• 40 Stories for 40 Years: Texas Women's Foundation

    by Emily Roberts | Dec 19, 2018

    In November 2018 the Dallas Women’s Foundation became the Texas Women’s Foundation. The name change reflects the foundation’s position that the future workforce and future economy in Texas depend upon investing in solutions that address the root causes of women's economic insecurity—and reverse them. This transformation honors the foundation’s 33 years as a leader in advocating for social and economic change for women and girls in Texas.

    Since its inception, the foundation has been an important supporter of the growth of programs at The Family Place. Our earliest gift from the foundation came in 1986, and our most recent arrived last month. In all, the Texas Women’s Foundation and its grantors have provided over $1 million for our capital and program needs.

    Join us in thanking the Texas Women’s Foundation for its effort to strengthen the economic security and change the trajectory of thousands of  women and girls from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic communities. We share the foundation’s goal to ensure that Texas women, girls and families have the knowledge, financial and occupational resources to move from surviving to thriving!

  • 40 Stories for 40 Years: Junior League of Dallas

    by Emily Roberts | Dec 12, 2018

    The Family Place’s relationship with the Junior League of Dallas (JLD) dates back to our earliest days and a grant that helped us hire our first executive director, Gail Griswold, in 1978. Since that time, JLD has granted us nearly $800,000 and more than 25,000 volunteer hours.

    “Junior League of Dallas volunteers are essential to our programs, and we’re grateful for the many years of support,” said The Family Place CEO Paige Flink. “They have been there for us at every important step in our growth.”

    Current JLD President Alicia Hall said that The Family Place has also made a difference in the lives of the organization’s members.

    “Volunteering can truly be life-changing for our members,” Alicia said. “Recently a member shared a story about her time at The Family Place that illustrated how powerful the relationship can be. Through the volunteer training she received, she began to understand what domestic violence looked like and realized that she was a victim.”

    Through our volunteer training, the member also knew the steps to take to stay safe and make changes.

    Over the years, Alicia said, The Family Place has provided flexible volunteer positions for the JLD’s growing membership, accommodating the need for flexible, nighttime and weekend hours.

    “Our relationship with The Family Place has stood the test of time,” she said. “Most importantly our members feel like they are making an impact, and that’s what keeps them engaged.”

    Junior League of Dallas Provisionals learned about the work of The Family Place on their 2018 Community Bus Tour.

  • 40 Stories for 40 Years: Patty Jones

    by Emily Roberts | Dec 07, 2018

    In 1986 Patty married a man that she had no idea was an abuser. After their marriage, he began to hit her in the head and body, but only where bruises would not be visible. Then he slammed a car door on her face, shattering the bones in her jaw, which required her jaw to be wired shut for six months.

    After becoming pregnant, the abuse got worse. He often kicked her in her stomach, eventually leading to premature labor and the loss of her baby. The trauma led to a stroke and severely affected her eyesight. She received five blood transfusions and was in a coma for two months. Doctors told her family on two occasions that she would not survive, but her mother never accepted this and begged the doctors to do all that they could. When Patty came out of the coma, she needed two months of intense rehab to learn to walk, read and talk again. The abuse left her with epilepsy and occasional blindness where she loses her vison for up to 15 minutes at time. But with the love and support of her family, she recovered.

    Patty’s family knew that she needed counseling, and her sister found The Family Place. Through counseling, Patty was equipped with the tools to understand what she had been through and learned that she was not to blame for the abuse she suffered.

    In 2006 Patty wanted to give back to the organization that she said had given her so much. She became a volunteer at our Battering Intervention and Prevention Program office, performing clerical duties and sharing her story of abuse and recovery. In 2013 she became a full-time administrative assistant at The Family Place.

    “I am so proud to be a member of The Family Place family,” Patty says. “It is important for me to set a warm and open tone for our clients so that they know we are here to serve them and help them overcome abusive situations. The most wonderful moments working here come when I see the smiles on our clients faces after receiving the services they need.”

