• Mary Kay Nature Explore Classrooms: Mary Kay offers children of domestic violence victims to rise above their circumstances

    by Manju Alexander | Oct 08, 2012

    View excerpts from the article below as well as the link to the full article.

    Mary Kay: Learn-Play-Heal
    October 3, 2012
    by Karyn Reagan

    From the beginning, Mary Kay Ash’s heart was to positively impact the lives of women, removing barriers to their success. She wanted to provide an opportunity for them to have a thriving career without compromising their family time and their faith. On Sept. 13, 1963, Mary Kay Ash launched a cosmetics company exactly one month after her husband lost his battle with cancer. She had $5,000, nine friends and a son committed to helping her start her new endeavor. Mary Kay Inc. is now a $3 billion-per-year company, operating in more than 35 countries with a salesforce of more than 2.4 million women who have their own Mary Kay businesses.

    In the past 49 years, Mary Kay Inc. has given millions of dollars to various organizations and causes to help those in need, according to Crayton Webb, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility. In 1996, the Mary Kay Foundation was established as a conduit of funds in support of researching cancers that affected women. In 2000, the Foundation expanded its mission to provide funding for programs that prevented violence against women and raised awareness about domestic violence. While the Foundation draws attention to two causes, Mary Kay Inc. focuses solely on ending domestic violence against women. The motivation for making this cause their focus was the fact that disturbing stories of domestic abuse against consultants and customers started to make their way to the leadership at Mary Kay.

    Making an Impact on the Hearts of Children

    In 2009, Webb and his team were approached by the Arbor Day Foundation with an idea—would Mary Kay Inc. and The Mary Kay Foundation be interested in partnering with them to provide Nature Explore Classrooms at domestic abuse shelters? “They had discovered science that proved that children who have witnessed or been victims of domestic abuse respond positively to learning and playing in nature,” Webb says. “When we realized these classrooms were not mere playgrounds, but outdoor centers created where the power of nature can help children learn, play and heal from abuse—and there was nothing else like them in the world—we were thrilled to partner with Arbor Day as sponsors of the classrooms.”

    Webb and his team responded by opening not one but five Nature Explore Classrooms in the first year. “The second year we opened four, the third year we opened another four, for a current total of 17 classrooms, and we are looking at completing four more in 2013,” Webb says. “Right now we are reviewing over 100 applications from shelters all over the country desiring a Nature Explore Classroom on their property.” That is quite a change from the response the first year, when most shelter directors seemed unsure of giving up precious space for an outdoor classroom. But the results have spoken for themselves and shelters are clamoring for an effective way to help the children of the parents using their services.

    The Power of a Safe Place

    The Family Place in Dallas was the first beneficiary of Mary Kay’s partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation. Executive Director Paige Flink explains that through its funding of the Nature Classroom at The Family Place, the Mary Kay Foundation has created an environment both for learning and for healing. Children who have witnessed violence often see the world as a terrible place, a place where harm will come to them. Exploring nature and learning about the beauty of the environment will help children understand that living things have value and that there is much to be gained in taking care of the earth.

    Read more in Direct Selling News...The Blog.

  • Paige Flink, DA Craig Watkins and Judge Rick Magnis Commemorate Domestic Violence Awareness Month

    by Manju Alexander | Oct 03, 2012

    Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins, Judge Rick Magnis and Paige Flink, The Family Place Executive Director, participated in a press conference this morning at the Frank Crowley Courthouse to commemorate Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and release 2011 domestic violence statistics. See the official press release from DA Craig Watkins office below.


    District Attorney Craig Watkins Continues the Fight Against Domestic Violence: New Stats out on Number of Women Killed

    (Dallas, TX – October 2, 2011) – October is also known as the month to highlight the other cancer that kills, and sadly that is intimate partner violence. Please join Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins and The Family Place Executive Director Paige Flink to raise awareness during Domestic Violence Month and announce the 2011 statistics.

    “The problem is very real and so serious. It takes all of us working together to stop this epidemic.” said Paige Flink Executive Director The Family Place. There will be a press conference on the steps of the Frank Crowley Courthouse; 133 N. Riverfront Blvd; Dallas, Texas at 11 am, on Wednesday October 3rd.

    Several life-size wooden silhouettes of women will be presented; listing the names of all the women who were killed by their husbands and boyfriends in 2011. Estella, a survivor, will also speak about her experience of being shot at – only the bullets struck an innocent bystander. The batterer was sentenced to 99 years in prison.

    “We recently sought the ultimate punishment against a boyfriend who stabbed his live-in girlfriend and her daughter to death in the capital murder case of Tyrone Cade. A Dallas county jury determined within two hours that this batterer deserved to be put to death. We will continue to prosecute these domestic violence cases to the fullest extent.” said DA Craig Watkins.

    Dallas County Judge Rick Magnis will also talk about his new specialized court program for the high risk domestic violence perpetrator. Dallas County continues to initiate innovative and progressive programs to address this insidious problem.

    Click here to read the entire press release. 

    Safetly, shelter and hope start here
    Watch the video below to learn more about The Family Place Emergency Shelter and the services we provide.

    The Family Place - Safe Campus from Beyond on Vimeo.

