40 Stories - Karla Worley - Board Member

PADV Board Member

I’m often asked why PADV’s cause is so close to my heart. Over 40 years ago, my mother experienced domestic violence. She found the courage to embark on a new life, taking three children with her. Her mission was to provide a safe and peaceful environment for herself and her children. My life is a testament to the fact that lives can be reshaped and families can flourish, even after enduring abuse. My mother’s courage, manifested those many years ago, is what inspires me to be vocal about and work to fulfill PADV’s life-saving mission.

My faith teaches me to use my talents to help others.  This journey often asks me to stretch beyond my own comfort to lift up those who are disadvantaged, to speak up for those that can’t find their own voice, and stand up for justice.

I am a person willing to roll up my sleeves, confront the issue, ask for money, ask for donations to the auction, meet with potential sponsors, implore my friends to volunteer and donate, put on a formal dress, visit a shelter…to show up.  Show up on behalf of the vulnerable women and children who have experienced what no one should have to.

Through my years of involvement with PADV, I have met and heard stories of many families that travel the difficult road from danger to safety; from fear to confidence; from abuse to love.  These stories are what inspire me to work tirelessly and be vocal about PADV’s life-saving mission.

It was these stories that drove me to join the executive board 5 years ago.  Since then my service has focused primarily on fundraising.   I am honored to have served two consecutive years as Chair of our largest fundraising effort, Hearts with Hope. This past May we raised over $700,000, which represents nearly 25% of PADV’s annual operating budget.

Awareness is essential but not enough. Awareness and sympathy do not provide the shelter, food, medical and psychological care, legal help, clothing and other essentials needed by those we help.

It takes, on average, seven attempts before a victim leaves their abuser for good. You may be asking yourself, “Why does it take so many attempts?” If you are like most people, it’s tempting to be judgmental.  We must suspend that judgment. The most common reason to return to an abuser is economic. Seeing no viable option for housing and feeding their children, women return, hoping and praying that the violence will get better. Our job is to offer another, viable option for housing and safety. Life in a shelter is not a normal life, even if it is safe. Life without employment is unsustainable. Life overflowing with psychological trauma is no life. Successful intervention demands a holistic approach.

And that’s exactly what PADV offers. From a hotline that fields 10,000 calls yearly to shelters, transitional living, preparing individuals for work, assistance with employment, legal advocacy and counseling, we care for those who have been abused. We also work to prevent intimate partner violence and help people recognize the early signs that their relationship is unhealthy. Beginning with teens, we offer education about what “healthy” looks like, what “controlling” looks like and why this is important.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it takes a very dedicated and loving village to save women and children from domestic violence.  

“I ask you - if not us, then who? If not now, when?”