    With help from The Family Place, Patty has built a full life following her abuse. She remarried and has been with her husband for 24 years. She has an adult son and grandchildren. She is also a motivational speaker and life coach, and has a website called You Know Me because she knows there is a “me” in many families.

  • 40Stories for 40 Years: Gloria Aleman

    by TFP User 1 | Dec 05, 2018

    At each of our shelters or counseling centers there is a friendly face greeting clients, donors and staff as they come in the door. At Ann Moody Place, that person is Gloria Aleman.

    Gloria started at The Family Place in 2002 as an administrative assistant. After a few years, the receptionist position opened and she moved into that role. Through her time at The Family Place, she has seen firsthand how the agency has grown and how many lives have been touched.

    “I am amazed by the generous donors who give their time and resources so that we can provide services for anyone that has been through domestic violence,” Gloria says. “I believe The Family Place’s mission to end the cycle of violence lives here and grows with the faithful support of the community. I am honored to help the people of the community that come through our doors.”

  • 40 Stories for 40 Years: Myrna Mata

    by Emily Roberts | Nov 29, 2018

    When Myrna came to The Family Place in the spring of 2016, she says she and her three children were trapped in a toxic cycle of abuse.

    “Not only did the counselors at The Family Place help me get out of my situation, but also they helped me grow as a person,” she says. “With the counseling I received, I have became stronger and can make better decisions. The Family Place helped me see and focus on the things that once were impossible.”

    With guidance from The Family Place, Myrna received a scholarship to get her Real Estate license and is now involved in Toastmasters. She has learned to speak about the struggles she went through and the strength she and her family have found.

    “I wish every woman or man that is going through a tough time like we once did could get the help we got at The Family Place,” she says. “I wish I could change the way I came to The Family Place, but I will forever be a strong and valuable person thanks to the people there who helped me.”

  • 40 Stories for 40 Years: Meshelle Osborn

    by Emily Roberts | Nov 26, 2018

    Throughout her life, Meshelle experienced numerous unhealthy relationships. She felt like it was the norm to fight and defend herself, and each abusive encounter ended in hurt, pain and even self-destructive behavior.

    After having her first child, her partner started psychologically abusing her. What could have been a joyful start of a new family turned into a frightening family dynamic. All of her children were witnesses to the family violence, which eventually led to a CPS investigation. Meshelle was willing to do anything to help her family, so she sought counseling at The Family Place. 

    “The thought of losing my children brought out a strength that I didn’t know was in me,” she says. “My life had spiraled out of control, but The Family Place taught me to see the unhealthy parts of my relationship, learn to protect myself, and to heal in many areas of my life.”

    Meshelle is no longer a victim of family violence but a strong survivor and advocate. She says she is now able to lead her family in the way God intended her to, and she serves on The Family Place’s Ladies of Leadership.

    “I'm proud to say that I'm here today because of The Family Place, “ Meshelle says. “I still have miles to go on this journey, but I now understand that I to deserve to live and enjoy my life.”

  • 40 Stories for 40 Years: Laura Wetselline

    by Emily Roberts | Nov 16, 2018

    Laura is a survivor of both domestic violence and human trafficking. For five years she was abused psychologically and physically while being sold for sex, and she says she lost all sense of worth.

    In December of 2014 the Frisco Police Department responded to a domestic violence call at the apartment where she was living with her abuser. The officers rescued Laura and her two children and brought them to The Family Place where she and her children received counseling for the trauma they had experienced.

    Laura says at that point in her life she didn’t know how to truly live, only how to survive. She felt hopeless and defeated. Laura began individual counseling, received Section 8 housing and other available resources so that she could rebuild her life. Today, she has regained her sense of worth and knows that her life is priceless.

    Laura is now active in The Family Place’s leadership program, a member of Partners Auxiliary and a manager at Tom Thumb. She surrounds herself with strong, successful women because she believes the people around her influence who she is.