  • MySweetCharity Recaps Partners Card Kick-off and 2012 Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon

    by Manju Alexander | Sep 25, 2012

    The Family Place’s Fundraising Ranged From Partners Card At NorthPark To Trailblazer Awards Luncheon At The Omni Dallas

    September 21, 2012
    by Jeanne Prejean

    The Family Place‘s Executive Director Paige Flink was a busy gal Tuesday and Wednesday. Well, she’s always busy, but this time she barely had time to change earrings.


    Tuesday night she was at NorthPark for the Partners Card Southern Sellers Soirée. The Northern one took place last Thursday at Shay Geyer‘s IBB Design in Frisco. The Soirées “celebrate and honor cards sellers and sponsors like jeweler Jerry Szor that make it possible to continue Partners Card and bring hope to local victims of domestic violence.”

    But Tuesday night it was outdoors in NP’s center courtyard and the weather couldn’t have been better. With The Road Crew playing “Rock with You,” “Car Wash” and “Let’s Stay Together,” guests found themselves dancing, dining and drinking. But not Paige. She doesn’t let a little thing like a party stop her campaign to curb domestic violence and abuse. She reminded folks that last year volunteers sold 16,000 of the precious discount cards resulting in $1M, which in turn helps The Family Place grow its programs.

    Long-term, Paige has her sights on two goals:

    1. Expand education programs for youth. This include bullying prevention and teen-dating violence prevention.

    2. Expand economic empowerment of women who come to The Family Place. This includes education, jobs skills, job training and job placement.

    For the PC’s 20th anniversary, Paige and PC Co-chairs Gay Donnell, Kathryn Henry and Dawn Spalding have raised the stakes with the hope of selling 20,000 which would haul in $1.4M. Paige is very good with round numbers.

    To sell that number, it takes volunteers like Robert Weatherly, who joined The Family Place board this year. In trying to sell more than 100 cards, he’s already selling them via Facebook, where he has 1,000 friends.

    Robert also has another goal in mind. He wants to raise around $70,000 for The Family Place to have a full-time nurse-practitioner on its “Safe Campus” full-time. Currently they only have a nurse part-time, who can only see about 20 patients while there.


    It seemed like Paige was leaving her house just as the paperboy was delivering the morning paper. She had to hustle to the Omni Dallas for the 2012 Trailblazer Awards Luncheon benefiting The Family Place. 600 were expected and some were greeted by an Omni staffer in the Omni driveway who advised guests as they approached, “If you’re going to valet park, you’re going to have a wait after the lunch.” Hmm, not a good sign.

    But once inside the crowd in the reception area outside the Trinity Ballroom grew and grew. One of the highlights was Ebby Halliday all in white seated on a couch, that soon took on the look of a throne as guests lined up to pay homage to the 101-year-old. Have you noticed that both centenarians Ebby and Margaret McDermott, who is a year younger than Ebby, are partial to white? It almost makes them glow.

    Ah, but what many didn’t realize was that just a few floors upstairs, an ultra-private reception was taking place with the Trailblazer honorees (Liz Minyard and Kathryn Hall, Lynn Goldstein and Verizon’s David Russell), Event Co-chairs Anh and Dr. Loc Trieu and Amanda and Lloyd Ward), Honorary Co-chairs Diane and Daryl Johnston with their old friend and guest speaker Don McPherson.

    Only one missing was Dr. Kenneth Cooper, who was to receive the Man of Influence Award. He had a good excuse. Had to be in China.

    After loads of coffee and photos, the VIP’s moseyed on to the Trinity Ballroom, except for Amanda, who had to scamper back upstairs. Seems she forgot her purse. Hey, it happens.

    Before the program began, CBS-11′s Brendan Higgins did a very nice job of emceeing. When Dr. Jackie Roese did not appear to provide the blessing, Brendan did a shout-out for someone to sub in. From the front row, Honorary Co-chair Daryl brought Fr. Stephen Swann to the stage. Just as Fr. Swann concluded the invocation, Jackie arrived. She had been in a car accident. Not to worry. She was safe and apologetic for being late.

    At 12:22, Paige (“I don’t know why you’re scripting me?”) reported to the room of people that at that moment there were 87 women and children in the shelter and emphasized how much these “clients” and others depended upon proceeds from the luncheon and donations.

    Then it was time to hand out the awards. All went seamlessly.

    Verizon’s David Russell accepted The Family Place Advocacy Award saying that Verizon accepted no-longer-needed cellphones to be recycled for victims of domestic violence. “We’re the only ones doing that. We’ll take the other guys’ stuff.” AT&T’s Holly Reed, sitting at a table just a row away, must have loved that. (Editor’s note: AT&T has a similar program, but their phones go to the military serving overseas.)

    Real-Life Hero Lynn Goldstein simply said, “I’m not a hero,” despite having been one of the original people to start The Family Place.

    Liz and Kathryn accepted their award for their work at the North Texas Food Bank saying, “We were very young when we started the North Texas Food Bank 30 years ago. Our goal was to eliminate hunger. That didn’t work out” due to growing demands on area resources. Naturally, they also plugged Art in the Park, their October 11 fundraiser in Frisco with Emerald City.

    At 12:28 Daryl introduced his former college teammate, saying that Don had deserved to have won the Heisman Trophy instead of Tim Brown.

