Panera plays important role in woman’s journey to help others
Michelle Wells has what sounds like a simple goal for women: She hopes they can love themselves.
The Columbus woman, who has founded a non-profit organization to deliver services to victims of domestic violence, believes that it is critical for women to love themselves in order to escape domestic violence.
Michelle, who herself is a survivor of domestic violence, was finally able to escape the cycle of abuse when she started loving herself.
But it wasn’t an easy transition.
“For me, I was upper-class living life behind closed doors and it took me five or six times to leave and when I left, I went from upper class to poverty overnight,” she said.
Her non-profit, “Love Me Like a Princess” helps women make the transition from their husbands’ to their own lives.
The nonprofit offers women assistance with obtaining cellular phones and monthly rent. Love Me Like a Princess also helps women access various therapies and assists with education, including everything from etiquette and how to dress to traditional college or trade school.
“I lost everything in the divorce,” she said.
She said many women stay in violent relationships because of financial reasons.
Love Me Like A Princess has identified a bold mission: “Our goal is to speed up the process of healing by providing proven resources and referrals to move forward the process from Victim to Survivor to Thriver.”
Covelli Enterprises and Panera Bread have been an integral part of both Michelle’s transformation as well as supporting her goal to assist other women. In August, Michelle hosted Love Me Like A Princess’ first seminar for victims of domestic violence at the Lane Avenue Panera Bread on OSU’s campus. Panera Bread donated all the food for the event.
“Panera Bread has been a huge part of my journey and, in time, it became my sanctuary of peace. I started my journey meeting individuals in Panera to discuss my passion of changing laws. I interviewed survivors of domestic violence in Panera’s all across Ohio,” she said. “It not only gave us a place of safety, but it was also a place where we could talk in a peaceful environment. Panera has supplied me a venue where I can discuss my plans to bring this vision alive. I love Panera, it’s the only place I can go, where a mother can feed her twin toddlers, and the table next to them are individuals conducting a business meeting; all the while I am praying in my bubble. It is my sanctuary.”
For more information about Love Me Like a Princess, visit its website.