The League of Women Voters of Dallas is proud to announce the 2019 Susan B. Anthony Award recipient, Susybelle Lyons Gosslee.
Over thirty-three years ago, during her many volunteer efforts with the Junior League of Dallas, Susybelle Gosslee recognized the lack of community services for young girls and women. To fill this void, she founded Our Friends Place (OFP) in 1985. Our Friends Place first served girls ages 10-17 who had experienced neglect, abuse and abandonment and served its first young client in December 1987 in the therapeutic foster group home program.
After girls graduated successfully from the foster home, they often had no safe place to live. OFP established the first transitional living center (TLC) program in north Texas in 1992 to address this need for young women. The TLC program continues to provide a stable environment and teach skills for girls and young women to become independent and opened its second transitional living center in 2005 to double the number of young women served.
In 2017 Our Friends Place expanded its continuum of care further with SOAR to Success: a program that mentors girls and young women and teaches skills to become successful and to prevent young women from being homeless. SOAR to Success has served over 400 youth and young women at 11 sites across the metroplex in DISD schools, Dallas Community College campuses and local partner agencies.
Susybelle has been honored for her work with the Dallas Peace Center Lifetime Achievement Award, the President George H.W. Bush Point of Light Award for dedication to public service and the Maura Award.
She has worked with the United Nations to create and support better systems for women and girls throughout the world. While on the Women of the Episcopal Church of the U.S. Planning Committee she wrote the Episcopal statement on Women and Girls to be presented to the "Fourth World Conference on Women and the Beijing Platform for Action" and attended the women’s con-ference in Beijing. As a League of Women Voters of the United States delegate to the Committee on the Status of Women, she prepared the final document which approved the language submitted on the environmental protections to protect women and children.
Susybelle is very focused on supporting housing policy, especially for people with low incomes, quality public education, abolition of the death penalty in Texas and legislation such as protecting Texans from the proposed transportation and storage of high-level radioactive waste. She remains a very active volunteer with OFP, the Dallas Peace and Justice Center, and the League of Women Voters of Dallas and Texas.
Susybelle continues to work for a sustainable world for all children, adults, and the environment.