Child Advocates of Fort Bend Named Beneficiary of FBJSL Sugar Plum Marketplace

2020 Sugar Plum Marketplace Co-Chair Theresa Shmerling of Fort Bend Junior Service League with Child Advocates of Fort Bend CEO Ruthanne Mefford, Grant Writer Jenetha Jones, Development Director Lisa Moore and 2020 Sugar Plum Marketplace Co-Chair Brigit Engleman.

Fort Bend Junior Service League (FBJSL) Members recently presented a check for a portion of the proceeds of their recent Sugar Plum Market to Child Advocates of Fort Bend. The agency actively recruits and trains volunteers to serve in its Children’s Advocacy Center and as CASA Advocates who are appointed as Guardians ad Litem for foster youth. The funds will be used to help with virtual trainings for CASA volunteers and virtual pre-service training to volunteer in the CAC, including continuing education tools to meet credentialing requirements for advocates. In addition, funds will be used to ensure pandemic safety protocols for NEST and WINGS programming for youth including providing youth with Learning Boxes focusing on education; enrichment and interactive activities including STEAM exercises; and LifeSkills Training Kits for teens in care.

The NEST and WINGS programs were developed to enhance educational, social and health advocacy practices for children ages 6-13 in foster care and to prepare foster youth 14-18 for independent living after they “age out” of the foster care system. Support from FBJSL will provide youth with enrichment and interactive activities (Learning Boxes and Lifeskills Training Kits) that to help ensure that these youth have a greater chance of overcoming the

negative impacts of trauma from childhood abuse or neglect as well as learning experiences that help build educational success and self-esteem and, ultimately, lead to self-reliance. These programs are a model for other programs across the state. 100% of seniors in the WINGS program consistently graduate from high school and the program is beginning to see the first few graduates from college and trade school. The WINGS program has been a key factor in changing outcomes for these youth.

Funds from FBJSL will allow Child Advocates of Fort Bend (CAFB) to continue to recruit and train volunteers but will provide critical, transformative services to abused and neglected children through the NEST and WINGS programs. CAFB’s goal is to break the cycle of abuse and neglect for Fort Bend’s children in foster care and build and overall stronger thriving community.