Dallas Youth Center Meets Traumatized Girls Where They Are


New Friends New Life pic

New Friends New Life
Image: newfriendsnewlife.org

Dr. Melissa Tonn serves as president and chief medical officer at OccMD Group P.A., based in Dallas. In addition, she uses her wide-ranging academic background in her work as an adjunct professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Texas. Dr. Melissa Tonn is also a strong supporter of the organization New Friends, New Life, and is a member of its advisory board.

New Friends, New Life reaches out to help victims of human trafficking. For 20 years, the Dallas-based group has worked to empower and provide resources for teenage girls and women who have been sexually exploited. It serves as a conduit to educational and career outlets, and offers financial assistance to the women and their children. It additionally works to help trafficking victims find hope beyond cycles of poverty and addiction.

One of the most recent efforts at New Friends, New Life is a Youth Resource Center, designed to meet the needs of vulnerable teen girls among its population of focus. The staff of the center provide a warm and non-judgmental environment to help girls overcome past traumas and begin to trust again and to build fulfilling lives.

At the center, staff work to establish relationships with clients before they even begin any intake paperwork. The goal is first to ensure that girls feel safe and welcome. Using insights provided by trauma-centered care best practices, the staff also offer food, clothing, and other necessities to help get young women back on track to being self-sufficient and emotionally whole.