My name is Bansi Patel. I am a new intern at Casa de Paz, and I have been here for about a month and a half. From the moment I walked into the home, I knew it was a safe and supportive place. The Executive Director Mrs. Julia Figueroa-Gardner sat down and talked to me about the needs of the women here and explained that we are here as advocates for women who have suffered from domestic violence. Even though I can’t speak Spanish, I learned how to assist these women in everyday activities like accompanying them to scheduled appointments, setting up childcare, talking to them about their experiences, and simply being here for them.
My first week here I helped a wonderful lady, Jane.* Jane had already been at Casa de Paz for about three months with her five children. She was struggling to find transportation to take her kids to school and I could see the stress it put on her. Jane’s church gifted her a car and she was ecstatic. For the next two weeks, I helped Jane set up childcare for her children and internet and security for her new home. Slowly things were falling in place for her and I could see the strength it gave her. She would tell me “your face brings me good luck” and I would always tell her I was so proud of how far she had come and what she was doing for herself. I reminded her to reflect on her progress: recall her situation and how she felt before she came to Casa de Paz and how she felt now. A couple of days later she moved into her new home with her wonderful children and she is still happy and healthy today. I love seeing the women find themselves and unlearn all of the hateful things they endured. Casa de Paz is truly a place for healing and growth, I am so proud of the work I do here with the women.
*Names have been changed to respect the privacy of the individuals.