2015 Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures Community Impact Award Winner
The Junior League of Fort Worth
According to a study by the Community Foundation of North Texas, 45 percent of those returning from prison to Como, Fort Worth’s inner-city neighborhood, were returning to prison.
In this zip code ravaged by poverty, racism, crime and an alarming rate of recidivism, 25 percent of households are headed by single mothers and 42 percent live below the poverty line. By contrast, only nine percent of households in surrounding Fort Worth are run by single mothers and only 21 percent live in poverty.
Shelter, safety, education and hope were the ingredients essential to guiding Como residents toward a bright future. The League found a partner in a nonprofit called Opening Doors for Women in Need whose central mission is to empower women to become independent providers for their families.
Together the partners rolled out a two-part plan. The League provided $40,000 for the Nehemiah Project, which rehabilitated a vacant building for ODWIN’s clients, and then $75,000 to build a new four-bedroom facility, known as The House the Junior League Built, on an empty lot owned by the nonprofit. In addition, the League placed 25 volunteers who gave a total of 1,250 hours of their time in job search and interview training, clothing drives and community garden maintenance as well as cultural excursions.
To date, nearly 20 women have received—or are receiving—training in the program.