OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – More than 40 percent of Oklahoma women experience domestic violence in their lifetimes. In downtown Oklahoma City, there is place called Palomar that not only helps those victims find food, shelter, and safety but also helps them navigate the legal process that follows.
“I came to Palomar in June of 2019 looking for help,” Paula Welch said.
Welch was a victim of domestic violence with no where to go and no one to turn to for assistance.
“I just walked in the door, and Laura happened to be the case manager that day.”
It was no accident their paths crossed.
“Through the whole court process and counseling and learning how to navigate my life after all of that, she stood beside me,” Welch said. “When you’re in that situation, and you don’t have any hope, sometimes a kind word and a gentle hand is just enough to keep you going.”
It has been four years since Welch first stepped foot into Palomar’s doors, and even though she no longer needs the services it provides, the strength she slowly gained here and the gratitude for this place of refuge will never leave her.
“Palomar is amazing. The second you walk through the door there is never any judgment. They make sure that you’re safe,” she said. “They walk you through the process if you don’t know about the court system. They have help to do that, utility issues, housing issues. There are people and advocates here.”
Advocates help navigate the often rocky waters that so often lie ahead – the unforutante aftermath of domestic violence.
“I just don’t want her to forget that she’s seen,” Welch said. “The work that the counselors and case managers do here at Palomar, we see you.”
That is why Welch nominated Laura McDonald for Pay It 4Ward.
“I love you so much for all your hard work for standing beside me and all of your clients while you were here at Palomar and working at the Y,” Welch said. “I’d like to PayItForward.”
“I got into this work, because domestic violence really impacted a really close friend of mine, and walking with her through that journey and seeing all the barriers that are in survivors ways trying to get safe and trying to get access to resources it just kind of lit this fire in me,” McDonald said. “It’s something that is very close to my heart. I think once an advocate, always an advocate.”
“Palomar saved my life. It’s that simple,” Welch said.
For more information about Palomar services visit Home – Palomar (palomarokc.org).
Pay it 4Ward is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.