Help Our Kids Go Back To School

Posted on July 18, 2017

Back to School Drive 

A Note from Our Executive Director 

The new school year is often a very exciting time for children. They have the anticipation of selecting new backpacks, school supplies and cute outfits for the first day. While the children are filled with excitement and anticipation moms on limited income feel stressed and anxious. Often times, mom are stretched with paying all of the “regular” expenses, such as housing, utilities, gas, and food. While many attempt to save a few dollars back prior to school starting the rising costs of schools supplies is a daunting challenge- especially for those with multiple school age children. As a parent, we certainly do not  want to send our children to school with inferior items.  At DCFOF we recognize so many of our clients are not only struggling with the emotional scars of the trauma of the abuse, but also diminished resources. Our back to school drive helps to alleviate that burden. For nearly two decades, DCFOF has been grateful to have the support of our community to help us to meet yet another critical need for the children receiving services in our program.

Our Why

Getting ready for the school year can be an exciting time in a child's life. As much as we didn't look forward to homework again, it was often fun to go to the store with our parents and pick out the coolest new backpack and journals. Even more exciting was getting to pick out brand new clothes!  

Purchasing back to school supplies and clothing is a luxury that many of our clients do not have. For those who have been financially abused (99% of domestic violence victims are financially abused), income is limited and every penny is stretched as far as possible. We want to make sure our kids start the school year off strong and don’t have any distractions like worrying about having the right tools. In an effort to support our clients and their kiddos, DCFOF created the Back to School Drive. 

The Back to School Drive has been a effort coordinated by our agency for over 12 years. Desiree Melkovitz, our Community Resource Coordinator, is heading up this year's Back to School Drive. When talking about the Back to School drive with community members Desiree explains that "this is something that helps alleviate stress on our clients as they get their kids back to school. It's expensive and it's hectic and if we can help in a small way to empower our moms then I've done my job." 

We have supporters across Denton County pitching in by bringing as many school supplies as they can for our kids. From backpacks, to pencil cases, to calculators, any amount of support is appreciated. The smiles on the faces of the children when they get their very own brand new backpack full of supplies is priceless! 

More Info

Back to School Drive Details: 

We are working to put together 400 backpacks full of school supplies for kids of all ages. Please reference the flyer above for our most needed items.  

Donations Due: August 4th 

Volunteer Opportunity: We will be packing backpacks the week of August 4th-8th . Interested in volunteering?  
Go to the volunteer portal to sign up OR Contact Desiree at  

We will be giving the backpacks out to the kids the week of August 14th. Make sure your contributions get to our office before then! 

Want to give financial support for this drive?

Donate for Back To School 

Questions About The Drive? Contact Desiree at 

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Thrift Store

Posted on July 12, 2017

"For the creative shopper who treasure hunts with a purpose" 

1614 W. University Denton, TX, 76201

Denton County Friends of the Family is best known for our emergency shelter and outreach services, but did you know that we have a thrift store? Located on 1614 W. University in Denton, the DCFOF Thrift Store is a great resource for both our clients and the community. Our clients many times will not have access to financial resources, and buying themselves and their kids new clothes is the last thing on their mind.  

Any time our clients are in that position, DCFOF will give them gift cards to our thrift store! Clients can comb through the aisles and make purchases without having to disclose themselves as a client in front of the employees and other shoppers. Not only is this an ease for their purse strings, but retail therapy can be very empowering! 

Our thrift store is open to the community, and is a very important fundraising piece for our agency. The net profits from the store all go right back into the programs that we offer victims of domestic violence and sexual assault at DCFOF. So when you buy anything from a blouse to a couch from our store, you are contributing to programs such as emergency shelter, counseling, play therapy, legal advocacy, sexual assault advocacy, 24 hour crisis line, community education, food pantry, and career resource center. 

To stay up to date on DCFOF Thrift Store happenings, join our Facebook page! 

DCFOF Thrift Store Facebook Page

Agency Facebook Page 

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Welcome David!

Posted on July 5, 2017

Friends of the Family is excited to welcome a new member to our leadership team, David Almager! David is now the Director of Battering Intervention and Prevention Program (BIPP), bringing with him years of expertise and passion for this work. 

David is a veteran in the field of family violence having served as a counselor and program director in three separate state funded Domestic Violence programs. David has worked with both incarcerated and court ordered family violence offenders for over 16 years and was instrumental in the development of the Dallas County Felony Domestic Violence Court Program, specializing in the treatment of high-risk batterers. He has presented at state and local conferences in the area of battering intervention and prevention, high-risk offender treatment, group facilitation, and cultural competency. David holds a master’s degree in counseling/health from West Texas A&M University. 

