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Kevin Costner to Keynote April 10 WINGS Luncheon

Costner’s involvement ties into upcoming launch of nonprofit’s new Men’s Initiative to create a greater awareness of human trafficking

and how community’s support can change lives

New Friends New Life, a nonprofit that restores and empowers formerly trafficked girls and sexually exploited women and children, announces that Kevin Costner will headline 12th Annual WINGS Luncheon, on Friday, April 10, 2015, 11:30 a.m., at the Hyatt Regency Dallas, 300 Reunion Blvd., Dallas, Texas 75207.  The luncheon will feature Costner in an interview format with Producer Gary Cogill; an awards presentation; and an update about the work of New Friends New Life by Executive Director Katie Pedigo.   Luncheon Chair The Honorable Jeanne Johnson Phillips joins Honorary Co-Chairs Ruth Altshuler and former First Lady Laura Bush and incoming Board Chair Nancy Ann Hunt in promoting what organizers hope will be the nonprofit’s biggest fundraiser to date.

“New Friends New Life is about protecting the most vulnerable citizens of our city – our children,” said The Honorable Jeanne Johnson Phillips, luncheon chair.  “With an estimated 400 teens on the streets each night, as targets of human traffickers, I believe that it is incumbent upon each of us who care about Dallas to do everything we can to send a message that Dallas is a no tolerance zone for human trafficking. We are honored that Laura Bush and Ruth Altshuler are supporting New Friends New Life as honorary chairs for this luncheon. Their leadership on issues related to women and girls is some of the finest in the world, and they set a great example for all of us.”

Kevin Costner began his career starring in independent films, gradually earning small parts in more established movies. His first major motion picture role was in the coming of age comedy, “Fandango.” Throughout his career, Costner has varied his choices with comedy, action and drama role. He has appeared in such popular box-office hits as “No Way Out,” “Bull Durham,” “Field of Dreams,” “The Bodyguard” and “Wyatt Earp.” His exceptional filmmaking abilities were showcased in “Dances with Wolves,” which he produced, directed and starred in, and which won seven Academy Awards including “Best Picture” and “Best Director.” When Costner is not working on films, he sings lead vocals and plays lead guitar in his band, Modern West, and can be seen playing venues across the country. The band’s song “The Angels Came Down” from their album “Turn It On,” was recently adopted by the Gold Star Moms and Gold Star Wives organizations, which support the mothers, wives and families of fallen soldiers.

“We believe Kevin Costner has stepped out on issues related to women and children in a way that is meaningful,” added Phillips. “He understands that human trafficking is one of the worst conditions a person can find themselves in, and his leadership, we believe, encourages both men and women to take up the fight against this terrible crime.”

Serving more than 1,000 women and children annually, New Friends New Life provides holistic services for sexually exploited girls, women, and their children including access to education, job training, interim financial assistance, mental health and spiritual support.  Staff and volunteers provide counseling for women and their children; a program for children of protégés; and a therapeutic prevention program at Letot Girls’ Center and the Dr. Jerome McNeil Detention Center.  By partnering with agencies and individuals, NFNL helps to provide legal assistance, medical services, budget counseling, job-readiness training, and educational opportunities. The nonprofit’s High Risk and Trafficked Teen Girls Program offers sexual abuse recovery groups for adolescents, teaching girls, ages 12 to 17, how to define, recognize, and ultimately recover from abuse.  The program is an intervention and prevention effort to help girls avoid a lifetime of exploitation as human trafficking victims. 

“On behalf of the women and children served by New Friends New Life, we are grateful for the overwhelming community support to provide true transformation and freedom for those that need it so desperately,” said Katie Pedigo, executive director, NFNL.   “New Friends New Life raises awareness in our community, provides basic support for trafficked women and girls and advocates for freedom so that everyone in our communities can share the same human rights that our country promises.  This organization is about children – children seeking a life without sexual abuse and emotional trauma.  No 14-year-old girl should be bought and sold at the whim of a john and hands of a trafficker.  By supporting New Friends New Life, you are declaring that every young child deserves to be free.”

Sponsorships are available, ranging from 1,750-$50,000.  Individual tickets – if not sold out via sponsorships – will be available beginning Feb. 4 at $175 each.  Contact Kelly Cruse,, (214) 965-0935. Past WINGS luncheon speakers have included Sally Field, Barbara P. Bush, Nicholas Sparks, and Harriet Miers.

"It is through the continued support of many that our New Friends New Life women and children can have possible ...the promise that their tomorrows ...won't have to be like their yesterdays,” said Nancy Ann Hunt, 2015-16 board chair.  “It takes a village of efforts and multiple resources to impact change in someone's broken life. We each deserve to not just survive, but to live, and to live fully as God intended." 

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ABOUT NEW FRIENDS NEW LIFE: New Friends New Life, begun in 1998, restores and empowers formerly trafficked girls and sexually exploited women and their children. By providing access to education, job training, interim financial assistance, mental health and spiritual support, New Friends New Life helps women and their children overcome backgrounds of abuse, addiction, poverty and limited opportunities. For more information about New Friends New Life, visit the agency’s website at or call (214) 965-0935.

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