    The former NFL player/radio talk show host/social advocate admitted that he couldn’t see the people in the room because the lights were turned down and the spotlight on him was rather blinding. Someone must have heard him, because the house lights brightened.

    During the next 18 minutes, Don told the group:

    • “To prevent family violence, you’ve got to work on it every day.”
    • “I don’t think we should wait for bad things to happen to act.”
    • Trayvon Martin was shot [and murdered] and there were marches about it. We don’t march about the women who are murdered every day.”
    • Addressing the men in the audience: “Men, make this your issue. We need to raise the next generation of men not to be abusive.” (Applause)
    • “We raise boys not to be women. Language from an early age (‘You throw like a girl’) tells boys not to show emotions or that he cares.. . . It also says that women are less than.”
    • “I am not going to build up my son by degrading my daughter.”

    In the audience, Paige and 600 heard the message. Now, they must spread the word to others.

    Read more and see pictures at MySweetCharity.com

  • Peter Magic Plays Carnival Games at GrapeFest to Win Prizes for Children at The Family Place

    by Manju Alexander | Sep 17, 2012

    Peter Magic Presentation to The Family Place at 2012 Grapefest

    Peter Magic, aka Peter Drakos, the nationally acclaimed carnival game winner and magician, played games at the 26th Annual GrapeFest last week. All his prize winnings were given to us at The Family Place, where representatives will distribute Peter Magic’s winnings to children at our shelter.

    Thank you Peter Magic and GrapeFest!

    Click to see a short video from the event: http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=6HLepFWLN3g&feature=you tu.be

  • Only 3 days left to purchase your 2012 Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon tickets!

    by Manju Alexander | Sep 11, 2012

    2012 Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon - Team Up Against Family Violence

    Event Details

    Online sales will end on Friday, September 14.

  • Get Up and Give This Thursday!

    by Manju Alexander | Sep 11, 2012

    The 2012 North Texas Giving Day is almost here! The Family Place is one of 1,000 North Texas non-profits eligible for a matching grant from DonorBridge.

    2012 North Texas Giving Day

    Every donation of $25 and above made between 7 a.m. and Midnight through DonorBridgeTX.org this Thursday, September 13 will be matched by a percentage! Make your gift to The Family Place through DonorBridge to help support the families we protect.

    What to do:
    • Go to the Donor Bridge website on Thursday, September 13 from 7am – midnight.
    • Search for The Family Place, which will take you to our DonorBridge profile.
    • Donate $25 or more to The Family Place.
    • Forward the link to your friends and family!
    • Watch video.

    Here is a preview of the website and how easily you can access The Family Place's page to donate this year.

    Read more from WFFA.

  • MySweetCharity Talks with Kathryn Henry, 2012 Partners Card Co-Chair

    by Manju Alexander | Sep 05, 2012

    MySweetCharity Opportunity: Partners Card
    by Jeanne Prejean
    August 27, 2012

    According to Partners Card Co-chair Kathryn Henry:

    “This year, The Family Place is thrilled to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Partners Card, a combination of shopping and saving lives that has become a Dallas staple. The program, presented by Bank of Texas, will begin Friday, October 26 through Sunday, November 4, 2012.

    “I am thrilled to co-chair the 20th anniversary of Partners Card with Gay Donnell and Dawn Spalding, and to work with Kimberly and Justin Whitman, this year’s honorary chairs. It is such an honor to be a part of this milestone year for Partners Card.

    “In 1993, The Family Place launched Partners Card with only 175 participating retailers and raised a modest $90,000. Throughout the years, the program has grown tremendously with more than 750 retailers participating today, including local boutiques, high-end retailers, nationally owned retailers, and local restaurants from across the Metroplex. 100 percent of the sale of each $70 Partners Card goes directly to The Family Place. In its history, Partners Card has raised an incredible $12.1 million for The Family Place, and the program has surpassed the million-dollar mark for the past two years.

    “Partners Card is The Family Place’s largest annual fundraiser and has helped The Family Place grow into one of the longest-serving family violence service providers in the state. Funds raised through the Partners Card program provide family violence victims emergency shelter; counseling; medical care; day care and after-school programs for children; job, technical and life skills for adults; and much more.

    “The 10-day shopping spectacular allows cardholders unbelievable savings at some of Dallas’ top stores and restaurants. With the purchase of a $70 Partners Card, shoppers receive 20 percent savings at more than 750 participating retailers in Dallas, Arlington, Grapevine, McKinney, Plano, Southlake, Richardson, Frisco, Coppell, Flower Mound, Denton, Colleyville, Las Colinas, Irving, Mesquite, Addison, Garland, Rockwall and Lewisville.

    “Partners Cards go on sale in mid-September and individuals may purchase a Partners Card from any participating retailer or restaurant, card-selling individual, direct mail or The Family Place Web site. For more information, visit www.partnerscard.org, contact the Partners Card Hotline at (214) 443-7754 or email partnerscard@familyplace.org.”

    Read more in MySweetCharity

  • Paige Flink Quoted in Huffington Post

    by Manju Alexander | Sep 05, 2012

    What's a Patriot to do?
    Nancy Webb
    Huffington Post
    August 28, 2012

    July 4th was over seven weeks ago and, for several reasons, I can't bring myself to take down the American flag hanging on the front of my house. Every time I leave and return home, it serves as a reminder to me of how important it is to be involved in this great nation's system of government.