We are happy to have you David, welcome to the DCFOF Family! 

Learn more about BIPP

Visit our website

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Jennifer's Story

Posted on June 30, 2017

Childcare Assistance Funds Needed 

We have a special request this week for one of our clients. Check out her story below and help if you can! Every dollar makes a difference. 

Support Jennifer

Jennifer (client's name has been changed for confidentiality) came into shelter with her two small boys. Her flight into the Friends of the Family shelter was a frantic and urgent one. The abuse she and her children experienced had been escalating over time, and she was becoming more and more worried about both her and her children's safety. One night, her abuser came home enraged and made the choice to strangle her. Strangulation is one of the biggest red flags we look for to determine if a case is high risk; if a person is willing to temporarily cut off another person's oxygen supply, it is a sign of high risk behavior and that they would be more likely to go even further and cause permanent injury or death. 

Jennifer does not want her two boys to grow up in a home where they are taught that it is okay to abuse women. She has overcome many obstacles and worked very hard to start a new life for herself and her children. She found a job and is finishing up her training and needs help with childcare for the next few weeks to get through her transition to self sufficiency. 

Jennifer is needing assistance with two more weeks of childcare while she finishes up her training. She has already overcome so much, and deserves this chance at a life free from violence and abuse for herself and her children. Childcare assistance is just one more barrier we are able to help Jennifer and her family overcome. 

As many of us know, childcare is one of the highest rising costs for any parent. When you think about victims of domestic violence, 98% of which are financially abused, the cost is increasingly hard to meet. Although this is Jennifer's story the barrier is something that many of our clients face and is a recurring need for the women and children that we serve. 

If you are able, please contribute to our Childcare Assistance Fund, and 100% of those dollars will be put toward our client's childcare needs. Thank you for supporting Jennifer and other mom's like her in their fight against domestic violence. 

Support Jennifer

You can read more about other barriers many victims face in our blog "Defining the Barriers Victims Face"

Domestic violence is never the victim's fault, even if they are currently staying in the relationship. If someone discloses abuse to you, please do two things – first, please don't judge them and make sure they know that the abuse is not their fault (yes, even if they are wanting to stay). Secondly, give them the DCFOF 24-hour crisis line number 800-572-4031

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#FaithForFreedom Kick-Off Success!

Posted on June 28, 2017

Last Thursday we shared laughs, stories, and agency goals with our Faithful Friends at the #FaithForFreedom Kick-Off Social. #FaithForFreedom is an interfaith campaign within the faith community of Denton County to support Denton County Friends of the Family through raising awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault and raising funds to support our programs.   

View the Photo Album

We started the social with a tour of the agency. It was a really great experience teaching our Faithful Friends more about the comprehensive services and programs (some of which they had not heard about at all!). We were able to give attendees more insight into what life is like for many of our clients. For example, we have multiple avenues for our clients to get little essentials here and there (food pantry where they can come once a week, donations sitting out in the waiting room for them to take, professional clothing, and children's books).  Due to financial abuse (where the abuser does not allow the victim access to money) many victims of domestic violence have a hard time making ends meet. Every penny counts, and these extra donations can go a long way. Unfortunately. about 98% of domestic violence victims are financially abused, which is one of the reasons we are proud to offer all victim services free of charge! 

After the tour, we spoke in more detail about the campaign. 

#FaithForFreedom has three goals. 

  1. To raise awareness of domestic violence in congregations across the county, and make our services known to any potential victims   

  2. To raise funds for the clients that we serve through special offerings in those congregations  

  3. To build a relationship of trust between the faith communities and our agency in order to know how to connect clients with a congregation of their faith and access to community resources  

Request the #FaithForFreedom Resources 

At the end of the day, our Faithful Friends were not decided by the amount of dollars that these congregations bring in or the number of item drives they host. Being a Faithful Friend means that they answered the call. They were called- by an agency that some of them had never met before- to help make our community a better place, and they made the choice to come and make a difference with us. Their open minds and willingness to lend a hand set them apart! 

View the Photo Album

Our Faithful Friends:

Bethel Temple Fellowship 
Christ Community Church 
Congregation Kol Ami 
Denton First Seventh-Day Adventist Church 
First United Methodist Church of Denton 
Horizon Unitarian Universalist Church 
Redeemer Church of Denton 
St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church 
Trinity Presbyterian Church of Flower Mound 
Valley Creek Church 
Venture Community Church 

Your congregation can become a Faithful Friend too! Join the #FaithForFreedom campaign and add your voice to the chorus of congregations that answered the call. 