    “Today I have a life beyond my wildest dreams,” Laura says. “I didn’t do this by myself, God transformed me. Don’t ever let your past destroy your future. It’s your life. You have the power to change yourself and your future.

  • 40 Stories for 40 Years: Margie Heilbronner

    by Emily Roberts | Nov 13, 2018

    Margie Heilbronner started working at The Family Place in January 2003 as an adult case manager. About a year ago, she became a resident advocate for men in our emergency shelter services. The job was familiar to her since she had worked with the men in the military in California prior to coming to The Family Place.

    “That was my first exposure to male victims,” she said. “I learned that it took a lot of courage to get help when you’re a male victim. It’s really something to have a young marine come to your office because he couldn’t tell his sergeant that his wife had put a knife to his throat.”

    When The Family Place opened a men’s shelter in 2017, it was the first in the state. Since that time, Margie said she has seen a lot of amazing dads. One of the first shelter residents was the father of two girls, a 17 year old and a nine year old, who had cerebral palsy. He had been the sole caregiver for the younger child, who used a wheelchair and had severe allergies—all while working in IT for Verizon.

    When they came to the shelter, he had to prepare all of her meals because of her allergies. She also suffered from debilitating seizures, but his wife did not believe in medical care. This was a constant source of conflict for them, Margie said. While at our shelter, he was able to get his daughter on medication that controlled her seizures.

    Like so many female victims we see, his abuser not only physically abused him but also controlled him and isolated him from friends and family. Seeing his children suffer was a strong motivation to leave. While at our men’s shelter, he reconnected with his family and eventually was able to move to Florida where his mother lived. He has since found a school to accommodate his younger daughter’s special needs, and his older daughter tested out of high school and is attending Florida State.

    “He was a dedicated dad,” Margie said. “It really impressed me that he was able to do his work and take such good care of both daughters while healing and moving beyond his victimization. “It’s hard for people to understand that men are victims, too. Female abusers use power and control the same way male abusers do.”

    Margie said her favorite part of her job is being a voice for male victims who need services.

    “I enjoy being able to advocate for them—in the office, in the courts and in the community,” she said.

  • 40 Stories for 40 Years: Robin & Norm Bagwell

    by Emily Roberts | Oct 25, 2018

    Bank of Texas has been a supporter of The Family Place Partners Card for 10 years, but Bank of Texas Chairman and CEO Norm Bagwell and his wife, Robin, have followed the work of The Family Place for nearly 20 years.

    “It is a tremendous organization,” Norm says. “A true difference maker in our community. In another time, family violence was a tough topic to fully understand. It was a troubling issue, and people in general struggled with how to talk about it and even worse what to do about it. The relentless advocacy of The Family Place helped bring this problem out of the dark and into mainstream discussion. I think The Family Place changed the conversation, increased public awareness and acceptance, and offered help and hope to those impacted.”

    Norm says Partners Card has been an incredible partnership for Bank of Texas. Over the years the relationship has grown into a multifaceted one where Bank of Texas provides the agency with advocacy, facility support, banking, and volunteers if needed.

    “This has become one of our most impactful relationships, and we are proud to partner with The Family Place,” he says.

    Norm and Robin are also dedicated users of Partners Card and mark the week on their calendar every year without exception—even the year Robin gave Norm a kidney.

    “I was only in the hospital a couple of nights,” Robin says. “Norm’s stay was longer, and he was released on our anniversary, November 4th.  On the way home from the hospital, he and my dad stopped at Bachendorf’s to pick up an anniversary present. They couldn’t believe Norm was stopping on his way home from the hospital and asked why he didn’t get the present ahead of time, especially since this was a planned surgery. The answer was simple—it wasn’t during Partners Card!”

    Join us in thanking Norm and Robin Bagwell and Bank of Texas for their commitment to Partners Card and The Family Place.