    I'm a proud and patriotic citizen of the United States of America. My DNA is red, white and blue. I'm an Army brat. I'm 54 years old and I have four children. And as a proud and patriotic American, I'm equal parts concerned and confused.

    The America I grew up in had a can-do, take care of your neighbors attitude, and that was the attitude my parents instilled in me. And over the last 150 years, that attitude has led to extraordinary American achievements: women's suffrage, recovering from World War II, developing social security, the Civil Rights movement, landing on the moon, electing an African American President and landing a rover on Mars.

    Of course, this isn't the America I grew up in. In many ways, our great country has changed for the better since I was a child, and America and the world face challenges we've never faced before. But I believe that the response we've been capable of for decades is still with us, in us. We just don't know how to respond when it appears the people who control our systems of government, business, education and health care, have selfish agendas that are in direct conflict with "taking care of our neighbors." The epitome of this is watching our elected officials leave for summer break having accomplished so very little.

    When I listen to the radio, read the newspaper or speak with friends and family, it becomes clear that these feelings of concern and confusion are shared by many. They are caused by our failure to address some of our most important challenges this past legislative session. And boy, what a failure that was. Amidst the many pieces of legislation that were not addressed, like the Farm Bill or Tax Relief for the middle class, sits a critical act that represents how short-sighted and harmful inaction by our Congress can be. It is the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

    I don't know whether to scream or cry when I think about how much damage is being done by not reauthorizing the VAWA. Paige Flink, Executive Director at Dallas-based shelter The Family Place notes that, "if VAWA is not reauthorized we will lose many effective provisions that have saved lives of thousands of people living in violent relationships. Since 1994 this critical law has provided funding for shelters and helped reduce partner violence against women across our country." Sadly, Flink warns, "today, this effective law is a political football, languishing on the desks of Congress while agencies such as ours struggle to shelter every person who needs it."

    Paige can't stop thinking about one of her clients, whose children jumped out a bathroom window to escape the violence of their father as he killed their uncle and tried to kill their mother. We should all be very concerned that our country doesn't currently have legislated protection for this woman and others like her. Our foreign policy seems to promote and facilitate support for women in other countries and yet we refuse to pass the legislation that would make the same support possible in our own country!

    I'm not alone when I have feelings of frustration about my inability to affect change. What is an educated, middle-aged, patriotic American who really cares, but doesn't have millions to contribute to the political system, supposed to do? In America, often the thing that speaks louder than the special interest dollars is the volume of voices heard by our elected officials. It was the will of the people, not the influence of a few wallets that led to all those remarkable American achievements listed.

    So I'm going to join the voices that are already gathering. Voices demanding that our elected officials take action, risk compromise and make us proud that they represent us.

    You can do the same. Go online to find out how to call or write your congressional representatives, then take fifteen minutes to contact each of them with two key messages. Firstly, they must reach across the aisle to work for the good of the American people. Secondly, they must do whatever it takes to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. This is the work they've been elected to do, and if they hear this message from enough people, maybe Congress will return from this undeserved recess and get the hard work done.

    When Americans put their minds to it, and when our elected officials serve us the way they're supposed to, we can achieve remarkable things. So, I think I'll leave my flag flying a little longer. It will continue to remind me of what can be achieved when Americans work together.

    Read more in Huffington Post

  • Join Us on Thursday, August 30 for the Texas Trailblazer Announcement Party

    by Manju Alexander | Aug 27, 2012
    Texas Trailblazer Awards Annoucement Party
  • Paige Flink named one of 2012 Champions of Human Rights for Mosaic Family Services

    by Manju Alexander | Aug 27, 2012

    Mosaic Family Services to honor leaders of Genesis, Family Place

    by Robert Miller
    The Dallas Morning News
    19 August 2012

    Mosaic Family Services will name Jan Langbein and Paige Flink the 2012 Champions of Human Rights at a luncheon Oct. 12 at the Dallas Arboretum.

    The award recognizes individuals who strive to ensure the protection of basic human rights and freedoms.

    Langbein is executive director of Genesis Women’s Shelter, and Flink is executive director of The Family Place.

    Mosaic Family Services, founded in 1993 by Dr. Walter Nguyen, is a Dallas nonprofit dedicated to providing culturally competent services to refugees and immigrants in crisis

    For more than 20 years, Langbein and Flink have led the two shelters dedicated to providing refuge for women and children fleeing abuse in Dallas.

    Read more in The Dallas Morning News

  • Domestic Violence Shelters in Texas Struggle to Meet Demands

    by Manju Alexander | Aug 27, 2012

    As VAWA Languishes in Congress, Domestic Violence Shelters in Texas Are Struggling to Meet Demand

    by Paige Flink, The Family Place
    RH Reality Check
    August 13, 2012

    It has been a brutal summer for victims of family violence. For the first time in the 34-year history of The Family Place in Dallas, Texas, we will shelter 113 people, including 38 women, 73 children, and two men. A mom and her young child are being transported right this minute by the Dallas Police Department because of the dangerous violence in their home.

    We’ve had to place some families in hotels because it is more than we have bed capacity to handle, but their lethality risk was too great to turn them away. My colleagues at other emergency shelters in Texas are experiencing the same overwhelming demand. The shelter in Arlington is putting up cots in their gymnasium. We are setting records we wish we never had to reach.

