The Texas Bar Foundation, the nation’s largest charitably funded bar organization, has distributed more than $22 million in grants. Now it’s awarded $10,000 to POETIC, a Dallas-based nonprofit dedicated to enhancing the lives of vulnerable youth, to continue supporting the organization’s trauma therapy program.
POETIC aims to put a stop to the crisis of 19,000 children being sold for sex in the community.
“Through their partnership and financial support, the Texas Bar Foundation is ensuring our community’s most vulnerable girls can access the support and services necessary to navigate the juvenile justice system, move beyond their victimization, and lead healthy and productive lives in Dallas,” POETIC Co-Founder Jennifer Tinker says. “It’s because of the Texas Bar Foundation’s commitment to advancing justice in the state of Texas that POETIC is able to continue its impact in Dallas.”
Trauma therapy, on-site school and more
Founded in 2017 by Tinker and Dr. HaeSung Han, POETIC provides girls from age 12 to 18-plus with a history of complex trauma with 24/7 access to evidence-based trauma therapy, art therapy, an on-site school, and paid internships. POETIC is meant to give these girls the opportunity to reclaim their youth and find what they are passionate about through their healing process.
POETIC will will use the additional capital to expand its reach in equipping girls who are victims of child maltreatment, commercial sexual exploitation, and sex trafficking as they exit the juvenile justice system and re-enter the community.
The founding duo recognized that traffickers prey on the most vulnerable girls who have been abused, homeless, or involved with Child Protective Services. As a result, they launched an intensive aftercare model that works directly with the juvenile justice system to engage with girls before traffickers reach them. And it works—93 percent of POETIC girls avoid returning to the juvenile justice system.
Helping the most vulnerable
“Juvenile justice-involved girls who have experienced complex trauma are most vulnerable to re-victimization upon discharge from the juvenile justice system,” Dr. Han says. “There is a sensitive period that can determine the level of success a youth achieves when she integrates back into her community.”
Since its humble beginnings, the nonprofit has formed numerous partnerships that have been instrumental in ensuring POETIC girls are able to move beyond their past.
Thanks to partners like the Dallas County Juvenile Department, POETIC is able to offer free therapeutic aftercare that ends the cycle of re-victimization and the revolving door of system involvement.
Partnering with the Mavericks, PepsiCo and others
In addition, POETIC is proud to partner with big-name organizations, including The Dallas Mavericks Foundation, PepsiCo Food For Good, United Way Social Innovation Accelerator, Mueller Financial Solutions, and others.
“At POETIC, we’re passionate about partnering with the Dallas County Juvenile Department and creating an individualized and strength-based path for success that focuses on equitable access to education, therapy and career development,” Han says. “POETIC offers programs that are best-practice, rooted in research, and shown to propel a girl forward. We address not just the symptoms, but the symptoms that keep girls trapped.”
POETIC’s support has not only directly saved lives but also allowed the team to be named the winner of the $75,000 Social Innovator of the Year award at United Way of Metropolitan Dallas’ annual social innovation competition. POETIC was also among the class of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas’ 2019 GroundFloor Fellows.
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