Sunday, April 3, 2011

New Friends New Life

Basic Information:
Faith-based organization
Dallas-Fort Worth area
Katie Pedigo- Executive Director
Participants are called Protégés

Contact Info:

Mission: New Friends New Life enables women to leave the degradation of the sex industry and to build new lives for themselves and their children.
We help women overcome backgrounds of abuse, addiction, poverty, and limited opportunities by providing access to education, job training, interim financial assistance and spiritual support.

New Friends New Life gives priority to education over employment for entrants in an effort to address the root causes of women choosing to work in sexually oriented businesses and falling prey to its occupational hazards. New clients who do not have a high school diploma or equivalency will be accepted as long as women are willing to pursue further education or career training.

The Program and Operations Director and Protégé Advocates lead a mandatory weekly meeting that includes dinner, life-skills teaching and biblical principles. The meeting is interactive, emphasizing biblical principles for healthy living. The guided discussion among women who share similar histories has proved to be very therapeutic. A Certified Public Accountant manages the organization’s income, disbursements, and reporting without charge. Virtually all financial assistance provided to women is for rent, utilities, education expenses, transportation and childcare.

Women’s Program: Two ways of making contact for this program: 1) calling the office or 2) attending a Wednesday night group meeting (5:45 – 8:15 p.m). This meeting support includes dinner, life skills education and a Biblically based curriculum designed to assist women in making the emotional and spiritual transition from working in sexually oriented businesses to a healthier life. Children are encouraged to come with their mothers.

Protégés, commit to changing their lifestyles, living within a budget, remaining drug and alcohol-free, and gaining the education or skills needed to acquire conventional employment. They may receive financial assistance for a specified period of time to assist in their transition to conventional employment. Protégés work with a Protégé Advocate (case manager) to develop and be held accountable to an action plan to move towards a new life for themselves and their children.

Monthly analysis of each woman’s progress toward self-sufficiency is based on individualized educational/career plans. The average time for a Protégé to reach self-sufficiency is 1 1/2 years, though many elect to remain in contact with their Protégé Advocate beyond that time.

Protégé Leadership: a way for the women to give back. Opportunities include traveling in the metroplex to share their stories to various audiences. Protégé leaders have also traveled to different areas of the state or country with a staff mentor to facilitate workshops, present during focus groups, or participate in panel discussions at conferences.

Children and Youth Program:
Mission: The mission of the NFNL Children and Youth Program is to aid in cultivating and enhancing the emotional, educational and spiritual development of the students in effort to help them become successfully functioning individuals.

Each week they serve between 20-40 children and youth ranging in age from birth to 18 years of age in programs for preschool, elementary, and middle school/high school students.

 Children are an integral part of the NFNL ministry and we are committed to helping these young people grow and mature emotionally, spiritually, academically and physically. The NFNL children and youth program was initially born out of necessity.

Schedule for Wednesday night:
Nursery and Preschool: The nursery and preschool program is self-contained in one area and is staffed with paid childcare providers. In the toddler program, we have volunteers who conduct social, academic and creative activities for the children.

Elementary – 4yr. -5th grade: The Elementary program serves children 4 years old through the 5th grade. Once the children have eaten dinner, they participate in a series of rotations based on age beginning with a Biblical Drama, which is followed by a tutoring and a life skills segment. In the academic rotation, we encourage the protégés to have their children bring their homework. We also spend time reinforcing basic reading and math skills. The Life skills segment is based on curriculum that focuses on developing strong character. We end the evening with a recreation hour under the direction of volunteers.

Youth Program: Our middle school and high school students are participating in the Preston Road Church of Christ teen program under the direction of John and Crysty Kimberlin. After dinner each evening, these students participate in Bible study, games and social recreation time. Many of our teens also participate in various outside activities sponsored by the PRCC youth program. In fall 2007, in an effort to make more connections with the NFNL teens, we added James Yarbrough to partner with the Kimberlins. James is the founder of J & B Outreach, a ministry that strives to reach struggling youth and prepare them for a brighter future.

Counseling: Through volunteer L.P.C interns, we are currently providing individual counseling services for our elementary age children. We hope to expand this to encompass all ages in the future.

History: New Friends New Life began as a women’s committee of the Preston Road Church of Christ in 1998. The group acquired non-profit status in January 2000 as Amy’s Friends. Under the direction of one full time Program Coordinator and a cadre of volunteers and a Board of Directors, the committee/organization provided financial help to over 87 women in the first five years. While current information is not complete on all the early protégés (clients), we know that better than 85% have not returned to sexually oriented businesses.

In March of 2001, the organization hired its first Executive Director, who oversaw program design, development, and fundraising. Two skilled social workers and one part-time Protégé Advocate handled day-to-day issues with the protégés, acting as case managers, friends, and godly role models. One of the social worker positions was first funded by a grant from the Dallas Women’s Foundation in 2003 and the grant was again awarded for that position in 2004.

In 2010, NFNL served 161 women and 72 children, provided 2,328 meals, logged 2000 volunteer hours and gave financial assistance for education, job training, housing, transportation, food and childcare.
Dallas Women’s Foundation
ExxonMobil Community Summer Jobs Program; for paid internship

Pro-bono services, such as job readiness training, educational opportunities, GED preparation classes, and budget counseling as well as personal therapeutic counseling.

*The WINGS Luncheon supports the work of NFNL by generating funds for direct protégé services, like rent, utilities, childcare, transportation and other basic needs.
* Annual New Friends New Life Golf Classic: raised over $16,000 last year
* Cut-a-Thon: Salon D, a Dallas salon and spa, gives back to the community by volunteering their time and talent to provide haircuts for men, women, and children with all proceeds benefitting New Friends New Life. Irving Bible Church played an integral role in coordinating this first benefit event.
* Art Show
*Home Tour and Holiday Shoppe: featuring three premier homes in the Park Cities decorated for the holiday season. The Holiday Shoppe has exclusive shopping opportunities including “incredible edibles” and special gift items. Tickets are $20 for admission to all homes and the Holiday Shoppe.

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