    All this is happening at a time when some Texas politicians report that things are going great in the Lone Star State. The women who are struggling to keep their kids alive would not agree with that perspective.

    Yesterday I met Sarah. She had been living in a hotel with her two autistic sons because her abusive husband had lost his job and they’d been evicted from their apartment. She put up with the abuse for years so her kids would have stability and a roof over their heads, but the recent pain was too much for her to bear. We’ve got her in a safe place for now, but finding a job that pays enough to cover her specialized child care needs and living expenses is going to be very difficult.

    Last month I met Mary. She moved to Dallas in 2009 to escape a 15-year marriage to a minister who was well respected in the community. Her employer provided transportation to Dallas to escape her husband’s extreme physical and emotional abuse. Her plan was to live on unemployment until she found a new job. Unfortunately, she was denied unemployment because the state where she had previously lived does not recognize the fear associated with domestic violence as a valid reason to leave employment. To make matters worse, Mary has high blood pressure. Her medical insurance from her employer was good for one month, but she can’t afford COBRA’s high monthly fee. Without insurance, she can’t afford the cost of a medication refill. I hope she’s healthy enough to find a job and keep it.

    And I can’t stop thinking about Gloria. During an abusive rampage, her husband shot and killed her brother who was trying to protect her. Her two little boys witnessed this horror, but managed to escape by jumping out of the bathroom window. Gloria’s husband kept her trapped in their marriage by not letting her become a legal resident. He didn’t want her to gain independence from him because he was afraid he would lose her.

    “Save America, Vote!” reads the sign in the yard of a politically-opinionated neighbor. What good will that do? If we send someone new to Washington DC, will they take action? Will a new Senator or House Representative reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)? Since 1994, this critical law has provided funding for shelters, saved thousands of lives, and helped reduce partner violence against women across our country. The number of individuals killed by an intimate partner has decreased by 34 percent for women and 57 percent for men; the rate of non-fatal intimate partner violence against women has decreased 53 percent in the years since the law was enacted. Today, this effective law is a political football, languishing on the desks of Congressmen while agencies such as ours struggle to shelter every person who needs it.

    Come on Congress: Where are your “family values?”

    In my 20 years of working to stop family violence in our community, I have seen thousands of courageous women and children escape to a better life. They couldn’t have done it without the financial support of caring individuals. Find a shelter in your town. Help feed and clothe these families. Provide enriching activities for the children. Bring your gently used baby stroller and car seat to help a new mom in the shelter transport her baby home.

    Call your representative, get mad, get active, and tell politicians to do their jobs and reauthorize the VAWA before the situation gets even worse.

    Read More in RH Reality Check

  • Helping Hands for the Family Place Food Truck Fest was a huge success

    by Manju Alexander | Aug 27, 2012

    Back-toSchool Food Truck Fest is a success

    Terry Eddington, Food Truck Connection

    Pegasus News

    Friday, August 10, 2012

    After spending just a short time around a group of food trucks, the sense of community between the trucks is readily apparent. But that willingness to help out each other also extends to the community where the truck owners live and work. On Tuesday, August 7, several trucks from all around the DFW metropolitan area congregated in the parking lot of The Family Place Resale Shop in Dallas to support the Back-to-School Food Truck Fest. Aside from being a draw to bring people to the resale store, the trucks donated 10% of their sales with many of the trucks also donating their tips for the night.

    The trucks provided a wide range of food choices, including gourmet grilled cheese from Ruthie’s, bahn mi sandwiches from Nammi, Philly cheesesteaks from Free Wheel’n Café, pistolettes or gumbo from Cajun Tailgators, hot dogs wrapped in bacon and deep fried by Eat Jo Dawgs, and fried ravioli and pasta dishes from Semplice Cibo Italiano. The sweet tooth was covered, with whoopie pies and a small batch gourmet ice cream from Rockstar Bakeshop, a delicious selection of fancy cupcakes from the Cup Cakin Machine, and shaved ice -- virgin- or-adult style -- from Enticed. There was truly something for everyone and a steady stream of patrons and supporters between the trucks and the stores.

    Seating was available on the sidewalk outside The Family Place Resale Shop.

    Photo by Terry Eddington

    Seating was available on the sidewalk outside The Family Place Resale Shop.

    Helping Hands is a social and fundraising auxiliary of The Family Place, the largest family violence service provider in the Dallas area. A group of civic-minded professionals provide fundraising and volunteer resources to the The Family Place and support its mission to eliminate family violence through intervention and education as well as direct assistance to the victims and their families. When I stopped by their table outside The Family Place Resale Shop, the response was that turnout was great and they were signing up a number of new members.

    The Back-to-School Food Truck Fest is one of many social events and happy hours sponsored by Helping Hands. This event focused on collecting school supplies for those who need a helping hand getting the things their children need for the upcoming school year. Between contributions dropped off, brisk sales at the Resale Shop, and the donations coming from the trucks, the event was a great success.

    Click here to view more photos from the event.

    Read more in Pegasus News

  • TFP Thanks ExxonMobil Community Summer Jobs Program

    by Manju Alexander | Aug 27, 2012

    The Family Place thanks ExxonMobil for our summer intern, Aliza Schick, who was with us for eight weeks this summer.

