How To Give Your #OOTD Purpose

Posted on August 6, 2019

Upscale Resale is more than just a thrift store. Here, clients and their families have the opportunity to shop for both personal and household needs. The store is also open to the community where you can find fantastic deals on exceptional clothing items, shoes, furniture, books, and more! Proceeds from the thrift store benefit our agency's extensive and comprehensive services making Upscale Resale your new go-to place. Check out these three looks below to see how you can recreate them with pieces found from our thrift store

For the 9 to 5

As a college intern, I need to look professional while adhering to a tight budget. This outfit is a great business look, that is light and comfortable for summer. The top goes well with a nice pair of jeans for casual Fridays, and the pants are lightweight and look great with a tucked-in solid t-shirt. These comfortable, navy heels dress up any outfit, and I can add a blazer if needed. Pair with a statement necklace to complete this look. 

Total Cost of Outfit: $11.00

For Casual Coffee

When I'm not at my internship, I'm often out for coffee with friends or walking around the square, and this outfit is great for that. The linen top can be worn buttoned down and tucked in, or tied in the front in a knot for a more nautical look. (Those navy heels work great in dressing up this outfit, or some nude sandals tie it all together as well!)
Shirt Cost: $3.75

For A Night Out

Sometimes it can be a toss-up between Pizza Snob or LSA Burger, but regardless of venue, this dress has been my favorite date-night outfit of the summer. I can dress it up with oxford style heels, or I can dress it down with some sandals and a ponytail. 'It's also great for layering with a cardigan for the office, or even leggings and ankle boots for fall. The Giving Key necklace is one of my favorite finds from Upscale Resale as well. These necklaces usually cost $45.00, but the thrift store sells all necklaces and bracelets for $3.50 each. It was a steal for me to find!

Dress: $6.00

Necklace: $3.50

Shoes: $4.00

When you buy from Upscale Resale — you're giving back to the community

 If you’re shopping for the upcoming school year on a budget, need affordable business clothing, or you’re looking for your next great crafting project Upscale Resale provides all of this and gives back to Friends of The Family and your Denton Community. It's incredibly affordable, deeply impactful, and my favorite place to go thrifting. All in all, the Upscale Resale is just another reason to love Denton County Friends of the Family and the work that they do for our community.

Written By: Reighley Baugh, DCFOF Volunteer Committee Member

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Dear Men: Enough is Enough

Posted on July 30, 2019

The article was written by Mark McDaniel, a long-time supporter of Denton County Friends of the Family and owner of Catering by Chef Mark. 

I just finished a weekend volunteering for Denton County Friends of the Family, and I have to say, I’m alarmed.  

I’m alarmed by the number of survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault there are in our community, but I’m in awe of their strength.

I’m alarmed at the frequency with which intimate partner violence occurs, but I’m in awe of the community of women who rally behind this cause.

Above all, I’m disturbed by the numbers.

Where is the outrage? 

Statistically, 1 in 4 women will become a victim of domestic violence in their lifetime, and 2 in 5 Texas women have been victims of sexual assault. To make matters worse, 19% of all domestic violence involves a weapon, and if there’s a gun in the house when domestic assault happens, the chance of homicide goes up by 500%. 
For crimes this prevalent, there should be outrage. But, there’s no national moment of silence for victims of intimate partner violence —no flags have flown at half-mast. Most people probably can’t tell you what the Domestic Violence Awareness ribbon color is (it’s purple, by the way). On the contrary, men in our society are more concerned with not severely impacting the lives of other young men (see, Brock Turner), or whether their favorite artist will put out another album (see, R. Kelly), or if they’ll still be able to serve in the highest offices of our nation (take your pick). We’re more concerned with the reputation of men than the livelihood of the people they’re abusing, and enough is enough. 

The numbers don’t lie

Every minute, 20 more people are physically abused by an intimate partner, equating to roughly 10 million women and men each year. So, to the men reading this: what are you doing to help do your part to end domestic violence? How are you creating awareness in your community, neighborhood, and even in your home? Because as sad as it is, we still live in a man’s world. We’ve never had a female president, and out of every Fortune 500 company, only 24 CEOs are women. We need to show the women in our lives that we care about them, regardless of their connection to us.

We need you to get involved

Fortunately, Denton County Friends of the Family makes it easy for everyday citizens to do the work. For men, specifically, there are several ways to get involved that leave a tremendous ripple effect in the lives of Clients the organization serves. Check out a few examples below:

  • Volunteer at the shelter: When children see men treating women properly, or interacting with them in a non-threatening way, you’re helping them to understand non-violent behavior. 
  • Be an ally: Avoid locker room talk and actively take a stand against men casually making jokes about marginalized groups of people; whether that’s in the office, at the bar, or in your home. If you see something, say something and don’t sweep it under the rug. 
  • Advocate for education at work: The Prevention, Education, and Awareness Program (PEAP) is designed to provide training on the issues for our broader community. If you’ve noticed that you’re workplace doesn’t have training on domestic violence, sexual harassment, or abuse propose that our PEAP team come out and facilitate training. You might be saving someone’s life in the process. 