  • 40 Stories for 40 Years: The Crystal Charity Ball

    by Emily Roberts | Oct 17, 2018

    The Crystal Charity Ball has supported the mission of The Family Place by providing transformational funding at three critical junctures of our growth. In 1986 we received support for our Children’s Therapeutic Program, in 2010 for Faith and Liberty’s Place, and in 2016 to name the Children’s Counseling Center at Ann Moody Place. The three gifts total $2,148,450 and have had an enormous impact on the safety and well being of thousands of children.

    “Being able to be in on the ground floor of Ann Moody Place was a huge privilege,” says Claire Emanuelson, current chairman of The Crystal Charity Ball. “Our donors have great respect for The Family Place and were very supportive of the capital campaign to fund the Children’s Counseling Center. Our beneficiaries must serve children in Dallas, and our investments must be used specifically to benefit youth under the age of 18,” she explains.

    Over the years many members of The Crystal Charity Ball have served in leadership roles at The Family Place. Claire is an excellent example. She serves on The Family Place Foundation board of directors, is a lifetime member of The Family Place Partners, and she and her husband, Dwight, a previous board member of The Family Place, helped launch our ReuNight fundraiser in 2013.

    “Dwight and I got introduced to The Family Place many years ago through Pepsi KidAround and then Palm Night,” Claire says. “We were incredibly impressed with Paige’s leadership and vision for the growth of the organization. We ended up chairing Palm Night and then helped Paige launch ReuNight. Paige is dynamic in sharing her deep passion for The Family Place and has cultivated loyal relationships in the Dallas community and beyond.”

  • 40 Stories for 40 Years: Lizbeth Cooley

    by Emily Roberts | Oct 10, 2018

    Lizbeth Cooley came to the United States to get her master’s degree after receiving her bachelor’s degree in Computer Science in her home country of Venezuela. She fell in love with the United States, and also fell in love with a man named Robert. His charming personality and beautiful blue eyes caught her attention and her heart.

    Before they married in 2002, Lizbeth noticed he was a little controlling, but she thought she could handle it. After six months of marriage, arguments started. Lizbeth’s parents had been married for 47 years before her dad passed away, so she never considered divorce an option. Instead she focused on trying to make the marriage work. As time passed Robert gained power over her, to the point that she didn’t feel like herself and began isolating herself to avoid confrontations with him.

    After two years of marriage Lizbeth wanted to have a child and hoped that a baby would help. After trying to get pregnant and failing she started seeing doctors, but nothing was working. Lizbeth began saving money to pay for in vitro fertilization treatments. During this time her husband and his mother told her she wasn’t getting pregnant because she didn’t deserve to be a mom. She begged for one last treatment and, though she didn’t consider herself to be religious, started praying for a miracle baby. After eight years, Lizbeth finally got pregnant with a baby girl.

    Having a baby brought joy back to Lizbeth’s life, but unfortunately it did not help her marriage. There were new arguments about the baby disrupting her husband’s sleep, or Lizbeth not doing more around the house. He started smoking again, drinking more and coming home late. That’s when the abuse turned physical.

    In September of 2016 Lizbeth received a text message from a woman who said she was having an affair with her husband. Although she didn’t directly confront him about it, she did question his faithfulness to their marriage when he refused to let her borrow his cell phone one day. He then tried to strangle her in front of their four-year-old daughter.

    “He had me held by my neck against the wall, then he put me on the floor, holding me by my neck with one hand with his other hand in a fist saying he was going to break my face. I could hear my daughter screaming in the background saying, ‘No, Daddy, no!’ As soon as he released me, I got up, grabbed my daughter’s hand, and ran through the back door to the neighbor to call the police.”

    After the incident, Child Protective Services referred Lizbeth to The Family Place where she and her daughter began counseling. Her daughter had been afraid of everything from loud noises to using the bathroom by herself because she thought her father might be hiding there, but counseling helped her overcome these fears.

    “This organization helped me get back on my feet after a difficult situation that destroyed me emotionally. Everything I endured brought me closer to God, and now I believe in Him,” she says. “I want to thank the Family Place for staying with me and giving me support through this entire difficult journey.”