    The ExxonMobil Community Summer Jobs Program (CSJP) provides local nonprofits with college interns for eight weeks each summer. Students are employed as an introduction to careers or volunteer leadership positions in the nonprofit sector.

    In addition to their internships, the program does service projects within the community. Click below to see news stories and pictures from their service project at the Zoo.

    ExxonMobil CSJP Community Service Project - Dallas Zoo - FOX 4 KDFW

    ExxonMobil CSJP Community Service Project - Dallas Zoo - NBC 5 KXAS

    ExxonMobil CSJP Service Project 2012 - provided by Sunwest Communications   ExxonMobil CSJP Program Service Project 2012 provided by Sunwest Communications

  • The Family Place Sees 15 to 20 Percent Increase in Clients this Summer

    by Manju Alexander | Jul 27, 2012

    DFW shelters report rise in women fleeing abuse

    By Susan Schrock
    Published: 26 July 2012

    FORT WORTH -- For nearly six years, Mary's husband cursed her, beat her, stole her money and threatened to kill her.

    So when she decided to leave him for good last month, she said, she was dismayed to discover that all the domestic violence shelters in Dallas County were full. She had no family in the area and couldn't stay with friends because he had already tracked her down once before and forced her to return home.

    "There was nothing available. Everywhere kept saying they were full," said Mary, who asked that her real name not be used. "The only option was to go back to my husband."

    Fortunately, after numerous phone calls, Mary found shelter and support at SafeHaven of Tarrant County.

    Mary left everything behind, and the Fort Worth shelter is helping her start a new life away from the anger and pain, she said.

    "It was a relief that they accepted me," said Mary, who has started a new job and is saving for an apartment. "I'd probably have gone back to him and taken the abuse until I was able to save my money."

    SafeHaven and The Family Place, the largest domestic violence shelters in Tarrant and Dallas counties, say they have seen a significant increase this summer in women who are fleeing abusive relationships. The record influx of women and children is straining the nonprofit agencies' budgets, especially when the shelters run out of beds and have to send some families to hotels, officials said.

    "We don't want to turn any victim away, but options for additional space are very limited. Shelters in Dallas are full as well, so referring to other domestic violence organizations is not always possible," said Mary Lee Hafley, executive director of SafeHaven of Tarrant County.

    'Prospects are grim'

    SafeHaven, which has emergency shelters in Fort Worth and Arlington, served 106 more clients this June than in June 2011, a 10 percent increase. The Family Place in Dallas has seen a 15 to 20 percent increase this summer, Executive Director Paige Flink said.

    Part of the reason is that larger families -- mothers with three to eight children -- are seeking help, she said.

    "I think the economy is affecting people's ability to stay in their home. The prospects are grim," Flink said. "In a lot of cases, if she stayed and took the beating, at least the kids might have gotten food. Now that might not be the case if the primary income earner is unemployed."

    Both agencies say serving a single client costs about $70 a day. Costs include food, utilities, toiletries, transportation, clothing, child-care items and even furniture to help women set up their new homes.

    "So many people just don't have anything when they get to the shelter," said Flink, adding that clients can stay up to 45 days while working to get housing and a job. "We are struggling to meet the needs, and we are asking for the community's support."

    More clients in summer

    It isn't unusual for shelters to be fuller in the summer, Hafley said, but being over capacity day after day is not the norm.

    "Summers are generally a time that victims make decisions to leave an abusive partner because children are out of school, neighbors are out of town and there are fewer questions to answer. The timing allows the victim to minimize her shame and embarrassment," said Hafley, adding that the heat may also play a role in the rise in domestic disturbance police calls.

    Because of the increased demand, The Family Place added five beds this summer and can house up to 105 women and children. Before this summer, the shelter was typically housing 85 to 90 at peak demand.

    "If there are more people than we can shelter, we are putting them in a hotel. That is not optimal," Flink said.

    SafeHaven's Arlington location has had to add beds in its gymnasium. Some of its clients have also been placed in hotels, officials said.

    "This is an issue that is life and death. We are trying to prevent people in our community from dying from family violence," said Flink, adding that clients sometimes come to the shelter straight from an emergency room. "We don't want people to not call because they are afraid we are full. We'll figure it out."

    Read more in Star-Telegram

  • The Family Place Gives Mother of Seven Hope for the Future

    by Manju Alexander | Jul 13, 2012

    Shelter Services Give Mother of Seven New Hope

    by Courtney Collins
    KERA News
    12 July 2012

    As local family violence shelters cope with major overcrowding, we introduce you to a survivor who’s living that reality.

    Back home, Danielle feared for her life. She tried to leave her verbally and physically abusive husband several times, but always went back when she ran out of money. Her husband managed to find her at a shelter in her home state, so this past May, she packed her seven children in the car and set off for Texas.

    Danielle: I’ve been in my marriage for about seven years, and it was just constant abuse, and I started seeing my children behaving the same way. It was time to get away from that.

    She chose Texas because her husband doesn’t know anyone here and that made her feel safe. After two days on the road, she showed up at The Family Place in Dallas with seven kids under the age of 15 and little more than the clothes they were wearing.