Join the #FaithForFreedom Campaign

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Defining The Barriers Victims Face

Posted on June 22, 2017

From the outside looking in, the solution to escaping domestic violence can appear to be so simple. If you're not feeling safe and happy, then just leave, right? 

Wrong. Every story of domestic violence is different, but they have an important thing in common: it is never that simple. There are many barriers that victims face should they try to leave the relationship that may not be obvious to the people outside of the relationship. We will explore a few of those barriers in this blog, and we want to make sure that if you take anything from this at all, take this: 

Domestic violence is never the victim's fault, even if they are currently staying in the relationship. If someone discloses abuse to you, please do two things – first, please don't judge them and make sure they know that the abuse is not their fault (yes, even if they are wanting to stay). Secondly, give them the DCFOF 24-hour crisis line number 800-572-4031. Please do not tell them that they have to leave immediately or try to take control of the situation in any way, doing so may put them in more danger than you realize.

What are some of the barriers that victims face when they try to leave?  

(Note- this is not a comprehensive list. More barriers than this exist.) 

  1. Immediate Danger 

The most dangerous time in an abusive relationship is when the victim is attempting to leave. In fact, more than 75%* of victims killed by their abusive partners are killed as they are trying to leave or shortly after they have ended the relationship. The danger that goes along with attempting to leave is very real, and victims know it.

  1. Financial Abuse 

About 99%** of victims of domestic violence are financially abused. This means that the abuser has kept the victim from being able to maintain financial resources to survive on their own. Some examples could be:  not allowing the victim to hold a job, not allowing them access to a bank account, or intentionally ruining their credit (so they could not qualify for a loan or housing without the abuser). If the victim feels that they will not be able to financially support themselves and their children on their own, that can feel paralyzing and make it difficult to leave.

  1. Isolation 

If a victim is thinking about leaving the relationship, one of the first things to think about is where they will go. Abusers spend a lot of energy keeping the victim isolated from their friends and families with the intention of making them feel like they have no one else to turn to but the abuser. Abusers will not allow the victims to call friends and family, not let them out of the house to see them, and/or intentionally cause arguments and rifts between the victim and their support systems. The victim may feel like the support system they once had does not want to hear from them anymore and have a very hard time reaching out to anyone.

  1. Fear of Custody Battles 

A big reason that some victims choose to stay in an abusive relationship is fear of what will happen to their children if they leave. If there is no documentation of the abuse, then it can feel like one partner's word against the other and losing custody of your children to your abuser is a huge risk to take. When this fear is combined with other barriers, one can start to see the whole picture:  If someone has been financially abused, they may not get a good paying job right away, which means they could be living in a small apartment or shelter. It will be hard to make ends meet, which means they may not be able to buy their kids everything that they need. Due to the constant abuse they have suffered, they may have emotional trauma to work through and may not always seem emotionally stable. When this is compared to the abuser, who has the house, money, stable job, and everything else, who do you think would have a better chance at getting custody of the kids?  As unhealthy as the home may be, that may feel easier to deal with than the thought of losing your children. 

  1. Gaslighting 

Gaslighting, or "crazy-making," is a form of emotional abuse which literally makes the victim feel like they are mentally/emotionally unstable. It could start with something small, such as hiding a book that the victim is reading or moving a lamp to the other side of the room, and then making the victim out to be forgetful or wrong when they notice these types of changes. Batterers will tell victims that the lamp was always there, or that they never touched the book, and act like the victim is foolish for thinking otherwise. After a while of this, the victim literally starts to doubt their own sanity. It starts to feel like they are losing their mind and can't trust your own instincts about anything. The world feels unsteady and difficult to navigate. So when someone does not trust their own sanity, can they trust that the abuse they thought they were experiencing is real? Or were they just remembering it wrong, like with everything else?

  1. Love 

Break-ups are hard for anyone, no matter how dysfunctional the relationship. No matter how unhealthy the relationship became, at some point, they did love this person. It is even harder if they are married to the abuser and/or have children with them. No one wants to get a divorce or end a relationship that once made them happy, and that decision can be a very difficult one to make even when abuse is present. 

Do any of these things sound familiar?

If you or someone you know needs help, call our 24 hour crisis line at: 




*Domestic Abuse Shelter 

**Purple Purse Foundation

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Typical warning signs of abuse

1 in 4 women will experience intimate partner violence

404 clients were provided legal counsel in 2016