Spring Appeal 2022

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.

“My hopes and plans for the future are bigger than they’ve ever been!” – Crestina

Crestina’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 Crestina.

My name is Crestina and I am a single mother of a 3-year-old daughter named Catalayah. In 2020, my daughter and I moved in to live with my boyfriend.  He became abusive to the point that I lost two pregnancies. I moved in with a friend, but it ended badly. I started losing hope in everything and didn’t know how to cope. I turned to drugs and alcohol to help me numb the pain because it was all I knew. Even while under the influence, the two things I knew for sure was that I wanted to get sober and build a better life for me and my daughter.

Although I had been to the shelter in the past, this time was different because I was ready to make a change. I immediately talked to the staff about going to substance abuse counseling, therapy, and I started learning to use positive coping skills. I have been working on being a better mother for my daughter and finally taking steps to work on being a better me and using my full potential. I was never judged for my decisions in the past and I’ve felt nothing but support since coming here.

My hopes and plans for the future are bigger than they’ve ever been. I am planning to move into an apartment and maintain a stable household for Catalayah and me.  I am confident that I will remain sober and continue using coping techniques when things get hard. I will be participating in the aftercare program to continue getting support with budgeting, goal setting, and even day to day situations. I plan to finish school to get my GED and pursue college.

Staff has always listened to me and pushed me to work on myself, trust myself, and believe that I am worth it, which I have never believed before. They believed in me when no one else did. Staff are like a family to me and without the Teresa Shelter, I don’t know where I would be today

Dear Friends,

Planting seeds is a metaphor we often use. Sometimes, we serve women who leave quickly; and we have served women who have returned to Teresa Shelter many times.

I love stories like Crestina’s—she knew this time would be different because she was ready for change! Her past stays at the Shelter planted seeds and when things got tough again, she knew OPENING DOORS could help her make positive change. We are so proud of her progress!
Investing in Opening Doors is planting seeds into the hearts of women and children.


Carol Gebhart
Executive Director

Consider a gift to our 2022 Spring Appeal.
3 Ways to Give!

  1. Visit our donation page.
  2. MAIL your check to Opening Doors, 2100 Asbury Road, Suite 8, Dubuque, IA 52001.  CLICK HERE to print a donation form.
  3. Consider a recurring monthly gift of any amount!