THE STORY OF TRACY DUDLEY
At first glance Tracy Dudley looks like a beauty queen that stepped right off the cat walk. With stunning blue eyes, natural red hair, and model size stature, she commands any room she walks in. When Tracy speaks, you feel a profound sense of life experience and a deep connection to her past. You would never know Tracy Dudley once ran the streets of South East Houston, “walking the track,” living in dingy hotels on Telephone Road, and hiding from the cops.
Tracy Dudley lived a life that many people would want to forget and bury in their backyards for no one to see. She faces her past with dignity and explains some of her darkest moments out on the street with honesty and extreme clarity. Tracy vows to never forget the streets and those experiences she was able to escape from. Most importantly, she promises never to forget the women who are still trapped there.
Tracy’s life was seemingly normal. Adopted at birth, she was loved and taken care of beyond her imagination. There were times she and her sister both received fifty gifts under the Christmas tree. She lived in a beautiful house with a four car garage and wanted for nothing. In school, she was always the tallest, and the only red head. All the attention was on her, but it wasn’t always positive.
She was made fun of and bullied because of how different she looked. It wasn’t until she turned nineteen that things made a complete turnaround. Tracy had transformed into a bombshell beauty. All that negative attention she had suffered from in her early years had now shifted. She dominated the party scene with her good looks and personality making her the life of the party. Nevertheless, Tracy felt like there was something missing.
Tracy began using drugs at nineteen. By twenty-three she became a “hard user” and started smoking crack. By age thirty she was “shooting up” cocaine. She remembers moments of complete desperation. She once jumped into a “John’s” car, and the driver put a pistol to her head. He then placed a sack over her head so she wouldn’t see where he was taking her. She remembers stealing, being arrested, beaten, raped, and running cold and dirty from motel to motel. But most of all, she remembers being lonely. Tracy remembers longing to simply go home, but there was no home to go to anymore.
Tracy became pregnant at twenty-five. She was so addicted at that point that she continued to use crack through her pregnancy. Her three year old son was taken from her by her ex-husband. Losing her son was an extremely painful experience, but by then her addiction had complete control of her. One of her lowest points was when she became pregnant and shortly after had a miscarriage while out on the street. She was arrested many times, however, one trip to prison was God sent.
Tracy became involved in a long term behavioral rehabilitation program with Cenikor while in prison at age 33. Tracy stayed in the program for three years and graduated from the program at age 36. After release, and graduation from the program, Tracy continued to assist in ministering to women in prison.
She continued to minister until God sent her a divine message of taking her ministry to the streets of Houston and helping those women who were still trapped “in the game.”
Tracy spoke about her dream to have her own outreach program to only one person. This was the person who had loved her unconditionally all her life, her mother. From the beginning, Tracy’s mother, Peggy Dudley, would make sure she had money, food, furniture, and anything else she might need. Peggy didn’t know how to help Tracy out of her addiction and continued to help her without judgement.
Peggy constantly bonded Tracy out of jail, watched her son while she was high, or handed her money. Through it all, her mother never left her. Tracy believes that her mother was one of the reasons she made it through “the life.” Peggy became ill, and while on her deathbed, Tracy shared the dream of having an outreach ministry. Tracy told Peggy she would call the organization Project Girls and would dedicate the organization to her. Peggy was able to see Tracy in action before she died in 2012.
The creation of Project Girls was the beginning of a journey for Tracy Dudley. She vamped up her outreach program and was able to obtain a physical building that would become her headquarters. The Blue Top Motel, located at 4351 Telephone Rd, was acquired by Project Girls in 2016 and is currently used as a crisis center for women trying to get out of the “life” of prostitution. The Blue Top Hotel which was once her home, a thriving place for drugs and prostitution, has now been turned into a place where ministry, rehabilitation, and support intersect.
When Tracy Dudley encounters difficult times with the organization, or in her own life, she fearlessly walks back into prison and sits down with women who are going through the struggles she knows so well. She calls it, “going home.” Speaking and connecting with these women helps Tracy reflect on her past and recharges her with motivation to continue fighting for “her girls.”
These days Tracy collaborates with Christian ministries from all over the Houston area. She continues to do outreach, consistently going out to the areas she once “worked” trying to reach women who might want out from the “life” or who may simply need some comfort and support. Tracey Dudley promises to be there for her “girls” just like her mother was for her.
To get to know more about Tracy visit her page on Facebook @ Project Girls Crisis Center or visit Project Girls Crisis Center, 4321 Telephone Rd Houston, Texas 77087. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Project-Girls-Crisis-Center/172902309772716
the beat: area assigned to a patrol officer
walking the track: street term for walking the areas where prostitution illicitly occurs
the life: street term for living a life of prostitution or addiction
a John: street term for customer purchasing illicit services from a prostitute
in the game: street term for living as a prostitute, drug addicted, or both
hard user: a user of an addicting drug capable of producing severe physical or psychological dependence such as cocaine or heroin.
shooting up: administering drugs directly into vein(s) through injection