Spring Appeal 2021

Opening Doors offers much more than a place to sleep. With your help, we can provide an opportunity for women to claim their power and become self-sufficient. Giving them a hand up, not a handout. A gift of any size is greatly appreciated.  Click here to donate.

“Don’t be afraid of change, it is leading you to a new beginning.” Anonymous

Lora’s Story

Opening Doors is a nonprofit organization that helps women and children who are experiencing homelessness.  We provide goal setting and life skills training that enable them to achieve their full potential.  We offer a hand up in the world, not a handout. Since 2000, Opening Doors has served thousands women and children through a continuum of services. Teresa Shelter offers emergency and extended stay programs. Maria House offers transitional housing for up to two years. Francis Apartments offers an opportunity for income-based affordable housing with support services; a combination that has proven to be effective at ending the cycle of homelessness.

My name is Lora.
I am a single mother of a five-month-old daughter named Ella. In November of 2020, I moved in with an ex who was abusive and caused me to lose custody of my son. Soon after, I became homeless and knew no one from Dubuque and had nowhere to go. I felt as though I had hit rock bottom and I turned to Teresa Shelter for help. I entered the program in November and coming here has given me the skills and help I needed to become a better mother for my daughter.

While staying at Teresa Shelter, I started saving and learning skills to help me budget my money. Staff supported me as I began seeing a counselor to help me with coping skills to deal with my depression. I was able to get my daughter into daycare so I could start my first real job at Culver’s. Staff helped provide resources to get me to and from work and talked through the potential transportation barriers I would face. Staff also helped me take the steps needed to get involved in the NICC Drive Program to obtain my driver’s license. They also helped me get into the NICC HSED program with a goal of being able to get a higher paying job which will help support me and my daughter.

My plans for the future involve completing the program here at Teresa Shelter and eventually moving into the Francis Apartments where I can have stable housing for Ella and me. I also plan to pursue a college degree in business. I am saving money to get my own vehicle so I have reliable transportation to take Ella to appointments and to be able to get back and forth to work.

I am thankful for Teresa Shelter because without them, I would not be where I am today. Through my hard work and with the support of Opening Doors’ staff, I have been able to keep my daughter in my care and provide for her while accomplishing many goals of my own.

Spring—A Time for Change

Change…a word that holds much challenge and hope!

Our world has changed much in the past year. We definitely had to change and make adjustments to our lives. Unfortunately, these changes just added additional burdens to the women and children we serve.

Lora is committed to change—to take the brave steps and create a safe life for her daughter. Lora could not get the support she needs without your help. When you have caring advocates on your side, change doesn’t seem so difficult. Thank you for helping lighten the load!

Carol Gebhart
Executive Director