At Noble 31 giving is at the heart of our brand. We are beyond honored to partner with The Net's Purchased program to help women in Fort Worth. Today we are chatting with Jordan McKenna, their Director of After Care, to hear a little bit more about what they do and their inspiring mission.
Tell me a little bit about the Net.
The Net is a non-profit organization with the mission to develop healthy, restorative relationships with the people in our community who need a network of support the most.
We serve three populations of people; women survivors of sexual exploitation, people experiencing homelessness, and refugee kiddos, through 38 relationship-building events every month. We believe that poverty is so much more than the material lack of things. It is rooted in broken relationships and therefore requires a solution that restores these relationships. The community we create encourages and empowers the people we serve to understand their inherent worth and value, leading them to take steps forward towards their own personal success.
You’re involved with their Purchased program. Can you explain what that is?
Purchased is The Net’s initiative to serve and rehabilitate women survivors of trafficking, prostitution, and addiction here in Fort Worth. These women have spent years being bought and sold and are trapped in cycles of abuse, addiction, and incarceration. This is modern day slavery, and our vision is to see these women walk in freedom and hope, knowing that they are not for sale and are worthy of a second chance at life.
We serve women survivors in a variety of different ways, all focused on building relationships and healthy community. Every week, a group of volunteers go to downtown Fort Worth to visit women in jail who have a history of prostitution. We also host a weekly Survivor Support Group, which is a safe place for women to come experience healing. Finally, we partner with a Tarrant County Probation Program called RISE (Reaching Independence Through Self Empowerment), where we provide court support and one-on-one advocacy for women in the program.
How did you get started with the Net?
I studied Psychology and Child Development at TCU during my undergrad and always knew I wanted to help vulnerable populations of people. While in school, I worked in a residential treatment facility for foster kids with behavioral issues, but ultimately felt like I wasn’t equipped to be able to do that work long-term. I started a graduate program at TCU, studying developmental trauma and researching ways to implement trauma-informed care in homes, schools, and residential treatment facilities. But I learned very quickly that God had other plans for me.
In my study of God’s word, I began to notice more clearly the individuals Jesus spent time with: the poor, the alienated, the prostitute, and the social outcast, and was convicted by how different my life looked from this. I saw God’s call to believers to love and serve the least of these, but was unsure how I was going to do that being a full time doctoral student. But God made a way! As some circumstances changed that were out of my control, I realized that I was going to have to take a step back from grad school. It was at this time that the young adult pastor at my church sent out an application to apply for a job for a position in The Net’s Purchased Program. I had never heard of The Net but knew instantly that God had opened the door for me to be His hands and feet to the least of these in Fort Worth, and it would be my choice step into it. Four years later, here I am!
Has this always been something you've wanted to do?
As I mentioned before, doing this type of work had fallen off my radar after my time working at the residential facility. If you had told me 5 years ago that I would be running a program for women who have been sexually exploited I would’ve laughed. I didn’t think I was equipped for a job like this, that it would be too difficult. Even though I still don't feel fully equipped, God is. He is in the business of redeeming what is broken, and He uses sinful, broken people like myself to do it.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Jesus is the heart behind everything we do at The Net. We don’t do this work because we are really good at it or just think it is the right thing to do. Every program, outreach, or initiative starts from a deep love for Jesus and conviction for the people He cares about, the marginalized and vulnerable.
Any big things coming up for the Net?
Yes! The Net started a social enterprise called Worthy Co. which exists to empower and employ women survivors of trafficking, prostitution, and addiction. There they get the opportunity to improve their lives by learning vocational skills, getting work experience, and making a real income by creating products like jewelry and candles.
Recently, we purchased a building off of Magnolia Ave. in Fort Worth that will serve as a retail and manufacturing space! This will allow us the opportunity to employ more women, and give them a variety of different employment opportunities. It will be opening in Spring 2020 and we are so excited!
Do you have a favorite story/memory from working there?
This is such a tough question because I have so many good memories, but I would have to say my favorite memories come from our annual RISE Ceremony. This event celebrates the accomplishments of the women we work with in the RISE program and acknowledges the women who will be graduating. I meet most of these women in jail, and then I have the privilege to walk alongside for years and watch them meet their goals and achieve their dreams. Watching those women walk across the stage and graduate is truly one of the most joyful moments of my life.
How can people support the Net? What do yall need the most?
The best way people can support us is to partner with us. The best part is that partnering with us can look like a lot of different things, depending on what you are most passionate about and your capacity! You can provide dignified employment for women survivors of trafficking by shopping from The Worthy Co, walk alongside women coming out of the sex industry by becoming an advocate, empower our friends experiencing homelessness by stocking the store, or mentor refugee kiddos by becoming a volunteer.
People can also partner with us financially by giving monthly through The Network, our online giving community who are committed to showing up every month to ensure transformation happens in our city! Seeing the marginalized in our city walk in freedom and hope requires a community of people coming around them and all of the things listed above are things this community can do!
Learn more about The Net and ways to get involved here.