Deborah's Palm provides me with so much: friendships with other women, activities and classes, and most importantly, a second home where I can go, relax with a cup of tea, and talk with other women.
Katie Ritchie, the creator and founder, is a remarkable woman whose good nature, bright smile and laughter, as well as her desire to help others makes every encounter with her memorable.
The blue and white Victorian house in which Deborah's Palm is located, has a beautiful interior, and welcoming garden; it is an enchanting, peaceful place.
Deborah's Palm provides many services to women in the Palo Alto area and surrounding communities: a place to meet other women, to relax, to attend lectures and classes, or to volunteer in a variety of capacities. I cannot speak highly enough of Deborah's Palm.
I have been both a client and a volunteer at Deborah's Palm, a nonprofit community for women in Palo Alto, CA. The remarkable and friendly woman, Katie Richey, fufilled her lifetime dream of a women's community where all women are welcome when she established Deborah's Palm. Katie financed the endeavor herself, purchasing and remodeling a large Victorian houseon a downtown street. The building and gardens, as well as the interior of the house, are beautiful and welcoming; the rooms are furnished comfortably so as to encourage conversation among women; there are many small rooms, including a library, which provide women a place to relax, to get to know other women, and to recharge from the hectic Silicon Valley lifestyle. The kitchen is often a place where women sit and talk over a cup of tea. At Deborah's Palm a client can receive mentoring or take one of the many classes that are offered or join a crafts related group. If a woman needs support there are groups tailored for providing suport. In addition, a wide range of educational groups and courses are offered, examples are: succesful job searching, divorce recovery, and discovering your calling. There are no fees at Deborah's Palm, although clients may make donations, thus each woman has the autonomy to decide the amount she wishes to contribute. As a client, I am currently taking Conversational Spanish and Art- both classes are small and the instructor, is an artist herself and has taught painting for many years. She is enthusiastic and extremely competent. Because she believes "Anyone can paint," I was encouraged to try painting, an art form in which I had no experience. I was thrilled to find that I enjoy painting and have a burgeoning ability as a painter. I also am learning to communicate in Spanish, which I believe is essential for daily life in California. The instructor, who has lived in Mexico, encourages the members of the small class to lose their inhibitions about speaking Spanish; she, herself, provides a model of this. In both Art and Spanish, the instructor and the other women in the classes encourage and use constructive criticism when giving critiques of each other's work; this fosters a relaxed, fun atmosphere. As a volunteer at Deborah's Palm I mentor women who want to solve problems in their lives; this experience is extremely rewarding and an honor when clients trust me enough to share their problems. I also serve as an "Ambassador" welcoming women new to the area to Deborah's Palm; this responsibility allows me to meet many remarkable women, women who have come from other countries and states, who seek friendships and information about their new home. For the women who are new to this area, Deborah's Palm can serve as the one place where these women are sure to meet other welcoming, warm, and friendly women, thus taking away some of the confusion and loss inherent in moving to a new area. In summary, I believe that Deborah's Palm is a unique community, the ONLY community for women in this area, serving women who seek support, friendship, or instruction. I believe Deborah's Palm deserves funding for its exemplary program which is free of fees but reliant on donations.
I have found so many wonderful people and fabulous classes to take at Deborah's Palm. There are so many options to choose from and if you want to start a group there, you can make it happen. Katie, the director, is the warmest, most loving and giving person you could ever be blessed to know. We are so fortunate to have this center in Palo Alto. Thank you Katie for all you do for all of us.