Their Stories: Alejandra Palomares

I heard about My Safe Harbor when I was in a PEP Class at the Family Oasis Family Resource Center. Some SFI grads came in to make a presentation and it sounded like what I needed to keep moving forward and to make some changes in my life. I was going through a nasty divorce out of a very abusive relationship and was filled with depression and anxiety. On top of all that, I was also having some very difficult physical problems. I had been in a bad car accident at age 14 where I had lost one leg and the other was still very injured. Altogether I was feeling pretty helpless and hopeless.

Even as I started SFI, I wondered how long it would last because physically things were getting worse and worse. However, the classes themselves were so helpful right from the beginning and I began to make friends and feel that maybe I could finally find a way out. However, it got to the point that my doctor insisted that I have surgery right in the middle of my SFI classes. I thought I would have to drop out and that was just one more thing to depress me. I would have to miss at least four weeks and that’s if everything went well. To my surprise, my SFI cohort sprang into action! They came to help me at my home. They cleaned my house, brought food, helped with my kids, just kept checking in. They made sure I knew what was happening in class, shared their notes, and assured me they’d keep me from getting behind. What an amazing gift!  I’m sure it’s one of the reasons my recovery went so well.

Through it all I discovered that I am a valued person, that I have the right to be happy, and that I could break the chains of self-doubt and abuse that had been with me from childhood. I so wanted my children to have a different life than I had and SFI was giving me the courage and the tools to make that happen. I came to believe that there is hope for everyone. I was not alone and with God and my new friends I could find the strength to realize that I had the power to make things better. I could make the choices for MY life. I could set an example for my children and help them face the challenges in their lives.

I am so different now. I feel love for myself and am more confident to make changes. SFI has reshaped my thinking. Every class I left with something. Friendships were formed that will last. We shared our struggles and really connected to each other. I have found the power to dream! I know I can do whatever I want if I’m willing to do the work. I’m proud of myself as a mother and a survivor. The future is bright for me and my family.

Right now I am going to online college. I want to understand more about human behavior and how I can help others. MSH has taught me how important it is to give back and that is exactly what I want to do. I learned so many things that I can share with others and I have the chance to tell them there is hope and they are not alone. I’m so thankful I had this opportunity.  I can’t imagine how I would have made it through those earlier dark days without this life-changing experience.