Founder and CEO of Love Me Like A Princess©.
~ Michelle Wells
As a survivor of Domestic Violence myself, I have interviewed and met so many great individuals who are survivors of abuse, and came out stronger. It’s amazing how our paths of survival become our greatest gifts.
One survivor gives hope and inspiration to many – including friends and family – with a passion for helping others. She also has inspired me with her unselfish courage.
We sat down in a quiet corner at Panera Bread and started discussing her hopes and dreams. Kim contacted me shortly after and we started taking action to make her hopes and dreams a reality. I recently met Kim again and I will admit, I was astonished, I thought “Is this the same girl I just met?”
Kim taught me that day just how selfless one can be. You see, Kim had very long and beautiful hair. She had cut her hair off to the jaw line. Why did she do this? She shared with me the fact that her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and eventual passed away. She had donated her hair to an organization that provided wigs to those who lost their hair through chemo- and radiation therapies.
Kim is an amazing woman, and this is her story,
Hi. My name is Kim, and I’m a survivor of Domestic Violence (DV).
I met my abuser when I was 17. We had three children together, and were married for 13 years. After these 13 years of abuse, control and isolation from the rest of the world I had had enough; I couldn’t live this way anymore. I left with my children and only the clothes we had on – no money, nothing!
We went to a DV shelter, where we lived for three months before I found my own apartment. With help from friends and family I was able to get everything I needed for our new home. I also got a divorce in this time. I am now able to live the life I want and can pursue my hopes of being an advocate one day; but, after being isolated for so long, I didn’t know where to start.
I started calling all the resources I knew but there wasn’t much to offer where I live, I was slowly losing hope when I overheard “Love Me Like a Princess” over the radio. I looked it up, and felt like my prayers had been answered. I met with Michelle at Panera Bread, where we talked about my goals. I am now going for my GED and next step will be college!
I want to make a difference! I want to break the silence! No one should have to feel they are not good enough, or live in fear. We are all diamonds, we are meant to shine in our own ways.
Panera’s Photo Shoot
Thanks to Open Images for donating their time and photography, our first photo shoot was very professional and successful. Without the help of my mentors, I am not sure if I could ever gotten this far, Thank You. openimagestudio.com
What’s in a Name?
It wasn’t easy coming up with a name for my nonprofit. I wanted something different, something that meant faith, hope and love. The scripture, Corinthians 13:13 ~ And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love~ This is what I’ve been searching for my whole life. I named the nonprofit ‘Love Me Like A Princess©’. I truly did not know how it felt to be loved. I was inspired with the name in many ways. My friend’s pet dog Princess showed me love for the first time. And a women in church, who held up a cardboard poster she had made as part of a church project. These and many others, inspired me to start loving myself…I think it is the best name I could every come with.
Columbus Nonprofit Seeks To Help Domestic Violence Victims
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.”