    “By the time I got here, I was a wreck; nervous, scared, angry, frustrated. But since I’ve been here, oh my goodness, it’s been a big change, especially with my case manager; they’ve been so patient with me. And now I’m starting to just relax. My kids are starting to, instead of being on edge because they’re scared, they’re starting to feel comfortable and relax," Danielle said.

    Danielle’s Case Manager Margie Heilbronner says once a woman gets to the shelter, it’s about more than just food and a place to sleep. The abused work with counselors to make a list of goals; everything from dental care to a new apartment. They apply for government assistance and often crime victim compensation. They work on job skills, whatever needs to be done to live independently in a community.

    Heilbronner: My idea is women have to be physically okay, mentally okay and spiritually okay, so we start there. Because if they’re not ok in all those areas, everything we are trying to do is going to fall apart anyway.

    The average stay at the Family Place is 45 days. Those who need more time sometimes transition to apartments on the shelter’s property.

    Danielle has been at the shelter for a little over a month. Despite what she’s been through, she smiles easily and is hopeful about the future. Her goals are selfless and simple; things most of us take for granted every day.

    “I’m really completely starting over with seven kids, so I’m hoping to have a secure house, I want to be working sooner or later. I want my kids to see that it’s ok to enjoy life," Danielle said.

    Read more and listen to the story on KERA News.

  • The Family Place is one of the recipients of the Baron and Blue Foundation Grant

    by Manju Alexander | Jul 10, 2012

    Baron and Blue Foundation awards grants to nonprofits helping Dallas County’s homeless

    Dallas Morning News
    by Robert Miller
    Published: 09 July 2012

    The Baron and Blue Foundation has awarded more than $200,000 in grants to Dallas-area nonprofit organizations during its spring funding cycle. All of the grant recipients help the homeless in Dallas County by providing emergency shelter, food, medical assistance, counseling, clothing, training or treatment programs.

    This year’s recipients for the spring cycle were Attitudes & Attire, Austin Street Centre, The Bridge, Captain Hope’s Kids, Dallas Life, The Family Place, Grand Prairie United Charities, New Friends New Life, LifeLine Shelter for Families, New Beginning Center, Promise House, The Stewpot and Vogel Alcove.

    Read more in the Dallas Morning News

    Learn more about The Baron and Blue Foundation


  • Dallas Morning News Report on new screening by police to save more victims

    by Manju Alexander | Jul 09, 2012

    Dallas Morning News
    June 29, 2012

    New screening by Dallas police is expected to save more victims of domestic violence

    Tanya Eiserer

    The punching. The kicking. The beatings. They all seemed so routine.

    This 38-year-old mother wasn’t even sure for a long time whether she was a domestic violence victim.

    “I was, but I didn’t realize it,” said the Dallas woman, who asked that her name not be published because she doesn’t want her husband to find her. “You get used to your situation.”

    Domestic violence advocates say victims often underestimate the dangers they face, feel trapped in their situations and don’t realize that help is only a phone call away. But Dallas police and two of the city’s domestic violence shelters are teaming up to prod reluctant victims into accepting help.

    Domestic violence victims are notoriously reluctant to get help, often because they would feel they had “betrayed” their partners or simply can’t see that, with one flash of that spouse’s temper, they could be seriously harmed or killed. Overworked and skeptical officers who are focused on enforcing the law rather than social services typically hand a potential victim a card with emergency contacts on it and then go to their next call.

    Now, patrol officers will ask 11 yes-and-no questions during domestic violence calls to ascertain whether it’s a high-risk situation. If it is, the officer will explain to the victim that people in such situations have been seriously hurt or killed. Then the officer will call a domestic violence hotline and urge the victim to immediately speak to a counselor.

    It sounds simple but appears to have profound and dramatic results.

    In Maryland, where the “Lethality Assessment Program” approach is being used by nearly every law enforcement agency, the number of intimate partner homicides dropped by more than 40 percent over the last five years.

    “I’ve been in this business 40 years and I can’t think of another program that has had an impact on violent crime as profound as this,” said Westminster, Md., Police Chief Jeff Spaulding.

    Hundreds more have adopted it nationwide. Dallas is now on board with a pilot program that begins in October. Frisco and San Antonio are training officers for similar efforts.

    “It allows us to plug them into services at that time rather than handing them a piece of paper with some phone numbers on it and suggesting they make a call,” Dallas police Lt. Chris Aulbaugh said.

    Earlier this year, a Dallas Morning News story highlighted a system buckling under heavy caseloads, staffing shortages and frequently uncooperative victims. It also explored the department’s failure to develop a systematic approach to identify high-risk domestic violence situations before something deadly happens.

    Officials say they realized they needed to do something different, in part because while other categories of reported crime have continued to decline, the number of domestic violence assault offenses has stubbornly held steady at between 12,000 and 13,000 annually.

    “It’s something we’re not doing, and it’s something we should be doing,” said Deputy Chief Sherryl Scott, who oversees the crimes against persons division.

    Police have steadily added detective manpower to the family violence unit and say they plan to add more.

    Understanding risk

    The questionnaires are used in domestic violence situations involving “intimate partners,” such as spousal relationships.

    Maryland’s results show that when officers do the surveys, more than half of the victims are found to be at high risk of serious injury or death. With the new screening process, nearly 60 percent of those agree to speak to a hotline worker, and more than a third agree to accept help.

