Young women with histories of abuse, neglect, poverty and homelessness have fought to survive. Our Friend’s Place is dedicated to helping young women break the generational cycle of abuse, neglect, poverty and homelessness through empowering self-reliance and independence.

I nominated Our Friend’s Place because I am a former resident. I came to Our Friend’s Place at my lowest point in my life seeking guidance in the right direction, they gave me just that. The support I received was unbelievable , I expected nothing like that, from the office staff to my roommates the care and support was unlimited. I gained two sisters that I’ll never forget. I can’t count the number of times we’ve been a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen for each other. Even after moving out of the house we all still keep in touch as if we are all still roommates.

“As a Junior League of Dallas volunteer, Susybelle Gosslee witnessed gaps in the service system and envisioned a place to meet the unique needs of girls and young women. On December 2, 1987, her vision of helping girls and young women who suffered abuse, neglect, poverty or homelessness was realized when the first girl called Our Friends Place home.”

I spoke with Sue Hesseltine, Executive Director or “Mrs. Sue” as I call her and got some hands on feedback. “The organization was started because girls and young women did not have the help they needed in Dallas! Susybelle Lyons Gosslee founded Our Friends Place in 1985 to meet a gap in service in the Dallas area. In 1992 we opened our first Transitional Living Center due to no place for homeless young women 18-24 years of age to get assistance. We were the first TLC for single young women in the North Texas region. (go to https://ourfriendsplace.org/our-history for more information) The young women we serve are the most important part of Our Friends Place. We work to always focus on our mission to help young women break the generational cycle of abuse, neglect, poverty and homelessness through empowering self-reliance and independence. All we do is about our young women.

Our Friends Place greatest impact is to move young women from both being housing insecure and homeless to stability. If a young woman becomes chronically homeless it will cost Dallas $40,000 a year to just keep her off the streets. Our Friends Place moves young women to self-sufficiency so that she and eventually her children do not become homeless - in fact they become stable members of the Dallas community.” Our Friend’s Place to me means growth. It’s a place where you can truly focus on the growth of yourself mentally and physically, because of them I’ve truly grown more independence which got me ready for the reality of “adulthood” and I’ll never forget them because of that.

We had the pleasure of serving the young women at one of the two houses of Our Friend’s Place. They came out and everyone was so excited. We served the ladies of the houses, the site manager (she oversees any needs of the girls and makes sure they’re safe), the junior leaguers (they are women who dedicate their time to the ladies every week during their weekly group meetings), and the Executive Director, Sue Hesseltine or as we call her “Mrs. Sue”. On the menu we served the ladies our four most popular sandwiches The Boss, Crazy Chicken, Turkey Trot (my personal favorite), and the Extra Cheesy. Serving them in their backyard made it even more special. They seemed extra comfortable and at ease which made it enjoyable to witness the satisfaction and appreciation on everyone’s face.

Amber and I (Maya) had the pleasure of serving the ladies. For myself serving Our Friend’s Place was a very touching moment for me. It was a verification of how far I’ve come, to be able to go from being a resident to helping a resident. I want to be able to go back and help anyone that has helped me in life, even if its not needed. What better way of helping them to fill bellies up with cheesy goodness? ‘Working for a company that gives back to the community impacts every aspect of my life. I found my purpose at Ruthie’s, to give to others any chance that I can.’ Amber expressed.

If you are wondering how you could help the young ladies of Our Friend’s Place, you can always log into their website Our Friends Place they have a “Get Involved” tab giving you numerous ways you could be a helping hand. Whether it’s directly working with the ladies or staff. They’d greatly appreciate it!

A special thanks to Our Friend’s Place for being a community guardian angel for these young women looking to better themselves. I believe you all impact every young woman you come in contact with whether it be a short or long amount of time. Thank you. Also, last but certainly not least a very special thanks to Ruthie’s for creating this concept, it’s just so great to have something like this in the community. It really lets people know that the work they are doing is noticed and appreciated!

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