It’s time

I admit that my eyes have opened in recent months, given my connection to Friends of the Family. But my ask of the men in this community is to stand up, ask questions, and do your part to affect change. Men, it’s time to start recognizing and standing with survivors, rather than ignoring a deadly issue for women. It’s time to start teaching our children and grandchildren what healthy relationships look like, and holding those accountable who don’t model this themselves. It’s time for men to step up and speak out against domestic violence, harassment, and sexual assault. 

So to the men reading this, are you ready to take a stand? 

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Denton County Friends of the Family Welcomes Two New Faces

Posted on July 25, 2019

Denton County Friends of the Family has welcomed two new faces to their small but MIGHTY Marketing and Development team! We are delighted to introduce Ximena Montemayor, our new Development Coordinator and Katie Jahangiri, our new Director of Marketing and Development.

Ximena earned her Bachelor's in Psychology and minor in Human Development and Family Studies in 2017 from the University of North Texas before pursuing and completing her Master’s in Public Administration this past May. During her time in college, she has served in various leadership roles and completed an internship with local nonprofit. Ximena grew up in Cedar Hill, Texas but quickly fell in love with Denton’s authenticity after moving here for college. She is very excited for the opportunity to stay in Denton and serve in a role that gives back to the community she has fallen in love with! In her free time she enjoys traveling, exploring places such as Japan, Peru, Colombia, and Costa Rica.

Katie has lived in the Denton Community for over six years. After graduating from the University of North Texas, she went on to pursue a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from Northeastern University. Katie brings extensive experience to the agency, having worked in both the private and nonprofit sector to build fundraising, training, marketing, and business development strategies. Above all, she is passionate about supporting women and children, and believes that she can use her unique talents to help end domestic violence in our community. 
As the Director of Marketing and Development, Katie will lead her team in building relationships across Denton County, promoting and safeguarding the Friends of the Family brand, and cross-collaborating across our agency to ensure the ongoing success of our programs and services.   

Welcome to the family Katie and Ximena! 

Interested in learning how your business or organization can give back to your community? Email

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Transitional Housing Provides Safe New Beginnings

Posted on July 17, 2019

Survivors of domestic violence often leave their entire lives behind to seek safety. Even worse, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence states that up to 99% of all domestic violence victims experience compounded economic abuse by their partner. At DCFOF, we know that economic abuse can take on many forms. For example, abusers often force the victim to quit their job or coerce them into non-consensual credit-related transactions that will negatively impact the victim’s credit. As a result of economic abuse, victims often feel forced to stay or return to their abusive situation.   

That’s where we come in.  

Friends of the Family’s Transitional Housing Program offers some relief to survivors of family violence by helping clients find a new safe home, as well as help furnish and provide basic household items. The Transitional Housing Program helps domestic violence victims create a safe place to heal and gain their independence. Since February 2018, Friend of the Family’s Transitional Housing Program has helped 193 clients — 66 families — find their safe new beginning. Below is Rhonda’s story; she and her children were one of the 66 families. 

When Rhonda entered our Transitional Housing program, she and her 3-year-old son were facing eviction from their home. She was pregnant with her second child, and she had been experiencing extreme physical, sexual, emotional, and financial abuse from her partner. Beyond that, the ongoing abuse had impacted her ability to maintain employment and stable housing for her and her son. Unfortunately, Rhonda wanted to finish school but was forced to put her plans on hold. The violence and instability she experienced at the hands of her abuser felt insurmountable. Eventually, the abuser was arrested for family violence, which only left Rhonda attempting to support herself and her child, as well as deal with a pending home eviction. Nevertheless, she was determined to survive and create a better life for her son and unborn child.   

Through the coordinated effort of multiple DCFOF departments, our Legal Team was able to get the eviction dismissed, and our Transitional Housing Team secured a new apartment for Rhonda and her son. Moreover, the Transitional Housing Program provided her with rental and utility assistance for six months to give her time to begin healing, earning an income, and provide care of her son. While in the Transitional Housing Program, Rhonda accessed counseling for herself, play therapy for her son, legal advocacy, case management, along with financial childcare and education assistance. Meanwhile, her advocate assisted her in working with law enforcement and the District Attorney’s Office as the abuser’s criminal case proceeded and helped her obtain a protective order against the abuser. At the same time, her advocate worked as a liaison between her and Child Protective Services to help her meet her goals and follow her safety plan. Our program staff had the exciting privilege to meet Rhonda’s new baby when she was born just a few months into our program. Staff and volunteers came together to provide needed baby items to help with the transition time for her as they became a family of three.   

