New Friends New Life

Drop-In Program for Young Adult Survivors of Sex Trafficking

New Friends New Life (NFNL) is the only organization of its kind operating both a comprehensive Women’s Program, a Men’s Advocacy and Education Program, and a drop-in Youth Resource Center (YRC) in the Dallas area that serves those aged 12-22. New Friends New Life restores and empowers trafficked and sexually exploited teen girls, women, and their children and drives awareness of the issue and its prevalence. By providing access to education, job training, interim financial assistance, mental healthcare, and spiritual support, New Friends New Life (NFNL) helps women and children overcome backgrounds of abuse, addiction, poverty, and limited opportunities.

The YRC serves female youth ages 12-22 through the Steps to Success program: Little Yellow (12-14), Monarch (15-17), and Queen (18-22). This grant will directly serve young adults ages 18-22, in the “Queen” step, through counseling, case management, legal aid, employment, and education support. The YRC identifies and uses strengths to help youth in each step create a plan for safety, independence, and new possibilities for their lives.

Becoming a GrantTank recipient means that New Friends New Life can offer young women with the support they need to thrive in their lives. When faced with destitution, young women may be more easily coerced into reentering The Life, or entering it for the first time. The YRC will help each member identify their struggles, itemize them, and conquer them, as well as provide a safe place to talk through their issues at home or to hang out and just be.

New Friends New Life 2023 GrantTank Recipient The Jensen Project

In 2022, NFNL Clinical Team introduced the Steps to Success Program for all YRC women to participate in. The Steps to Success Program has quarterly celebrations to recognize goals achieved by youth as an encouragement to keep progressing. Each step is tailored by age range—Little Yellow Butterfly for ages 12-14, Monarch Butterfly for ages 15-17, or Queen Butterfly for ages 18-22—and categorized into the three main areas of care: case management, counseling, and education. After achieving all the steps determined by herself and her care team, she then graduates from the program. This grant will specifically support the services provided to the Queen Butterflies who are young adult women survivors of sex trafficking.

The Drop-In YRC was opened to create a safe space for high-risk and victimized youth and young adults to heal from complex emotional trauma, meet emergency needs, and create opportunities and options to choose a different path forward—one that is fortified against the pull of traffickers seeking vulnerable young women to engage in commercial sex acts. From the moment of intake, members are guided through a trauma-informed, individually designed plan of care that addresses each girl’s needs in the areas of case management for basic needs, counseling (mental/emotional health), building positive, sustained change, as well as life skills programming to build self-sufficiency.

What We Loved about New Friends New Life

The Jensen Project is proud to offer funding and partnership to New Friends New Life for offering a safe place for survivors and members of vulnerable populations to go during the day, for their commitment to their staff members and their mission, and for how efficiently and respectfully they handle their time.

We consider drop-in centers temporary shelters, and there are not enough drop-in centers available around the country.

New Friends New Life was transparent about the pros and cons of running a drop-in center. Drop-in centers are challenging because sometimes the trafficker, the abuser, can show up looking for somebody. NFNL understands that, and their team was ready to answer our questions about client safety.

Many of their staff members have been there for years, and to us, that illustrates a great work culture, which ultimately presents a healthy environment for survivors. If an organization wants to promote an environment of safety in a drop-in center, how can they achieve that if the staff doesn’t feel safe with each other?

Having survivors on staff and actively working with those in the YRC is imperative to the clients they work with. It is vital to meeting the clients where they are, not where we think someone should be.

They were the only organization that, in the Zoom interview, had a presentation tailored to our application requirements: the data they showed, the why behind their ask, and the projected allocation of spending was all put together with The Jensen Project in mind.

Funding from The Jensen Project will offer New Friends New Life two-year support for the Youth Resource Center Drop-In Program (YRC), which recognizes, recovers, and restores high-risk, exploited, and trafficked girls and young women through holistic, trauma-informed care.

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What is GrantTank?

A yearly grant program, funding up to $2 Million to advance economic empowerment and housing opportunities for agencies who serve adult female survivors of human trafficking.