Judge Ron Pope was named Child Advocate of the Year for 2018 at Child Advocates of Fort Bend’s Annual Volunteer Celebration, held Jan. 30 at Sweetwater Country Club.
The event was attended by more than 250 volunteers, community partners and staff.
“Judge Pope embodies the mission and passion for the work that we do. He has gone ‘above and beyond’ and his actions and influence will have long-lasting impact, not only for the children we serve but for our entire community,” said Child Advocates of Fort Bend Chief Executive Officer Ruthanne Mefford. “Judge Pope is a huge supporter of our CASA program. He values and respects the work that our volunteers contribute to the cases and is very vocal about his feelings that all children in CPS custody should have a CASA Advocate. He has utilized his judicial platform to increase awareness among those who work with maltreated infants and toddlers and has been the change agent to improve outcomes. In doing so, he has transformed Fort Bend County’s child welfare system into a child well-being system.”
Other honorees at the volunteer celebration included Sandra Rios-Bond (CASA Volunteer of the Year), Judy Ronning (Children’s Advocacy Center Volunteer of the Year), and Beverly Martinez (Voices for Children Ambassador of the Year). Sonal Bhuchar was named Legislative Advocate of the Year. In accepting the award, she took no credit for her accomplishments, instead using the opportunity to encourage others to become involved in supporting the mission.
Former Fort Bend County District Attorney John Healey was the recipient of the Mariel Barrera Champion for Children Award. Barrera, a longtime employee of Child Advocates of Fort Bend, passed away in early 2017. Healey was unable to attend the event, however, Barrera’s children accepted the award on his behalf.