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The NET, a Fort Worth-based nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people in poverty get back on their feet, will host its second annual Survivor Leader Luncheon from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, April 13.
The NET serves three communities in poverty in Fort Worth: the homeless, women affected by the sex industry, and low-income youth. The link between these programs is the nonprofit’s goal to build a community with people in poverty, creating an environment of dignity and empowerment among the people The NET serves.
Needs for clothing, food and shelter do exist, but these are simply symptoms of poverty, not the root cause, says Melissa Ice, founder and executive director of NET Fort Worth. The NET helps people in Fort Worth who suffer from material and physical poverty as well as relational poverty.
“The NET is all about building community with people in poverty because we believe that people need people more than they need stuff,” Ice said. 
“As individuals begin to understand their inherent dignity and worth, feelings of shame, isolation and inferiority are replaced by connection, confidence and hope,” she said. “This leads our friends to participate in their own personal success and empowers them to rise out of poverty. This not only restores their lives but gives them the worth and dignity that every human deserves.”
Proceeds from this year’s Survivor Leader Luncheon will benefit Purchased, The NET’s program for women and girls in Fort Worth who have been sexually exploited. Focused on prevention, intervention and protection, Purchased gives victims of sexual exploitation freedom, safety and hope, and the opportunity to completely recover. Since 2012, Purchased has reached more than 500 sexually exploited women and girls. During last year’s inaugural luncheon a survivor support group was formed, the first group of its kind in Fort Worth.
Keynote speaker at the 2017 luncheon will be Chanel Dionne, author, blogger ( and survivor of the “fast life” of working in the sex industry. She will share her journey through hardship and triumph. Currently studying to become a counselor, Dionne published in 2015 her first book, Lost Girl Saved by Grace.
Jamie Ivey, a podcaster, writer and speaker from Austin, will serve as emcee. Ivey blogs about parenting, marriage, adoption and faith at her website Her weekly podcast for women, The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, can be found at
The event will begin with coffee, a raffle and a photo gallery highlighting survivors from the program. During the luncheon, survivor leaders will share their stories about what they have overcome and accomplished. 
“I have learned what real friendship is and how to trust again. I am here today to share my story because after a childhood full of trauma, and an adult life full of bad decisions, I found my new beginning because of The NET women who saw me before I saw myself,” said one survivor leader.
Another survivor of the program said, “I want the other ladies who are out there to know there’s a better life. We’re worth a whole lot more than we’re allowing men to give us. There’s so much more to life than standing on a street corner.” 
WHERE: The Fort Worth Club, 306 W. Seventh St. in Fort Worth
COST: Individual tickets are $50. Attendees receive complimentary valet, lunch and open seating at the event. Sponsorship opportunities are available from $250 to $2,000.
To purchase tickets or sponsorships, or for more information about the Survivor Leader Luncheon, please visit and @TheNETFW.

ABOUT NET Fort Worth

NET Fort Worth began in 2009-2010 as a college ministry at Christ Chapel Bible Church to address the refugee community and homeless population. The organization functioned as a team of volunteer interns and staff since January 2013 and received its 501(c)(3) status in April 2013. The NET is dedicated to helping people in poverty – the homeless, women exploited by the sex industry, and low-income youth. The NET hosts weekly and monthly events to create community among those in Fort Worth who suffer from material, physical and relational poverty. All of the nonprofit’s efforts seek to instill hope and restore dignity.