February 2011

Latest news and stories 
In This Issue
MoneyWork$ Financial Academy
Baby on Board
Human Trafficking in Your Own Backyard
Estate Help Business Owner Has a Passion for Assisting Trafficking Survivors

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A Note from a Survivor



In some way, shape and form

I was a slave and prisoner

They kept me fear

I can't speak a word


I felt gaping hole in my heart

I didn't think I would be healed

I don't know what to do

I just wanted to die, give up and quit.


WEAVE and Opening Doors

The only place

That gives with its whole heart

And asks so very little


I meet wonderful staffs and friends

With kindness and care


Because I am special


Lifelong lesson

Never settle

To live for world




Our Supporters

This month a

Special thank you to


National Association of Women Business Owners Sacramento Chapter


who selected Opening Doors as their Philantrophy Partner 2011.



After a small break over the holidays our team started fully energized into the New Year: The Prosperity Project kicked off with its new MoneyWork$ Financial Academy, providing financial management classes and counseling sessions to families struggling to make ends meet. The Refugee Resettlement team welcomed newly arriving refugee families and a new born baby boy in Sacramento. The Surivor of Human Trafficking Program organized seven sucessful events during January; Human Trafficking Awareness month. Read more about Opening Doors work in this February newsletter.

MoneyWork$ Financial Academy

This year Opening Doors starts its new MoneyWork$ Financial Academy - a six month commitment to change your financial behavior

Tired of struggling making ends meet?

Three in ten non-elderly California households struggle to make ends meet. However, the federal poverty measure captures only about a third of the nearly 2.9 million households in California who need assistance. The other two thirds fall through the cracks of our support system, unable to qualify from many programs that would strengthen their effort to gain support. These are California's "working poor".


We are pleased to announce that Opening Doors will address this neglected population with its Money Work$ Financial Academy focused on households in the Sacramento Region with incomes above the federal poverty threshold but under the region's financial self-sufficiency standard.


The MoneyWork$ Financial Academy is a six-month "financial makeover" program, through which these families will gain a greater understanding of their current financial situation, improve their financial management practices and develop a personal roadmap to self-sufficiency. The program increases their understanding of finances and ultimately aims at helping families achieve the behavioral change needed to get out of debt, retain more of their assets and achieve their financial goals. Besides weekly class sessions participants will be part of support group meetings and receive one-on-one financial counseling. Upon completion of all program requirments, particpants will receive a graduation certificate and a completion award - a deposit of from $100 to $150 into their savings account.


Two of MoneyWork$'s three cohorts during its first program year will be offered in Spanish and aimed at the area's Hispanic community.  Opening Doors has seen both the need and the strong desire for financial management education among its Latino clients. Many have little understanding of the US financial system and a distrust of banks based on experiences in other countries. The Bank on Sacramento initiative reports that in California 27% of Latino households do not have a checking account.  If we apply these rates to Sacramento's Hispanic population we can extrapolate that over 55,000 Latino residents are unbanked, and more than 77,500 have no checking account.


Our MoneyWork$ partnership with the Community Services Planning Council became possible with the help of United Way, Rabobank and Wells Fargo.  Its Spanish-language cohort started on January 31th. Its second cohort, in English, will begin in March. Another cohort is planned for April.


Opening Doors is currently seeking partners that share its vision of helping low income families attain their financial goals, and that wish to work together to extend MoneyWork$ beyond its initial funding.


Baby on Board

 Recent refugees start new family in America

Refugee Resettlement Director Azra and Mariia with newly born Daniel


"I can't believe I'll be having a baby in five days," Mariia expressed excitedly to one of our volunteer interns as they were driving to a pre-natal appointment.


Little did she know, she would go into labor that very day.


Mariia, a 21-year-old refugee from Ukraine, and her Iranian husband, Ahad, have lived in Sacramento for about six months. After settling into a new culture and life in Northern California, they are happy to announce a new addition to their family:  a healthy and happy baby boy, Daniel.