    “We’re catching the victim at a time when there’s some kind of crisis going on,” said David Sargent of the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence, which developed the protocol. “We firmly believe that if a victim is going to take action, it’s going to be right now.”

    Even if the woman doesn’t accept help after that first screening, Maryland officials believe the questions force the victims to view their situations in a new light.

    “It’s a very normal human response to minimize situations of danger,” said Jacquelyn Campbell, a nationally recognized researcher on domestic violence and a nursing professor at Johns Hopkins University. “The purpose of this is to help abused victims realistically understand the risk.”

    The first three questions in the questionnaire are highly predictive of the likelihood that the victim will be killed or seriously harmed, said Campbell, who helped devise the survey.

    They ask: “Has he/she ever used a weapon against you or threatened you with a weapon?” “Has he/she threatened to kill you or your children?” and “Do you think he/she might try to kill you?”

    A yes to any of those automatically triggers a high-risk victim designation.

    At the request of The News, the Dallas woman quoted in this story answered the questionnaire. She answered “no” to the first two, but “yes” to the third. She also answered “yes” to several others, including ones about whether he’d been constantly jealous and controlling, spied on her, tried to kill himself, or choked her.

    She and her two children are now in a shelter. She says she endured almost a decade of abuse from her husband before seeking help.

    “I was property to him,” she said.

    Shelter demand

    If the experience of Maryland’s Howard County Police Department is any indicator, the untapped demand is clearly there.

    “When we first started, our domestic violence center was overwhelmed with the number of victims who were coming into services,” Detective Molly Gale said.

    That’s something that concerns officials with Genesis Women’s Shelter and The Family Place, the two shelters partnering with Dallas police on the project.

    At The Family Place, the shelter’s counseling program is full. Its shelter — built to hold up to 100 people — reached a high of 106 occupants on Wednesday.

    “Imagine the chilling effect if a cop … is standing with this victim and she can’t get in some place,” said Paige Flink, the shelter’s executive director.

    Flink vows that no victims in those situations will be turned away. They’ll be put in a hotel as a last resort.

    Once the pilot concludes at the end of the year, police commanders will evaluate it and determine whether to continue the program as is, modify it or look for an alternative approach.

    Officials in other jurisdictions say the key to making the program work is getting the rank and file on board.

    “It’s all about the attitude of the officer,” Spaulding said. “If the officer believes this is a useful tool, then the officer can be very persuasive in getting them to talk to a counselor.”

    Because victims so often return to their abusers, officers often have a jaundiced view as reflected in the experience of the Dallas woman. She says police were reluctant to arrest her husband and did so only after she insisted.

    She is now looking forward to starting a new chapter in her life and believes an approach such as the one Dallas will soon try would have made it easier for her to get help sooner.

    “You don’t have to wait until the last minute to protect yourself or your kids,” she said.

    By the numbers


    Number of women killed by husbands or boyfriends each day in the U.S


    Number of family violence fatalities in Dallas in 2011.


    Percentage of women surveyed who listed domestic violence and sexual assault as their leading concern.

    $4.1 billion

    Yearly cost of medical and health care services for victims of intimate partner violence.

    SOURCES: Dallas Police Department; domesticviolencestatistics.org.

    The screening test

    A “yes” to any of these questions automatically triggers the referral protocol for high-risk domestic abuse victims. Every attempt is made to immediately get them on the phone with a counselor:

    1. Has he/she ever used a weapon against you or threatened you with a weapon?

    2. Has he/she threatened to kill you or your children?

    3. Do you think he/she might try to kill you?

    If the answer is “no” to all of the above, but “yes” to four of the next eight questions, a referral is immediately triggered:

    4. Does he/she have a gun or can he/she get one easily?

    5. Has he/she ever tried to choke you?

    6. Is he/she violently or constantly jealous or does he/she control most of your daily activities?

    7. Have you left him/her or separated after living together or being married?

    8. Is he/she unemployed?

    9. Has he/she ever tried to kill himself/herself?

    10. Do you have a child that he/she knows is not his/hers?

    11. Does he/she follow or spy on you or leave threatening messages?

    If the answer is “yes” to the below final question and the officer believes the person is in a potentially lethal situation, the officer can still make the referral:

    12. Is there anything else that worries you about your safety? What worries you?

    SOURCE: Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence


  • CBS Local News Reports on Domestic Violence Shelters Helping Despite Limits

    by Manju Alexander | Jul 05, 2012

    Read more from CBS Local news about how local domestic violence shelters are providing aid amidst the surge in numbers. To view the story, click here


  • Watch the WFAA Local Story about surging numbers in local family shelters

    by Manju Alexander | Jul 05, 2012

    Read the accompanying story on the WFAA Local website by clicking here.

  • Park Place Porsche Donates $5000 to The Family Place

    by Manju Alexander | Jul 05, 2012

    Digital Journal Press Release
    June 28, 2012

    The 2013 Porsche Boxster Arrives in Dallas at Park Place Porsche


    Park Place Porsche unveiled the new 2013 Porsche Boxster at the Dallas Arboretum and announced a $5,000 donation was made to The Family Place to help victims of domestic violence. The third-generation of the highly regarded Porsche sports car has arrived in the Dallas showroom and is now on sale.

    Click here to read the full press release.