregivers find mutual support in other group members understanding they are not alone in the tragedy of child sexual abuse, expanding their vision of the traumatic experience.
Our original Spanish Caregivers Group, which meets on Tuesdays at 4:15 pm has been running full-steam with an average of 15-18 members for 7 years. This second, newly formed group meets on Thursdays at 10 a.m. and already has 5 members. Both Spanish group therapy sessions are facilitated by therapist Ana Dlouhy.
Volunteers needed for in-office bulk-mail project
Tuesday 9/4 from 11am – 4pm
Wednesday 9/5 from 10am – 3pm
Thursday 9/6 from 10am – 4pm
Please contact Lisa at LMoore@cafb.org if you are able to help. Come for as long or as little as you are able.
Human Trafficking Awareness Training
Sugar Land First United Methodist Church and Sugar Creek Baptist Church are hosting a Human Trafficking Awareness training in partnership with Freedom Church Alliance. Volunteers can earn continuing education hours by attending this interactive class designed to educate attendees on the issue of Human Trafficking and anti-Human Trafficking efforts underway in Fort Bend and the Greater Houston area. Attendees will hear from several front-line experts, will acquire an understanding of how human trafficking affects our families and communities, and learn ways to equip themselves to address human trafficking. In addition, attendees will journey through an engaging toolkit, commonly referred to as “The GoBox”, which was created to provide helpful resources and onramps to engaging the fight for justice.
The class meets every Monday in October.
6:30pm until 8pm
Gringo’s event room
12330 Southwest Fwy, Stafford, TX 77477
To register for the class go to www.sugarlandgobox.eventbrite.com.
The injustice of human trafficking (modern-day slavery) affects countless lives around the world, and even here in our own backyard. According to the International Labor Organization there are 40.3 million victims of human trafficking globally.
Christmas Home Tour
One of CAFB’s biggest fundraisers, the 27th Christmas Home Tour, is scheduled for December 7th and 8th. The two-day Home Tour hosts visitors from all of 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.
In 2017 we served 2,110 children and families. Please help us raise funds for the programs and services we offer them by signing up as a sponsor. You may visit here https://www.cafb.org/events/home-tour/sponsorships/
If you’re interested in participating as a volunteer or would like to discuss showcasing your home and Christmas décor on the Christmas Home Tour please contact Lisa at LMoore@cafb.org
FRIENDS Membership Coffee
Bring a friend and join the FRIENDS Council for their annual Membership coffee. You will learn about FRIENDS, the path a child takes when they arrive at Child Advocates of Fort Bend, and the many ways that we support children in our community who have been abused and neglected.
Thursday, October 4, 2018
10:00am – 11:30am
Please contact Kristin Stiles-Janossy at email@example.com if you’d like to attend or receive more information about FRIENDS.
Kendra Scott Gives Back Party
Please join us for sips, sweets and Jewels.
20% of proceeds benefit Child Advocates of Fort Bend.
Wednesday, October 10
6pm – 8pm
Kendra Scott First Colony Mall
Mark your calendar
October 1, 2018: Golf for Greater Houston Golf Tournament
Black Hawk and Shadow Hawk Golf Courses
October 4, 2018 FRIENDS Fall Coffee
In the Sugar Creek home of Cathy & Alan Stubbs
October 10, 2018 Kendra Scott Give Back Night
6pm – 8pm
Kendra Scott First Colony Mall
November 16, 2018 National Adoption Day
8am – 11:30am
Fort Bend County Justice Center, 3rd Floor
December 7 + 8, 2018 Christmas Home Tour