North Texas was in high gear to kick of the fundraising final four months of 2019 on Thursday, September 5. Over at Highland Park Village’s Veronica Beard, New Friends New Life Luncheon Co-Chairs Christa and Ketric Sanford and Shelly Slater and Clayton Huffstutter held their launch party with Honorary Co-Chairs Amy Simmons Crafton and Joe Crafton on hand. Here’s a report from the field:
Methodist Health System and Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott were announced as the 2019 ProtectHER Award recipients at the New Friends New Life Annual Luncheon Launch Party, hosted by Veronica Beard and Highland Park Village on September 5. The award recipients will be honored at the annual New Friends New Life luncheon featuring Jada Pinkett Smith, on Friday, October 11, at the Omni Dallas Hotel.
Joy Duncan and Devon Smith were in attendance representing Methodist Health System, which will be recognized as the Local ProtectHER award recipient for the outstanding efforts of the medical staff of Methodist Dallas Medical Center’s emergency room and Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program to combat human trafficking by recognizing and assisting patients who are victims. Located in Methodist Dallas’ emergency department since 2014, the SANE program is the second in Dallas County and the only such program in southern Dallas. SANE nurses undergo 180 hours of rigorous training and provide compassionate, confidential care. In April 2018, an emergency room triage nurse’s training and intuition led to the arrest and prosecution of a human trafficking ringleader and the rescue of approximately 20 trafficking victims held captive in a house just a few miles from the hospital. Recognizing something was amiss when a patient came into the ER, the nurse took the patient to a safe room, where she confided she was a victim of human trafficking and needed help. The patient also shared that another sex trafficking victim had been taken to the ER the day before with a gunshot wound. The nurse alerted authorities, which led to the arrest of the trafficker and rescue of the additional trafficking victims.
New Friends New Life CEO Kim Robinson highlighted the “powerful work” of Methodist in “exposing the ring-leader who was holding 20 women.” Joy Duncan then added from across the room, “Part of the reason we recognized something was wrong was because of the training and advice we had received from representatives of New Friends New Life who taught our staff what to look for!”
First Lady Cecilia Abbott will be honored as the state ProtectHER award recipient for her leadership and advocacy for the victims of human trafficking. Most recently she partnered with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) as the voice of a public service announcement building upon the statewide “Be the One” anti-human trafficking campaign. The goal is to educate viewers on the most common signs of trafficking found in TABC-licensed establishments such as bars and restaurants. Mrs. Abbott was unable to attend the party but shared this quote with New Friends New Life:
Because of the incredible advocacy and outreach by New Friends New Life, the generous support of this community, and the continuing commitment of leaders in this state, Texas is recognized as a national leader in the fight to end sex trafficking. I am deeply honored to receive a ProtectHER Award and to stand with so many selfless servants who are lifting up the true heroes — women and children who are finding hope and healing and are now victors. I have no doubt that in joining together, we can help end the cruel inhumanity of sex trafficking — there is nothing more powerful than Texans helping Texans.”
Luncheon Co-Chairs Christa and Ketric Sanford and Shelly Slater and Clayton Huffstutter joined Honorary Co-Chairs Amy Simmons Crafton and Joe Crafton in generating excitement about the upcoming luncheon and visiting with 44 attendees throughout the evening.
Shelly Slater and Christa Sanford talked to the crowd about their recent “road trip” https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=332654240780840 to areas where some of the area’s biggest sex trafficking rings have been found.
Slater shared, “We thought we knew what was happening out there until we went on our road trip. It was a sobering experience, and we stand up here today for the women that New Friends New Life is serving. We are part of an incredible team at New Friends New Life and are excited to share in important effort with them.”
Co-Chair Christa Sanford encouraged guests to “buy a table and help us fill the room so that we can raise funds to make an impact.”
“NFNL made a deliberate decision to have men join women as co-chairs this year because sex trafficking is not a women’s issue, it’s a human issue that must be addressed by both men and women,” added Robinson. She also introduced a program that’s growing within the organization that will be highlighted at the luncheon.
“New Friends New Life’s Economic Empowerment Program has been a game changer,” said Robinson. “Businesses and organizations are stepping up and giving women within our program a chance to gain skills and conventional employment. They are gaining tremendous self-esteem and the ability to start a new life and support themselves and their families.”
Launch party guests, including Nancy Best, Marybeth Conlon, Sherri Daniel, Maggie Kipp, Ashlee Kleinert, Jordan Lewis, Carolyn Miller, Bill Minick, Dr. Melissa Tonn, Jack E. Pratt III, Dr. Trillion Small and Katherine Wynne, sipped on champagne and enjoyed bites by Proper Catering while browsing the latest fall fashions at Veronica Beard who donated a portion of the evenings proceeds back to New Friends New Life.
Luncheon sponsors include:
- Monarch presenting sponsor — The Men and Women of Hunt Consolidated
- Viceroy Sponsors — The Jensen Project and Ashlee and Chris Kleinert and
- Empress Sponsors — Nancy and Randy Best, Carolyn and David Miller and Lisa and Kenny Troutt
- Media Sponsors — The Dallas Morning News, PaperCity and NBC 5
To sponsor or reserve a table for the October 11th New Friends New Life Luncheon, visit www.newfriendsnewlife.org/luncheon, or call 214.217.8650.
* Photo credit Tamytha Cameron