Rhonda was determined to work hard and provide for herself and her two children. During her time with us, she obtained a full-time job, received a promotion, and became a trainer for new employees. Soon after, she was able to begin fulfilling her dream of going back to school, where she completed a certification program through the local community college. Rhonda even has plans to continue her education this fall. When she exited our program, she had increased her income and moved her family into an apartment in her name. Above all, Rhonda has made a new life for her family and worked hard to achieve her goals. Like many other survivors, Rhonda needed safe, accessible housing for her and her children, so that she could begin working on her goals and healing.  Thankfully, the Friends of the Family Transitional Housing program can provide those necessary resources, support, and love to those in need.  

Transitional Housing 101  

How You Can Help 

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Annual Partner: Julian Firm

Posted on July 12, 2019

Annual Partnership: The Julian Firm, P.C.

Jared Julian, Founder and President of The Julian Firm, P.C., has awarded Denton County Friends of the Family $5,000 as their Partner with a Purpose Annual Partnership. Mr. Julian is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Mr. Julian has been a licensed attorney in the State of Texas since 2001. The attorneys and paralegals at the Julian Firm, P.C. represent individuals going through difficult family law related matters including, divorce, child custody disputes, child support issues, alimony/spousal maintenance, modification of prior court orders and all other family law related matters.  

Mr. Julian is recognized as a Family Law expert in the State of Texas and he is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Less than one percent of all Texas law attorneys are board certified in Family Law. Mr. Julian is also rated as “Super Lawyer,” a distinction limited to 5 percent of all Texas attorneys. For over 15 years, Mr. Julian’s practice has focused on family law and has handled well over a thousand cases. He has handled extremely high net-worth divorces, highly contested custody disputes and C.P.S. termination cases, but also counsels his clients through more amicable cases often resolved through settlement. Mr. Julian is a highly sought-after mediator with a successful mediation resolution rate over 95%. 

“What we know is that the most dangerous time for a victim of domestic violence is as they are trying to end the relationship,” says Toni Johnson-Simpson DCFOF Executive Director. “It is so important to have professionals in the family law field that recognize signs of domestic violence and are actively working to support victims in their day to day lives. As a member of the DCFOF Board of Directors and our 2019 Partner with a Purpose, Jared Julian and his firm have taken a stand against domestic violence. As Denton County continues to expand, so does the need for our services. In the last year, we have seen a 50% increase in children served with play therapy, a 52% increase in clients needing advocacy services, and a 24% increase in new clients coming through our doors. It is more important than ever to have strong partnerships like the one with The Julian Firm, P.C. to continue to provide the quality and quantity of services to every person in need. I want to thank Mr. Julian and the staff of The Julian Firm, P.C. for their commitment to safety, hope, healing, justice, and prevention for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in our community.” 

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Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and the Trans Community