Mariia, who arrived in the US four months pregnant, has utilized Opening Doors' services throughout her term. In addition to the usual services ODI provides, including transportation to appointments at the Department of Human Services and Social Security office, ODI staff and volunteer interns provided Mariia with assistance at pre-natal appointments, the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) office for nutritional support, and Birth & Beyond, a family resource center in Sacramento County.


In addition to the services offered by Opening Doors, the couple received support from the Westminster Presbyterian Church, the Gabriel Project, and Hartford CARES, who generously donated essential baby supplies to help the young refugee family get on their feet.


Azra Bajramovic, the Refugee Resettlement Program Director, visited the couple on Saturday to help welcome Daniel to the Opening Doors family. Mariia and Ahad expressed gratitude for the ongoing support and look forward to unraveling the next chapter of their lives together in the United States.


Human Trafficking in Your Own Backyard

Look beneath the surface and recognize those who have no voice, or whose voice has been taken away.  


Human Trafficking Awareness Banner
Grassroots Awareness Campaign in Midtown Sacramento

 January marked ODI's first annual HUMAN TRAFFICKING AWARENESS MONTH! Events were held throughout the month in a collaborative effort to raise awareness on human trafficking.


The month was commemorated by a total of 6 events! ODI hosted 2 movie nights, addressing both labor and sex trafficking issues immediately followed by a Q & A panel, a silent demonstration on the UC Davis campus, a grassroots awareness campaign, an informational booth at Sac State, and a concluding grand event held at the ARC ballroom, UC Davis. All events were united by a common theme:




January 20th, 2011- Opening Doors presented "Human Trafficking in Our Own Backyard" at the ARC Ballroom, UC Davis. The event proved to be a great success with well over 200 guests, speakers, professionals, students, and influential experts working in the field present. Dedicated volunteers assumed the voice of a victim of trafficking by conveying their messages through written testimonials. Influential experts in the community, such as Alejandro Celorio of the Mexican Consulate, Lee Witkowski of the FBI, Mary Jennings of SETA, Mike Brim of WIND Youth Services, and Tanya Shannon of Opening Doors, were present to address various aspects surrounding human trafficking in relation to our own community. Tanya Shannon provided a thorough training on human trafficking, designed to tackle common misunderstandings and increase the general awareness in the public.


Our clients' strength and perseverance has inspired us all. Please enjoy one example of a victims' expression of self in the left column.


Estate Help Business Owner Has a Passion for Assisting Trafficking Survivors


When Jennie Krausse learned about Opening Doors' work with survivors of human trafficking she immediately knew she needed to be involved.  Jennie runs Estate Sale Help, a business that assists families who are going through the often-difficult process liquidating the estates of loved ones.  She and her crew turn an estate into a living museum and tribute to the person or people who once lived in the home, posting a video and biographical info on their website and sending information to their special emailing list of sale enthusiasts.  They run the sale, then they fully clean up the property. 


Opening Doors staff approached Jennie requesting donations of furniture or household goods that aren't sold.  Jennie shocked them by leaping beyond their expectations.  On a Tuesday in late January, Jennie conducted an estate sale in East Sacramento, and donated 100% of her proceeds to Opening Doors.  Beyond that, her staff, Elizabeth, Ed, Ricardo, Gabriel, Philip, and Chuck, each donated their entire day's work to help trafficking survivors, and she encouraged those attending the sale to donate to the agency.  These donations are now making a real difference in the lives of those who have escaped trafficking. The staff at Opening Doors extends a huge "thanks" to Jennie and her amazing team!!


Jennie is now in conversation with Opening Doors about future benefit sales and other ways we might all work together to help end human slavery and assist those who have escaped its clutches.


Thank you for following our work. Together we can make a difference in the lives of refugees, survivors of human trafficking  and other underserved residents in the Greater Sacramento region. If you would like to volunteer or make a donation, please click here



David Blicker

Executive Director
Opening Doors, Inc.