Children’s Center celebrates art winners and 20th anniversary

By: Press Release
By: Press Release

Two students from Trenton schools were the winners of this year’s art contest sponsored by the Fannin County Children’s Center. Scott Kirby took home the top honor and a $100 gift card. Kirby is 12 years old and in the 7th grade. Gisselle Olivas won the second place red ribbon and a $50 gift card for her artwork.

Both students were recognized at the Children’s Center’s Open House. Their artwork has already been used to create cards for the agency’s tenth annual “Open Your Heart” campaign. These cards will be mailed to supporters in an effort to raise funds that are critical to sustaining a wide array of support services to children who have been abused or neglected. In the last nine years, this fundraising effort has collectively raised more than $128,000 for the Children’s Center.

The Open House was also held to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Children’s Center. On April 8, 1993, the 336th District Court Judge assigned CASA to two cases. Over the next 20 years the agency added additional services for children, including the Children’s Advocacy Center, and moved to its present day location.

“Hundreds of children have been positively impacted by the work of our volunteers, staff and partner agencies over the last 20 years,” said Sandy Barber, Executive Director of the Children’s Center.

Bonham Police Chief Mike Bankston told those in attendance about founding director Paula Spindle’s efforts to get the agency started. She often worked for no salary for the first year. Bankston was a founding board member and has served on the board for two more times since then. He also told about the first day that CASA was assigned to its first cases. He said the 5-7 volunteers sitting on the front row in the courtroom reminded him of excited little first graders, raising their hands when Judge Ray Grisham announced that he would be assigning a CASA volunteer to a case.

Joyce McGehee also addressed the crowd. She recently retired from the agency, after working there for more than 19 years.

Board President Linda Gazaway and John Ferris with the Bonham Chamber each welcomed the guests to the event. Gazaway also announced about a new opportunity for individuals, businesses or other groups to get involved at the center through the Adopt-A-Room campaign. Ten years ago the center bought, renovated and moved in to its current location without incurring any debt. They are now seeking sponsors for each room to help cover the costs of getting new carpeting, paint, minor repairs and equipment for the facility so that the services for children can continue. Several rooms have already been adopted.

For more information, call (903) 583-4339 or go to

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