The Holiday Express Success!

Posted on December 13, 2017

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The first year of The Holiday Express, one of Denton County Friends of the Family's signature events, was a resounding success! Over 350 people from all over Denton County flocked to the Patterson-Appleton Arts Center in Denton on the bright morning of December 2nd, with the event raising over $20,000

Families came in to the "North Pole" in their Christmas morning best (pajamas, character costumes, holiday sweaters and more!) and were transported to a winter wonderland. Santa and Mrs. Claus merrily took photos with families; brunch tables piled high with everything from pancakes and mimosas, to a DIY hot cocoa bar; a Christmas cookie decorating station; and fun kid-friendly activities like making reindeer hats and marshmallow catapults! Mom and Dad had some cheer waiting for them as well with an elaborately decorated silent auction. We are so grateful to all of the local businesses that came together to make the North Pole a ton of holiday fun: Eric Gilmore with DFW Photography, Wildhorse Grill, Hypnotic Donuts, Cartwrights Ranch House, Fossil Creek Liquor, Café Brazil, Starbucks, Emler Swim School, Exploreum Denton, and SCRAP Denton!  

After an exploration of the North Pole, families ventured over to the Holiday Express (AKA the A-Train). In partnership with DCTA, Friends of the Family decked out half a train car with holiday tinsel and stockings! Families jumped on board and were magically entertained by performers in association with Musical Theatre Denton. The ride was an interactive performance full of carols and holiday fun. When they all jumped off at the "Elf's Playland", they were greeted with a bounce house, playground, and more activities! 

We were very blessed to have State Senator Jane Nelson as our top "Rudolph Sponsor" of the Holiday Express! She had this to say: "When victims of domestic and sexual abuse have the assistance they need to heal, they go on to lead happy, healthy lives. I'm proud to support an organization that invests in victims’ healing by providing shelter, advocacy, counseling and intervention services for Denton County families. This safe, fun holiday fundraiser will become an annual tradition for my family." 

We would like to give a big jolly thanks our top sponsors of The Holiday Express: Senator Jane Nelson, Denton County Transit Authority, Blue Steele Solutions, Bali Mendels with Supreme Lending, Mrs. Sheila Haley, Market Street, Wallace Accounting and Advising, and Sean Kilgore, Attorney at Law and candidate for Judge in Denton County Criminal Court #2. 

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The North Pole

Posted on November 25, 2017

You've probably heard all about the Holiday Express train ride by now, but have you heard about all the excitement waiting at the North Pole?? Get ready for crafts, snacks, and Santa! 

Santa is coming to town on December 2nd! Bring your kiddos to the North Pole to get their picture taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus. BUT that's not the only photo you will take home that day. There will also be a photo booth full of fun and exciting props for you to make goofy poses with. Who knows, you may even want to take your pictures with your new reindeer hat on- which you will make in one of the North Pole activities! 

Grab some brunch with delicious breakfast food from Wildhorse Grill, Cartwright's Ranch House, and Hypnotic Donuts, and pair it with your DIY hot cocoa bar! Marshmallows, peppermint, chocolate- you choose and dress up your cocoa. While you take a seat and enjoy your breakfast of champions you will be entertained by live performers! Their holiday themed tunes performed on the stage at the North Pole will keep you in the holiday spirit all day long. 

But don't sit too long- you've got lots of activities to do at the North Pole! Take a walk outside to pet a "Reindeer", decorate your own Christmas cookies, create a holiday card, make a Santa beard to take a picture in at the photo booth, and even get your nose painted like Rudolph! Once you've made all of your crafts you will be set to kick off the holiday season! 

Mom and Dad- don't think we've forgotten you. Grab a mimosa on your way in to get your day started and spend your time perusing the silent auction! Items are family friendly and holiday themed, ranging from fun activities you can all do together, to holiday décor, to the perfect stocking stuffer for your kiddo. The North Pole will be buzzing with excitement, we hope to see you there! 

Tickets are live for the North Pole, and are only $15- get yours now!

GET TICKETS

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Introducing our new Director of Residential and Crisis Services- Taylor Cameron!

Posted on November 8, 2017

Introducing our brand new Director of Residential and Crisis Services, Taylor Cameron! 