Posted on July 10, 2019

Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and the Trans Community

Beyond Pride Month

By: TH Housing Navigator, Victoria Schofield

As we continue our series regarding serving the LGBTQ community, this blog post focuses on gender identity and expression, and the intersections of domestic and sexual violence. It is important for service providers to know how to uplift, support, and celebrate individuals within the community. Gender identity and expression within the Trans community is fluid – from people who identify as the opposite gender than was assigned to them, to people who do not feel connected to any specific gender (non-binary). The community encompasses an array of experiences with gender, sex, and identity, which affects how individuals move through the world around them, and the unique intersections of their identity. 
The social and systemic discrimination often experienced by this community can be lethal. It would be a disservice to this community if one did not acknowledge the deaths of Trans women of color in the United States. In 2019, at least 10 confirmed Black Trans women have been murdered. According to the Dallas Police Department, at least 3 of those murders have occurred in Dallas. This lack of safety in public has a compounding effect when coupled with the threats transgender people experience in their personal lives. When one layers other identities such as race, ethnicity, or class, there is an increased proximity to violence. 
In order to contextualize this issue, one must discuss the nature of “passing.” Passing is a term for a Transgender person who successfully meets the societal criteria for the gender they identify as.  Some people who identify as Trans do not have access to resources to “pass,” and for others, they choose not to access those resources for personal reasons. For people who identify as non-binary or gender fluid, it can be more complex since their gender expression is not institutionally recognized. Trans people are punished for not meeting the strict standards of gender. Some people report experiencing violence when they are outed, based on claims that they “tricked” someone or “lied.” There are strict laws in several states for changing an individual’s legal paperwork to change their name or the gender assigned at birth, and this further complicates the process of acceptance of one’s gender. They might be called the incorrect name, labeled with incorrect pronouns, and experience others refusing to accept their identity. This can create legal complications, often resulting in Trans people having to out themselves to strangers in order to access resources. Validation and acceptance is important because it creates safety, personal well-being, and inclusion. 
The Trans community shares similar struggles to their LGBQ counterparts, although the manner in which it manifests and the results look very different. Housing and employment are two such examples. It is still legal in several states, including Texas, to fire a person because of their gender expression. Gender identity and expression are often left out of non-discrimination statements. Many people will be barred from employment in the first place, making financial stability difficult to achieve. As a result, it is common for people who are Trans to enter into sex work. Since sex work is so heavily criminalized, it often results in interactions with law enforcement, increasing the likelihood of a criminal record, further barring them from employment. Transgender people also face discrimination in regards to housing, which can be a result of their criminal record, the complication regarding their paperwork, or transphobia. 
There are several other compounding issues that could be entire blog posts in of themselves: Trans people and struggles with safe and adequate healthcare, their safety in the criminal justice system, or mental health. All of these issues can create a strain and result in compounding trauma when coupled with complex issues of DV and SA.  According to the 2015 United States Transgender Survey, 47% of transgender people are sexually assaulted during their lifetime. For Black Trans women, that number is higher, with 53% reporting experiencing SA. That same study reported that 20% of the transgender population who were incarcerated experienced SA at the hands of facility staff. Trans people are often put in prisons, jails, or juvenile detention centers that do not match their gender identity, which decreases their safety. SA is often used against Trans people as punishment for defying stereotypes of gender. It is meant to punish the person for their identity, as it is to exert power and control. The transgender community faces verbal harassment, including sexual harassment, specifically focused on their gender identity. 
A study by the Williams Institute found 30-50% of Trans people experience relationship violence in their lifetime. There are few healthy relationship models for this community to look to that are not based in traditional gender roles. The lack of conformity to these gender roles are used as an abuse tactic against Trans people.  Their identities and the relationship dynamics are used as a means to isolate them further from their support systems. Similar to their LGBQ counterparts, the Trans community faces obstacles to reporting and accessing services. Their gender identity will often be used to gaslight experiences with violence or delegitimize identity. The threat of being outed is present in these relationship dynamics, but there is often an increased risk of engagement with law enforcement that might deter someone from reporting DV in the first place. With Trans men, there is a pressure to conform to gendered stereotypes; many will feel pressured to “take it like a man” or to minimize the experiences of violence perpetuated against them. Because most DV and SA services are female-centered, it might be difficult finding affirming, safe resources or accessing shelter. Trans women will often receive messages that they “had it coming,” because of their identity. Many will face discrimination from staff, from other clients seeking services, or from the criminal justice system. 
There is always more to learn and ways to develop so that service providers are working to create safe and accessible services for all survivors. Below are some possible next steps. 
-Create an environment that normalizes asking for another’s pronouns or offering your own. Include them when you introduce yourself in meetings or to new staff. Include them on name tags or in staff directories. Consider the language you use to ask about pronouns, sex, and gender to staff and clients. Use inclusive language when talking about coworkers whose identities have not personally confirmed to you. 
-Be mindful of the environment of the workplace itself. Is gender identity and expression considered in your nondiscrimination statement?  When discussing professional attire, is it heavily gendered? Is there validation of all forms of gender expression? 
-Consider how your agency presents itself to the community. Have you created a space for Trans people to feel safe? Are the bathrooms gendered? Are the messages marketed by your agency heavily gendered? Look at your website, agency materials, social media accounts, and even the physical space of your office. Consider including staff pronouns in your public facing communication, such as business cards or in email signatures. Use statistical and research about the Trans community in your outreach and community education. 
-Encourage your staff to attend LGBTQ-specific training, including training on serving the transgender community. Find opportunities to collaborate with LGBTQ-focused or Trans-specific agencies in your service area, region, or state. Include discussions of gender dynamics, gender roles, and identity in staff trainings. 
-Ask yourself what language you use when asking a client about their sex, gender, pronouns, and name. Consider distinguishing the name they use and the name listed on their documentation. Ask open-ended questions about gender identity and pronouns and mirror the individual’s language. Acknowledge their identity and the compounding violence they have experienced. Acknowledge how they face specific obstacles to accessing safety and ask them if there are challenges they face you have not included in the case management. Be mindful of any referrals given to the client. 
-Be graceful when making mistakes. If you identify someone with the incorrect pronouns, correct yourself, apologize, and allow them to identify their feelings. Center the person and not yourself or your apology. Correct coworkers, other service providers, or anyone who interacts with the client if they misgender someone. 
-Speak out on violence perpetuated against the transgender community. Encourage community partners to work with you in eradicating transphobia. Include the Trans community and Trans activists in this work. Expand your recognition of this community all year round. 

If you or anyone you know is a survivor of Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault, our Crisis Line is available 24/7: 940-382-7273 | 800-572-4031 

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