  • 40 Stories for 40 Years: Tamica Battie

    by Emily Roberts | Oct 02, 2018

    Tamica Battie grew up the oldest of three sisters and a brother. Like so many of our clients, throughout her childhood, she watched her mother go through many abusive relationships. Her mom suffered from both mental illness and substance abuse, so Tamica, her sisters and brother were shuffled in and out of foster care and stayed with various family members. When she was only 12, Tamica was left by herself to care for her siblings, who were all under age 10. She experienced sexual assault for many years, victimized by those close to her, but she never received help.

    As a teenager Tamica longed to be loved, so she began to look for that in men. At 17 she had her first run-in with the law, was charged as an adult, put on probation, and kicked out of DISD. She became depressed and tried to commit suicide, writing a note and taking a bottle of Tylenol. When she woke up, she decided to move in with a 27-year-old man.

    Still Tamica was determined to finish high school. She started online classes but was moving from one bad relationship to another. She had her first child in 2004. A few years later, she was introduced to The Family Place after an altercation with her boyfriend. Working to move forward, she continued her studies at El Centro College and Cedar Valley College.

    In 2012 Tamica married an abuser, thinking he had changed. After six months, the abuse began again, and she knew she had to get out of the relationship for the sake of her children. She came back to The Family Place for counseling, filed for divorce, and started her own janitorial service. Her business grew to serve many clients, including Parkland Hospital.

    Tamica says counseling at The Family Place helped her heal from the inside out and gave her the tools she needed to become victorious over abuse. She is now a strong advocate for victims of domestic violence. The Illustrious Angels of Faith have honored her as Survivor of the Year. She is a member of Toastmasters and is continuing her education at Paul Quinn college studying Business Administration and Fundraising and Philanthropy.

    In the future, Tamica hopes to start a nonprofit to help those suffering from domestic violence, homelessness and mental illness. She likes to say, “When you learn to dance in the rain, no storm can rain on your parade!”

  • 40 Stories for 40 Years: SPCA of Texas

    by Emily Roberts | Sep 21, 2018

    Barking and meowing are not noises you would expect to hear when walking through a shelter for victims of domestic violence, however, you hear them at Ann Moody Place. Thanks to a partnership with the SPCA of Texas, our clients have a place to house their beloved animals. For many victims, this can be a deciding factor to leave a violent home.

    According to the National LINK Coalition, researchers have found correlations between animal abuse, domestic violence and other forms of violence. Animal abuse is often an indicator or warning sign that other family members in the household may be in danger. Nationally, about 71% of pet owners entering domestic violence shelters report that their abuser had threatened, injured or killed family pets as well, and 55% of victims report that their pets are important sources of emotional support. National statistics show that 25% to 40% of domestic violence victims are unable to escape their abusers because they worry about what will happen to their pets if they leave.

    Feedback from our clients brought heightened attention to the need for this service, which led to an exciting partnership between the SPCA of Texas and The Family Place.

    “The SPCA of Texas is always eager to partner with other organizations to promote keeping pets with their people,” says Maura Davies, Vice President for Communications for the SPCA of Texas. “When we learned of the opportunity to partner with The Family Place to build these pet kennels, we were thrilled to help keep pets and victims of domestic violence together in a safe environment where they can best emotionally support each other and begin the healing process. We want to help stop the violence that often affects multiple family members.”


  • 40 Stories for 40 Years: Mike Gayler

    by TFP User 1 | Aug 30, 2018

    In 1988 Mike Gayler met The Family Place’s Executive Director Diane McGauley through a coworker at Coopers & Lybrand, Tom Eschenbrenner, who was a board member of The Family Place. Mike started volunteering and soon became a part of a team that opened our first Resale Shop.

    “At the time, The Family Place was receiving more donations of clothing and furniture than we could use,” Mike says. “We didn’t have the space to store it, so we gave some of the donations to other organizations to sell in their thrift stores. But we desperately needed the money since donations were scarce, and we also wanted a place for our families to shop since many left their homes with only the clothes they were wearing.”