Taylor graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Developmental and Family Studies from the University of North Texas and a Master of Science in Counseling and Development from Texas Woman’s University. She has worked in crisis intervention for the past 4 years, and is passionate about supporting individuals and families on their path towards healing. Prior to moving into leadership at Denton County Friends of the Family, she has worked within our agency as a counselor in the Battering Intervention and Prevention Program as well as the Children’s Advocate and Counselor for the Emergency Shelter. Now as the Director of Residential and Crisis Services, she oversees the operation of our Emergency Shelter, which includes advocacy services, children’s program, 24-hour crisis hotline, counseling services, and the management of the facility.  
 

An aspect of shelter that Taylor is proud of are the partnerships within the community that truly benefit DCFOF clients. Latterhouse Decor is currently working to redecorate our shelter, and create a beautiful living space for our residents. Another wonderful partnership that has recently developed has been with a local realtor and landlord, Tim Anderson, who is working to get our clients into safe and affordable housing.  

 

Taylor is excited to lead a team of staff members who are dedicated to holistically meeting residents' needs and creating an environment that is welcoming, safe, and full of hope for those seeking shelter. She is passionate about the shelter program working towards the agency’s mission to provide compassionate, comprehensive services to those impacted by rape, sexual abuse, and domestic violence, while partnering with our community to promote safety, hope, healing, justice, and prevention. 

  

Shelter Needs 

If you are interested in supporting our shelter, please consider donating needed client items. Immediate needs include: 

  • Professional and casual women's clothes 

  • Women's underwear 

  • Children’s leggings (size 6 and 7) 

  • Razors 

  • Deodorant 

  • Brushes 

  • Body wash 

  • Shampoo 

  • Conditioner 

  • African American haircare products 

  • Contact solution 

  • Toothpaste 

  • Adult and child closed toed shoes 

Learn more about shelter

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Thanksgiving Drive-Everything You Need To Know

Posted on November 1, 2017

It's Turkey Time!

It's almost time for turkey, stuffing, football and family so you know what that means- Thanksgiving!  

Denton County Friends of the Family has been working hard to provide Thanksgiving meals for over 600 clients who have been impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault, but we know that we can't do it without the incredible support of our community members. 

 "Thanksgiving is such a wonderful time of year for many people and we want to ensure that also stands true for our over 600 women and children who are counting on this drive", says Desiree Melkovitz, Community Relations Coordinator. "Supporting our clients during Thanksgiving is about more than food- it is providing that wonderful memory for their families. It is giving the moms and kiddos we serve, who have already been through so much, with the chance to relax and appreciate each other without having to worry about where they will get the supplies." 

"I have been overwhelmed at the compassion our community has shown in working towards this goal. Whether it is High School Honor Societies, Churches, Offices, Daycare Centers, or individuals who have donated they have all done it with the continuing refrain of, 'I love Thanksgiving and I'm glad that someone else will be able to experience it too!'" says Desiree.

But, don't worry because the work is never done! We are deep in the drive and as such, we have identified some of our greatest needs!

We are desperately needing the following:

  • $10 gift cards- we want our clients to be able to choose the protein of their choice for their holiday meal

For a full list of food items that are needed and to commit to supporting our drive register below: 

Register to Give 

If you have any questions, please reach out to our Community Resource Coordinator, Desiree Melkovitz, at DMelkovitz@dcfof.org

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The Power of Community: #DVAM with DCFOF

Posted on October 26, 2017

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month is coming to a close. Bev Gooden said, “I believe in the power of community. I believe there is strength within us as a collective.” Denton County Friends of the Family started as a domestic violence shelter in 1980. Domestic violence is the unfortunate reason for our agency’s existence, so bringing awareness to what we do and shining the light onto the darkness of this issue makes October that much more important for our community. Denton County is not exempt from the impact of such a prevalent crime. In fact, just released this week in the Texas Council on Family Violence’s “Honoring Texas Victims” report, there were three women killed in Denton County by their intimate partners last year. There were six in Collin County, thirteen in Tarrant County, and thirteen in Dallas County. Many people view domestic violence as a secretive issue, one that is personal, therefore not anyone’s concern but the person experiencing it. It is beliefs like these that make community involvement in Domestic Violence Awareness Month events even more important, necessary, and valuable. The purpose of the awareness events should always remain centered around three main goals – to mourn those who have died because of domestic violence, to celebrate those who have survived, and lastly to connect those who work to end violence.  

