A place to be | August 8, 2014 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |


Palo Alto Weekly

Cover Story - August 8, 2014

A place to be

Deborah's Palm helps local women feel connected, valued, empowered

by Sam Sciolla

Just a few blocks away from the bustle of downtown Palo Alto, there is a house whose old-fashioned style, blue hues and slender palm tree evoke feelings of serenity. A white picket fence and a gate overhung by vines separates the sidewalk from a leafy garden, where lawn chairs sit invitingly in the sun.

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Editorial Assistant Sam Sciolla can be emailed at ssciolla@paweekly.com.


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Posted by matra Majmundar
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 8, 2014 at 10:13 am

Congrats to Katie Ritchey !!!
Most needed center for women's need is Deborah's Palm.
In society we need to harness women’s energy through supportive services for the women by the women to bring out the highest physical, emotional and spiritual potential. In this process women who are in need and women who helps empowered them selves tremendously.

Matra Majmundar
Occupational and Yoga Therapist, Peri Natal Educator
Founder of the Indo American Community Service Center.
Board member- The Palo Alto Family Y and The International Association of Yoga Therapy (IAYT).

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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2014 at 10:25 am

Wish I could use Deborah's Palm, but it is not handicapped accessible.

The only elevator they have is an outdoor freight-style device, completely open to the rain. And it can only be operated by key. The key is kept by a facilities person, who is not there much of the time.


If this changes, I would sure like to know because I'd like to participate in programs at Deborah's Palm.

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Posted by member
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2014 at 10:26 am

Noticing the flight of stairs, I am wondering how a wheelchair user or anyone with difficulty navigating stairs would get into the building.......

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Posted by Margaret Fruth
a resident of Ventura
on Aug 8, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Margaret Fruth is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

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Posted by traceychen
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 8, 2014 at 1:38 pm

[Post removed.]

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Posted by Katie Ritchey
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 8, 2014 at 2:09 pm

We do have an operating elevator, that works consistently. There is someone here all the time. We would not be able to operate if this wasn't so.
We have women use it daily.

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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2014 at 2:22 pm

[Post removed.]

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Posted by Robin Metz
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 8, 2014 at 2:52 pm

As a frequent user of Deborah's Palm and a volunteer there, I had occasion to use the elevator many times after knee surgery. If you call ahead to alert the person at the front desk, they would be happy to assist anyone who needs to use the elevator.

Like this comment
Posted by Annie
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 8, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Wow, out of the all the positive and hopeful things about this place, you guys complain about the elevator?
There is a lot of hearsay about this elevator, so let me set the record straight. It's not archaic--it was built in 2009-2010 right before the center opened. It is not a "freight" elevator and cost a lot of money to have an ADA certified/compliant company install. Just an FYI, but the center can't actually be open unless there is an elevator that is to code with ADA and fully operational. All the women there are more than happy to help operate the elevator and there are keys always on site. Lastly, what rain?

Like this comment
Posted by Paula leslie
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 8, 2014 at 6:59 pm

I have tremendous admiration for Katie Ritchey. When the center had just opened I had an opportunity to meet Katie. The building was newly remodeled and she spoke about her dream for the center -- helping women from diverse backgrounds.
Well as someone who has been working in Palo Alto deborah's Palm is a special place for women of all ages and backgrounds to get needed help and tools to assist them in their lives.

Were it not for Katie's unwavering determination and huge amounts of time given to the center,I believe it never would have succeeded. THANK YOU KATiE.

Paula Leslie

Like this comment
Posted by Martha Ryan
a resident of another community
on Aug 9, 2014 at 10:29 am

I have known and worked with Katie Ritchey for a number of years. I am inspired by her vision for Deborah's Palm.....a beautiful place to learn of the many resources available there and other opportunities in the area. The diversity in their offerings is truly amazing. Katie has a big and generous heart for her passion of growing Deborah's Palm and making it sustainable.

All of you who read this article should attend the Aug 16 Open House and become a supporter and donor. Once you visit this magical place, you will be hooked. Good luck Katie and much success on Aug 16. W

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Posted by Maryanne
a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 16, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Thank you for this lengthy profile of a valuable resource for our community. I was especially pleased to read about the availability of sliding scale counseling services for local women. Should men or children need sliding scale services, Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley (on Cambridge Avenue; formerly known as Family Service Mid-Peninsula) offers sliding scale individual and family counseling. Psychiatric services also are available for counseling clients who do not have insurance yet are in need of medication support.

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Posted by Donne Davis
a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 19, 2014 at 3:33 pm

I met Katie 3 years ago when one of my grandma friends said "you two must meet!" I'm so glad I did because so many wonderful opportunities have come from our meeting. Barbara Tyler's goal setting class was one of them.
The reporter who wrote this story did an excellent job of capturing the spirit of Deborah's Palm. I tell everyone I know about Katie and her vision.
Ariza Valadao, who's featured in the story, is also one of my grandma friends and a member of the GaGa Sisterhood, a social network I founded in 2003.
Thank you, Katie for the rich community you've created.

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Posted by Sara Taylor
a resident of another community
on Aug 21, 2014 at 5:08 pm

Every community needs a Deborah's Palm!! For women, especially highly functioning professionals, it can be SO easy to just forget how much we need nurturing and community. Keep up the great work, and thanks for posting such an in-depth article on a Palo Alto treasure!

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Posted by Barbara
a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 17, 2016 at 3:22 pm

USPS Postal Exam Workshop:: Learn How to Take the Exam for USPC JOBS...
I hour (free) in Menlo Park Sunday Nov. 20 Starts at 10.30 am at the
Menlo Atherton Center 4 Performing Arts Center...555 Middlefield Rd.
Atherton...RSVP by Friday Nov. 18...415-550-5669..seating is limited.