Katie Palacio shared her story at InnVision Shelter Network’s Community Update & Benefit Breakfast on March 13, 2014 in San Jose.
My name is Katie Palacio.
I have three children: my 16-year-old daughter Sophia, 9-year-old Georgia, and my youngest Jacob, is seven. In the past I have been a business owner, and a stay-at-home mother.
In my more recent past I was a client at the Villa, an interim housing program for women and children run by InnVision Shelter Network.
I was raised in an upper middle class family in Willow Glen, Naglee Park, and the Rose Garden. My mother and stepfather were very successful business people who were also active philanthropists.
Each Thanksgiving, after the table had been cleared and the dishes washed, our blended family of 11 (yes…11!) would sit down for a meeting to decide which charities would be the beneficiaries of our family foundation. Each of my brothers and sisters and I were allotted $1,000 to give to the charity of our choice.
I was proud to come from a family that was aware of those who had less than us, and willing to help. However, while I was aware of poverty, I was never really face-to-face with it save for the drive-through donation station at Sacred Heart.
I married well, as my mother would say, and started to recreate the life that I had as a child. We had a house in Los Gatos Hills, our children attended high performing schools, and we vacationed in the Bahamas.
My life looked great on the outside. But as we all know, appearances can be deceiving.
My marriage became increasingly abusive, and it wasn’t long before I was estranged from my family, forced to give up ownership of my half of the equity in our home, and taken off bank accounts so I had no access to money.
The emotional and physical abuse from my husband, combined with the death of my mother after a long bout with cancer, left me with a depression so debilitating that often I could not get out of bed. I was ashamed and embarrassed at what my life had come to. In 2011, after 10 years of marriage, I finally had enough.