    A team of volunteers, including Mike, attorney Holly Farabee, and The Container Store founder Garrett Boone, among others, initially raised seed capital for the store by having a huge garage sale.

    “One hot summer day just before the garage sale, the owner of a big home in Highland Park donated a large number of items including furniture, art and clothes. We rented a box truck and enlisted a fraternity at SMU to help us move,” Mike says.

    When the fraternity guys didn’t show up, Mike and three women volunteers, in dresses, loaded that truck over the next four hours, finishing the job and ultimately enabling the garage sale to raise enough money to open the store.

    “Our goal for the first year was to raise $25,000,” Mike says. “We met our goal in the first month we were open.”

    Last year The Family Place opened a second Resale Boutique in McKinney, and our two thrift stores now raise significant funds for the organization and provide vouchers to nearly 500 families each year who received clothing and furniture to start new lives free from violence.

    Mike, now a Consulting Partner with the full service public accounting firm of Montgomery Coscia Greilich LLP, also helped start Helping Hands for the Family Place, our first young professionals organization.

    “My initial role was volunteer coordinator, which our then-president, Paige Flink, described as an ‘easy job.’ A few weeks after accepting the role, The Family Place became the beneficiary of the Hoop It Up three-on-three basketball tournament, and I was charged with getting 1,500 people to volunteer over the three-day period. Those were the fun days!” he says.

    Mike stayed involved with The Family Place for many years serving in various roles including treasurer of the board of directors and helping open our Metrocrest Outreach Center.

    “I loved our mission and working with the volunteers,” he says, “including Paige Flink, Peter Weinstock, July Boles, Sue Stabor, Cary Tassopolas and so many others.”

  • 40 Stories for 40 Years: Ms. Barbara, aka “Grandma”

    by Emily Roberts | Aug 23, 2018

    Since 2010 there has been one constant friendly face in the nursery at The Family Place Safe Campus. This is Ms. Barbara, aka Grandma. Her loving demeanor with kids, specifically babies, has earned her this deserving nickname.

    “I started volunteering in the baby room at the Child Development Center. It’s the best room,” Barbara says.

    This is not Barbara’s first time working with kids. She was a pediatric nurse for over 20 years and ran an in-home daycare for 14 years.

    “Children are my passion and my heart,” she says. “They give me a reason to get up. My favorite part about working with these babies is watching them grow, and seeing how they change. You never know what they’ve been through, or why they might be acting a certain way. You have to remember what they might have seen. My favorite part is just watching them and trying to make a difference.”

    “I had this one little boy I fell in love with, Matthew. I still hope I’ll run into him someday. He was absolutely my baby,” she says. “His mom was pregnant when they came in, and he was only one when she had another child. He had a lot of anger problems.”

    We’re thankful that Barbara plans to continue volunteering with the babies in the nursery as the caring grandmother figure to little ones who need her love. Volunteers like her make it possible for clients to attend counseling, train for better jobs, and rebuild their lives, knowing their children are surrounded by love.

  • 40 Stories for 40 Years: Natalie Jones

    by Emily Roberts | Aug 16, 2018

    Natalie Jones had a good life, but when she became pregnant in 2009 things changed. She was laid off from her job, lost her car, was in the process of losing her home and her credit. On top of that, she started having problems with the father of her children when she found out that he was engaged to another woman. He and his fiancé would even write her letters telling her that she should end her life and the lives of her unborn twins.

    After Natalie’s girls were born she forgave their father and gave him a chance to be a part of their lives. However, he began verbally abusing her and controlling all that she did.

    “I was told I wasn’t good enough, I needed to make this or that change, and that my clothes were wrong. He even went as far as to criticize how I mothered my babies—nothing was up to his standards. He played mind-control games and used harsh words and extremely loud tones to intimidate me and my babies. From the time I knew I was pregnant in 2009 throughout 2010, I was reduced to a puppet, and he was the puppeteer.”

