Susybelle Gosslee is committed to children, her own and many of them she has never met. She spends quality time with her family and supports her children while teaching them through her life that we all should give back to our community.
Gosslee began her volunteer career with the Girls Scouts. She has served as a Leader and Den Mother with this organization. She also has taught Sunday school and been a soccer coach. Since she was so fulfilled with service, she continued to look for opportunities in particular, those that touch women and young girls. Her volunteer commitments then expanded to include committee assignments for Women of Saint Michael and All Angels, the Junior League of Dallas, Letot Status Offender Center, and Girls’ Adventure Trails.
Through her involvement with the Junior League of Dallas, Letot, and Girls’ Adventure Trails, Gosslee began to envision a place for troubled girls. She continued to do work with non-profits and research the organizational structures, and in 1985, Gosslee founded Our Friend’s Place. She did all the initial work associated with founding a no-profit agency. She designed the program, raised the funds, and renovated the facilities. Our Friend’s Place provides warm, nurturing, homelike havens of safety and support for girls who have been abused, neglected, abandoned or have behavioral difficulties.
Our Friend’s Place offers a therapeutic group home for girls ages 10 to 17 and a transitional living center for young women ages 18 to 24. The women have a home where they can begin to heal and learn skills for a successful future. The participants in the program receive individual, group, and if possible, family therapy. Life skills, including appropriate social behaviors, job skills, and home keeping, are central to the philosophy of Our Friend’s Place. The goal is to give the girls and young women the opportunity to break out of the negative generational cycles of abuse and poverty through education and therapy.
Gosslee believes you should measure the effectiveness of your program. Our Friend’s Place is a success. In 1999, the results of the group home show that for the girls who were in the program for three months or longer, 100% did not become pregnant, improved their physical and dental health, passed to the next grade level in school, decreased or withdrew from active gang involvement, and decreased or refrained from alcohol or drug use. In addition to that, 93% improved their age-appropriate life skills. For that same year, the outcome results from the transitional living center were positive also. For the young women who had been in the program for three months or longer, 100% did not become pregnant and increased their job-related skills, 83% were employed, 83% successfully completed or are still in the program, and 70% were enrolled in educational or vocational courses.
Susybelle Gosslee also has served the Mental Health Association, Episcopal Church Women, Women’s Service League, and the Dallas Women’s Coalition, to name a few. Her tireless efforts resulted in her being honored with the Savvy Award in 2000, the Prism Award in 1994, the Maura Award in 1992, and was a Linz Award nominee in 1991. She was a representative at the United Nations Non Governmental Organizational Forum on Women in Beijing in 1995.