An Evening of Raised Awareness with Dr. Yamma Brown

Posted on January 16, 2018

Get ready for an evening of raised awareness at our Black History Month Kickoff Event!

We are hosting “An Evening of Raised Awareness with Dr. Yamma Brown”, on February 1st , from 7:00pm-8:30pm at the Patterson Appleton Arts Center. Dr. Yamma Brown is an author and daughter of James Brown, the Godfather of Soul. The evening will be an observance of Black History Month and will explore the history of domestic violence within the African American community.

Date: Thursday, February 1st 2018
Time: Volunteer Social: 7:00pm-8:30pm
Location: Patterson Appleton Arts Center/GDAC

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Dr. Brown had this to say about the upcoming awareness event, “It’s important for us to promote healthy relationships in our families and communities.  As a survivor of domestic violence, I am committed to continuing to raise awareness and to combat this global issue.  I am excited to partner with organizations like Denton County Friends of the Family that are committed to support victims and garner the community involvement to eradicate violence in our families.  We must be vigilant in making sure the next generation fosters respect for themselves and others.  We are stronger together.”

This event highlights one of our agency's unintentional best kept secrets- The Our Community Matters program at Denton County Friends of the Family. Statistically, African American women are 35% more likely to experience domestic violence than women of other races. The Our Community Matters program at Friends of the Family focuses on engaging the African American community and bringing increased awareness to the resources available for victims of domestic violence. Cassandra Berry, coordinator of the Our Community Matters program at Friends of the Family, said, “I’m looking forward to kicking off the observance of Black History Month with Dr. Yamma Brown. It’s extremely important for us to acknowledge and celebrate survivors of domestic violence. Dr. Brown is a survivor and her life experiences help keep at the forefront the need to support our agency in providing compassionate and comprehensive services to our clients. As we know the observance of Black History is not specific to only African Americans’ participation, it’s a part of everyone’s history. So we look forward to everyone from all cultures joining us in the celebration and the raising of our awareness.”

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Dr. Yamma Brown is the vice president of the James Brown Foundation and president and founder of Daughter of Soul Productions. She is the youngest daughter of Deidre Jenkins and James Brown. It is her life's mission to right the legacy and maintain the work of her late father. Dr. Yamma Brown is the author of Cold Sweat: My Father James Brown and Me. Being the child of a global superstar is never easy. Being the daughter of the Godfather of Soul- that's a category unto itself. Like every little girl, Yamma Brown wanted her father's attention, but fame, drugs, jail, and the complicated women in James Brown's life set a stage for an uncommon childhood. Cold Sweat is about how Yamma rose to meet every challenge. Dealing with a complex and famous father eventually took a backseat to coping with her own abusive and deceitful marriage. Cold Sweat is about how Yamma got caught in the same trap as her mother, doing things in her adult life that, as a child, she'd promised herself she'd never do. 

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Equip Yourself in 2018

Posted on January 3, 2018

How Can I Be Equipped in 2018? 

equip yourself in 2018- sexual and domestic violence

How you can be prepared, or prevent yourself from being a victim, is a question that is too common and frankly it is a problem. This concept is one that many people have read, been a part of, or are at least familiar with. Maybe you've taken the self defense classes highlighting how "not to be a victim", or ways to protect yourself. Which is great, we're not knocking self defense classes! Let's just think about this for a second- with this type of messaging the responsibility or burden for safety is put on the victim. This mentality is known as victim blaming. We would like to take a moment to clarify that no matter the circumstances the victim is not responsible for the actions of an abuser, and therefore this concept of prevention efforts for victims is misaligned.

Here's why- abuse is a choice. A choice the perpetrator or abuser makes. They make a choice to physically, emotionally, psychologically, or sexually harm the other person. Enabling behavior often echoes stories about how the abuser can't help it or something happened (whatever the story is) and that's why the abuser hurt the victim. At the end of the day abuse is not a cause and effect concept, it is a choice. Ask yourself this- why can someone go to a job they hate with coworkers they cannot stand and a demanding boss, and not harm their co-workers or boss, but then comes home and reacts completely differently around their partner? Because this is a choice they make. They actively choose not to hit their boss in the same way they actively choose to hit their partner.

