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One For All

One Safe Place in Fort Worth devotes itself to caring for others

For any community to thrive it needs a heart. But what if the heart endures years of abuse and trauma? For Felipe Gutierrez, Vice President of the non-profit One Safe Place, broken hearts are far too common. Still, he believes like-minded individuals can band together and heal a community, learning from past mistakes and taking the necessary steps to move forward.

One Safe Place, originally the Safe City Commission in 2005, is a comprehensive anti-crime agency devoted to preventing crime and violence in Tarrant County's neighborhoods, schools, and homes. The organization was formed by several of Fort Worth's most prominent business leaders in partnership with federal, state, and local law enforcement officials to reduce violent crime in their communities. “Our goals include reducing incidents of violent crime, particularly gun crime,” says Gutierrez.

“And preventing repeat incidents, the escalation of domestic violence, reversing the impact of trauma for children who have witnessed violence… and spreading a culture of nonviolence, particularly among our youth.”

Overall, the main objective at One Safe Place is achieving zero domestic violence-related homicides for one year in Tarrant County, something the team strives for every day. To reach their goal, they rely on a multi-agency network, all funneling to the Family Justice Center which provides coordinated services to victims of domestic violence and their children. Gutierrez says the network model is an exceedingly successful tool for their work. 

Research is also a key component in the effectiveness of the organization. In 2009, One Safe Place added youth mentorship and intervention services to its programming after a 2008 focus group in Fort Worth found a connection between childhood violence and gang membership.

As the One Safe Place network expands, the team adds facilities to accommodate different types of victims. An interim housing facility for trauma survivors was established in 2014, called Camp Hope and the Family Justice Center now accommodates human trafficking victims. 

It's a labor of love to care for the people that come to them, but Gutierrez sees his work as a unique opportunity to heal the community. "An important core value at One Safe Place involves respecting the dignity and worth of all individuals and welcoming anyone who walks into our doors," explains Gutierrez. 

"Most importantly, One Safe Place believes that to best meet this core value, our organization's board, leadership, and staff must reflect the diverse community we serve."

All of the hard work put into One Safe Place is not possible without donations and the collective impact of contributing partners like the Frank Kent Cadillac dealership and family; one of the largest benefactors supporting their work. "Frank Kent Cadillac plays a role in ensuring that every human has the right to be free from the fear of violence," says Gutierrez. 

Gutierrez believes that the organization and its partner's legacy is hope, creating greater resilience within a community of broken hearts. "We believe our clients’ futures will be better than their past and we have a role in making it so. That includes you, me, and all our community partners," affirms Gutierrez. "Together we are creating better outcomes for our community."