19-year-old is Empowering Women Through Battered and Beautiful
At 14 years old, Jenny Foster began noticing the wide variety of gender-related issues that men and women face in the 21st century. By the age of 16, she had founded the Grapevine High School Young Feminists Club. Now, the 19-year-old activist has established her own nonprofit organization, Battered and Beautiful.
“Domestic violence, teen dating violence and sex trafficking are all issues that are prevalent in the Dallas area and throughout Texas,” Jenny says. “I realized that in order to make any sort of change, I had to take action.”
So, she started by contacting the Grapevine Chamber Foundation. After months of hashing out the details, Battered and Beautiful was born in January 2017 with the mission to “empower the battered women of our local area through monetary and item donations as well as provide unique, volunteer-based programs to women’s shelters.”
Over the past year, Battered and Beautiful has hosted several fundraisers and drives with local partners such as Texas General Store and Wise Guys Pizza. Jenny also has organized efforts through her current school, the University of Texas at Dallas, where she is majoring in biochemistry. When she’s not in class, she is coordinating projects with the university’s Gender Center and Intersectional Feminist Alliance.
But the Grapevine Chamber Foundation remains a key player in the organization’s success.
“I had known about the foundation through their different projects with the community,” Jenny says. “I was introduced to Mary Jo Tellin through my mentor, Shonda Schaefer, the executive director of GRACE. I really liked the attention and support that the chamber gives its members and its programs, and wanted to be a part of that community. I pitched my idea to Mary Jo and Perry Leonard back in December and have been working with them ever since.”
As for the future of Battered and Beautiful, Jenny hopes it will become a recognized resource and a place where students can get involved.
“I really want Battered and Beautiful to become a community staple,” she says. “I want to keep hosting more large-scale fundraising events and get more active programs within local women’s shelters.”
To learn more, visit BatteredAndBeautiful.org.