    Although the abuse was never physical, Natalie’s mother encouraged her to come to The Family Place to meet with a counselor. She shared her story and enrolled that day.

    “Each week I was with other ladies, young and old, of all races and socio-economic backgrounds, who’d experienced much more trauma than me. However, we all had the same common denominator—the perpetrator wanted control of us and he/she used words and body language to beat us down.”

    Natalie says she didn’t realize how beaten down she was until she saw others going through similar situations. She eventually found her voice and became a survivor and now an advocate.

    “I want everyone to know that it’s not just hitting someone that makes it domestic violence. Demeaning words, foul body language, questions of your integrity and character, non-support and withholding financial support that are done to manipulate, control, dominate and intimidate you are all types of domestic violence, too. Domestic violence can be mental, emotional, physical, financial, spiritual and sexual.”

    Natalie picked up the pieces of her life. She became a licensed CPR trainer, is a Meals on Wheels vendor and is currently working on a dealership/title service. She is a member of Toastmasters and is the resident pastor of Zoë Church in Hutchins, TX serving under her mom, Dr. Brenda Jones. Her twins are now eight years old, and she even educates them about domestic violence so they will not become victims.

  • 40 Stories for 40 Years: Eddie Coker

    by Emily Roberts | Aug 06, 2018

    Eddie Coker was an opera singer when Pepsi KidAround started in 1992. But he had written three children’s songs and pitched Pepsi KidAround organizer Paige Flink, then Director of Community Education for The Family Place, on being a part of the show.

    “That first year was the shortest children’s concert ever,” Coker says. “But by the next year, I had come out with my first children’s album, and the rest is history.”

    Coker credits Pepsi KidAround for sparking a change in his career at the same time it increased awareness of The Family Place. The signature event, held Labor Day weekend until 2005, brought musicians, puppeteers, storytellers and fun activities together to entertain families. So many of The Family Place’s supporters grew up with the event, bringing their small children, who are now college grads with fond memories of listening to Coker.

    “It was so much fun to be given the opportunity,” Coker says. “I had no clue how to be a performer for children other than to be an idiot. I remember being there and singing my song “Becky,” kind of an ode to Johnny Cash’s “A Boy Named Sue” about an alligator named Becky. I got a dad up on stage to play the alligator, and everyone loved it. I realized people like to participate! Pepsi KidAround was an important part of learning my craft.”

    Since those days, Coker, an award-winning singer, songwriter, and performer, has created the “Weird, Wild World of Eddie Coker” for Disney, recorded 100s of songs for children and their families, gained a huge following on SiriusXM Radio, and has entertained well over a 1,000,000 children nationwide as a live concert artist.

    He also founded The Wezmore Project, which teaches children, teens, families and educators about emotional wholeness and emotional intelligence to help kids stop hurting. He’s sung to 60,000 kids in the last two years through the project that seeks to prevent self-harm and suicide.

  • 40 Stories for 40 Years: Fanchon Scaife

    by Emily Roberts | Aug 01, 2018

    Fanchon Scaife first experienced an abusive relationship when she was in junior high school. Many other abusive relationships followed, each with a different face. The most threatening came when her daughter’s father beat and tried to suffocate her. Her daughter was not present at the time, but the aftermath of the incident affected not only her and her daughter but also others close to them. Even her employer felt threatened by Fanchon’s abuser.

    As she was in the process of healing from the abusive relationships, Fanchon met a counselor from The Family Place at a church meeting. She and her daughter started attending individual and group counseling sessions at our Southern Dallas Counseling Center.

    “It helped immensely to personally know, listen and talk to others who had gone through similar situations,” she says. “We grew tremendously through that life experience by utilizing the tools we were given at The Family Place, many of which focused on self-esteem.”

    Fanchon now owns Heaven's Jewel, a T-shirt business that promotes women’s empowerment, and Heaven's Jewel Estates, a real estate investing/ broker business. She has written a children's book entitled I'm Not Afraid of You and is a member of The Family Place’s Ladies of Leadership and Toastmasters.