So domestic violence 101 question of the day- what is the cause of abuse? Choice. Now, there are certainly variables that impact safety concerns or risks and our team of advocates are trained to help navigate these with victims/survivors. But at the end of the day blaming the victim in anyway is part of the problem not part of the solution.

How To Be Equipped

So that brings us to our tips on how YOU can equip yourself in 2018. Like we mentioned above, you can't necessarily equip yourself to not be a victim but you can equip yourself to be an advocate. So here's 2 of the top things you need to know this year in order to be an advocate for victims of sexual and domestic violence right here in Denton County. 

1. Don't Judge Her 

It is not your job to tell her what to do or try to understand the reasoning behind her decisions or actions. First of all, you can't make reason out of something that doesn't really make sense to begin with. To put it simply, someone that she loves is hurting her, that alone does not make sense. We often hear people asking why a woman doesn't just leave an abusive situation. There are many barriers to leaving. You can read a more comprehensive list of barriers to leaving an abusive relationship in this past blog post but for now let's just talk about one: her safety. The most dangerous time for a victim of violence is when she is trying to leave her abuser. The Honoring the Texas Victims report, distributed annually by the Texas Council on Family Violence, is one place we see this safety risk come to life. In 2016, 146 women were killed by their intimate partners. Many of these stories share this in common- "forty percent of women killed in 2016 had made attempts to end their relationships or were in the process of ending the relationship when they were murdered." As you can see there are extreme dynamics and safety risks within an abusive relationship. Keep this in mind and don't judge her when she is brave enough to come forward with her story. 

2. Connect Her With Friends of the Family 

At Friends of the Family our team of experts provide compassionate, comprehensive services to those impacted by rape, sexual abuse, and domestic violence, while partnering with the community to promote safety, hope, healing, justice, and prevention. If ANYONE, child or adult, is currently experiencing sexual and domestic violence or has experienced this in the past, we can be a resource! You can provide them with our 24-Crisis Line number, 800-572-4031. They can call this line anonymously and have questions answered or talk through some options with our team of trained crisis line professionals. In addition, someone can call our Outreach Office at 940-387-5131 to schedule an appointment in order to meet with one of our staff members and learn about the services available to them and their family. We are the sole provider of comprehensive services throughout the entire County of Denton. We are the local experts and can help connect your family, friends, neighbors and loved ones to the right resources to help them access safety. 

You may not understand all that goes on behind closed doors, but you can know how to help someone if they are brave enough to come and share those stories of fear, anxiety, and abuse.You are not there to tell them what to do, you are there to empathize and give them resources. Listen, don’t judge and direct them to our agency! This is how you can equip yourself to be an advocate in 2018. 

Our team at Denton County Friends of the Family is here for our community, ready to help victims/survivors access safety and navigate the road to hope. 

Contact Us 

What Services Are Available at Friends of the Family

At Friends of the Family we provide access to comprehensive services. More information about the type of services available can be accessed through our website under our Get Help section or by calling our Outreach Office at 940-387-5131. Services available include: 

  • Safety Planning 
  • Individual and Group Counseling 
  • Play Therapy for Children 
  • Activity Therapy for Adolescents
  • Emergency Shelter 
  • Legal Services
  • Advocacy 
  • Access to Crimes Victim Compensation 
  • Help Navigating the Legal System 
  • Food Pantry 
  • Education Programs
  • And more, based upon the needs of the client... 

Thank you for investing in safety, hope, healing, justice, and prevention for victims of sexual and domestic violence. 

Contact Us

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The Holiday Express Success!

Posted on December 13, 2017


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!


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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

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Typical warning signs of abuse

1 in 4 women will experience intimate partner violence

591 clients were served through legal services in 2017