Denton County Friends of the Family hosted a Kick Off Event on October 6th on the Courthouse on the Lawn in Denton, which included a candlelight vigil to remember the Texas women killed at the hands of an intimate partner the previous year – 146 in 2016 – 35% wives of the men who murdered them, 32% were girlfriends murdered by their boyfriend, 18% were ex-girlfriends of their murderers, 12% were wives separated from the abuser who then murdered them, and 3% were ex-wives of the man who killed them. The Kick Off Event also included The Clothesline Project; According to their website, The Clothesline Project originated in Hyannis, Massachusetts in 1990 when members of Cape Cod's Women's Defense Agenda learned that during the same time 58,000 soldiers were killed in the Vietnam War, 51,000 U.S. women were killed by the men who claimed to love them. The Clothesline is made up of t-shirts created by survivors of violence, or created in honor of someone who has experienced violence. It is a powerful witness of the violence many in which many live. The Clothesline Project provides evidence that incest, domestic violence, and sexual violence exists in our communities. It is a visual reminder of statistics that we often ignore. It gives a voice to those who have been forcibly silenced. Hopefully, it stirs us to action. A public must be informed about violence in order to act to prevent it. Most importantly, this project provides survivors with a venue to courageously break the silence and make us aware. This Clothesline Project is a tribute to them.

The agency also had its annual Rock N Stroll awareness concert at Denton’s Harvest House, which partners with local bands to raise awareness about domestic violence and notify people of Denton County Friends of the Family’s services in the community. Rock N Stroll has grown over the years through relationships with the amazing folks at Musicians Hub who connected us to the bands Remain and Puddin Taine (which this year linked us to In Spite of Madness). These bands believe in the mission of DCFOF and are not afraid to say so publicly. They kindly and generously donate their time and talent in order to make this issue more salient in the eyes of Denton County residents.

There were also many amazing groups and churches that hosted us and partnered with us this month to bring awareness to their specific communities – St. James AME Church, University of North Texas’ Football Team, Newton Rayzor Elementary School, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, SAFRAN, Morse Street Baptist Church, Flower Mound High School, Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, Town of Lakewood Village, North Central Texas College Corinth Campus, Little Elm Zellars Alternative School, McNair Elementary School, St. Andrew’s Church of God in Christ, Flower Mound Elementary School, Denton Feminist and Queer Collective, Flower Mound Police Department, Aubrey Police Department Block Party, Legacy Salon in Keller, Good Samaritan Society – Lake Forest Village, Antioch Christian Fellowship Church, The Village Church, and Lamda Theta Chi of UNT.

Domestic violence is never just about those experiencing it or witnessing it. It is about all of us. It takes all of us to make a difference. This is a community issue. We must stand together in solidarity for those being hurt to show that we will not accept or tolerate violence in this community.

Guest Author:

Hillarye Hightower

Director of Prevention, Community Education, and Awareness Program

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Welcome Dr. Nicole Roberts!

Posted on October 19, 2017

We are very excited to introduce our new Executive Program Director, Dr. Nicole Roberts!  

Dr. Roberts is licensed psychologist with a PhD in Counseling Psychology from New Mexico State, with a passion for the work that we do at Denton County Friends of the Family (DCFOF). We wanted to give you a little more insight into Dr. Roberts and the work she's doing here at DCFOF. So, here’s what Dr. Roberts had to say:   

"My FIRST job out of grad school was Director of Adult Counseling at DCFOF in 2003. I left about 3 years later to be Clinical Director at a community counseling center. I came back to DCFOF as Executive Program Director in 2007 until I had my twin boys. In the interim, I have worked at Hope’s Door, private practice, and at a behavioral hospital. I’m so happy to be back (again!). Most days it feels like I never left!" 

As the Executive Program Director Dr. Roberts supervises 30 staff in 5 program areas -  Adult & Child/Adolescent Counseling, Advocacy, Transitional Housing, and Shelter. She has already made an impact creating increased efficiency in numerous program areas.  Her credentials and experience are impressive, but it is her passion to help victims in our community that continues to fuel her career in this field. Her vision for the future of the programs she supervises is for them to be "responsive to the needs of our clients and to be an outstanding community partner in the fight for safety and healing from domestic violence and sexual assault." 

"In all walks of life, people are affected by domestic violence and sexual assault, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not", she says. "The impact we can make - awareness, advocacy, intervention - creates a better world for all of us. The ability to affect so many lives in a positive way each day is what continues to draw me back to this work." 

Dr. Roberts was our guest on the last Talks with Toni! Check it out-

Learn more about our programs here

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