    "The goal is to shine light from my core,” Fanchon says. “Instead of letting the layers of hard times in my life dim my light, I choose to turn them into mirrors that reflect and enhance it, all by the power of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”


  • 40 Stories for 40 Years: Sherry Lundberg

    by Emily Roberts | Jul 25, 2018

    Sherry Lundberg joined The Family Place in 1984 as a Case Manager in the North Dallas Help Center, which was the precursor to our Battering Intervention & Prevention Program (BIPP). A licensed professional counselor with a master’s degree in Psychology, she brought a clinical perspective to family violence work, which had primarily grown out of the women’s movement. When Sherry became Program Director in 1985, a role she would hold until 1996, her clinical background shaped the program, which was at the forefront of work with abusers.

    “In the early days of the men’s program, there was a big emphasis on education,” Sherry says. “We focused on the clergy, the medical community, suicide and crisis centers, and the gay and lesbian community to talk about detection and intervention. We worked with the Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Visiting Nurses Association to try bring family violence into the light. We wanted as many people as possible to know how to recognize family violence and where they could get help.”

    Sherry worked with a professor at UT Southwestern, Alvin North, to develop the Lundberg-North Inventory of Psychological abuse, a checklist for adults that became a mainstay in family violence education and counseling. She also developed a resource brochure for teens called “Love Does Not Need to Hurt,” and a resource book for the clergy called “Stopping Abuse in the Family: What Can Faith Communities Do?”

    In 1993, the Texas Legislature authorized family violence offenders to be referred to battering treatment as part of probation, and program development work grew in Texas. By that point, The Family Place, with Sherry in a leadership role, had much knowledge to share. Sherry went on to serve on the state committee that developed standards for BIPP programs. Those standards later drove the requirements for BIPP accreditation, and, in 2009, The Family Place BIPP became one of the first providers in Texas to become fully accredited under new state guidelines. In 2017, our BIPP program provided 12,805 service hours to 628 men, 133 women and 15 adolescents. The majority of clients are court ordered to counseling, and the program continues to be one of the premier service providers in Texas.

    Since she left The Family Place, Sherry has been in private practice in Dallas serving a wide variety of clients.

    “I still love doing what I do,” she says. “I never have gotten burned out. I’m realistic about what I can do and about what the client can do. When you work inside of that space, you can feel successful.”

  • 40 Stories for 40 Years: Josie Horn

    by Emily Roberts | Jul 18, 2018

    Josie Horn grew up in Dallas watching her father abuse her mother. She graduated from Mountain View Community College with a degree in Business Administration and later married and had three children. Shortly after getting married, her husband went into the ministry and began to abuse Josie psychologically and spiritual.

    Josie lost her mom to an aneurysm and her sister to ovarian cancer in the span of a few years. During this time her husband started doing drugs and their church started the process to vote him out as pastor.

    “I didn't know which way to turn, and I honestly thought I was losing my mind,” Josie says. “It was blow after blow after blow. I didn't have anyone to talk to, I didn't know where to go, and I definitely couldn't explain what I was feeling. Eventually I was diagnosed with manic depression.”

    When an advocate from The Family Place spoke at her office in 2001, Josie realized she was in a crisis and began to relive the pain and turmoil from her childhood and abusive marriage. Her divorce was final by this point, but through counseling at The Family Place, she realized her life still had a purpose.

    “All of the things I have experienced have helped build my confidence and make me a stronger individual,” she says. “The Family Place is a place you can go to for help, shelter, leadership and sponsorship. It has made a tremendous impact in my life by letting me know that no matter what circumstance I go through, I have the power inside to overcome every obstacle.”

    Josie was The Family Place’s Survivor of the Year in 2008 and shared her story on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. She is a member of The Family Place’s Ladies of Leadership group and Toastmaster’s International, and is writing a book about her experiences so that other women will know that they are not alone.