June 2011

Vol. 3 Issue 3

Latest news and stories 
In This Issue
Refugee Hold in the U.S.
Client Success Story: Sandy Belio
Community Garden

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Classes start for a new

 Summer Term! 

  REAP graduation FEB2011  

Refugee Employment Attainment Program 


A New 5-week term started on

Tuesday May 31st!


The program combines

English language

learning with

topics like :

  • American Culture
  • Civil Participation
  • Employee Rights
  • Employment in the U.S. 

Refugees wishing

to register or 

volunteer mentors

interested in helping

a newcomer call:




Money Work$ 





proudly presents

its first graduates

at a ceremony

to be held on

June 30th.


These grads 

have worked hard

to accomplish

all program


and to achieve

their financial



A big


to the graduates of


Spanish language

cohort number 1.


Best wishes for

your ongoing

financial success! 



Once again, we bring you good news and bad news.  The bad first: New Government Security Checks have caused a break in the flow of new refugees to Opening Doors with corresponding challenges.  But good news abounds.  Entrepreneur Sandy Belio tells the story of her positive experiences with business counselor Roxana Calderon, and a Sacramento Lutheran church provides refugees with an Opportunity to Garden.  Plus, MoneyWork$ prepares to salute its first graduates and the REAP program begins its summer series.

Refugee Delay Cause Challenges  

The emotional & financial Impact of delayed refugees.

 Iraqu Refugee

In February, the Department of Homeland Security put a hold on almost all refugee arrivals into the U.S., pending a round of newly-mandated security checks. This hold seriously impacts waiting refugees, their families, and resettlement agencies across the U.S.


Refugees who have, after months or years of waiting, finally been cleared to travel, now must wait for additional weeks and months in refugee camps or temporary dwellings in the foreign countries they fled to. Refugees entering the U.S. are required to have health clearances within a specific amount of days prior to their immigration.  The wait for new security checks has caused many health clearances to expire, meaning refugees have to wait even longer for new health exams.  All this while refugees' meager resources dwindle in countries where they've taken temporary refuge but are unable to work. Finally, relatives of refugees here in the U.S. (who are themselves refugees) face tremendous disappointment and frustration waiting for family members who were expected this spring

Opening Doors has had no refugee arrivals in the past three months. This has created a severe financial strain for the organization, since its resettlement program is entirely funded by reimbursements for the refugees it resettles.  In other words, no refugees, no funding.  The dramatic decline of funds threatens Opening Doors' ability to retain its experienced resettlement staff, all of who are essential once the refugees inevitably begin to arrive. In response to the crisis, Opening Doors has cut resettlement staff hours, shifted staff to other programs, and struggled to manage overwhelmed storage units.

Opening Doors is currently attempting to fill a $15,000 hole in its budget due to the lost resettlement revenue.  Your donation, no matter how small, will make a big difference to the agency at this challenging time. 

ODI Client Success Story: Sandy Belio

Expanding her small business with help from ODI's Prosperity Project

Opening Doors Inc Client Sandy Belio


Earlier this year, Sandy Belio, was at a health fair at the La Familia Counseling Center, where her daughter was performing in a play. While browsing through the booths she stopped and picked up a pamphlet with information about Opening Doors. The rest, as they say, is history.


Belio is a general coordinator for Qincineras Magazine, a publication for young Hispanic girls planning their traditional fifteenth birthday celebration. She saw a need in the community for additional venue space for social events and began to dream of filling that need through a business of her own.


After learning about Opening Doors, she contacted the agency and met Roxana Calderon, the Prosperity Project Program Coordinator. Belio shared her idea about an event reception hall business. Calderon helped Belio put together a complete business plan, attain needed permits, license, and insurance.


"I couldn't be more thankful for all of Roxana's help and attention. Since day one she has been and still is extremely kind and patient and always willing to give time to each person," Belio said.


Today, Belio has an approved business plan and is looking at several locations in the Sacramento area to open her social hall. She is currently enrolled in Opening Doors' MoneyWork$ program to continue her financial education.


""The reason why I decided to start my own business is to give my daughter a better life and at the same time, I wanted to fulfill my dream of reaching my highest potential...," Belio said. "Opening Doors is truly 'opening doors' for everyone. It's only a matter of who wants to be someone and who goes the extra mile to get the information and help they need."


A Chance to Garden for Opening Doors Refugee Clients

How a new community garden is bringing communities together.   

Garden Photo 1
Opening Doors clients at Shepherd's Field community garden


 An unlikely source

gave rise to a new community garden for families in the Arden Manor neighborhood including refugees from Nepal. "It started with a shooting," Vickie Guanzon, apartment manager for Villa Capri Apartments said.


According to Guanzon, the shooting spurred action among community members who decided that something needed to be done to improve neighborhood conditions. "We needed to find something to do to keep people busy...and that's where the idea for a community garden came from," Guanzon said. Today, local residents of the Arden Manor neighborhood, including Opening Doors' clients like the Rai Dil family, are able to connect with their neighbors and spend time with their families at the Shepherd's Field Community Garden.


Introduced to the garden by Guanzon, the Rai Dils, refugees from Nepal, are enjoying being able to grow tomatoes, chilies, and pumpkins on their garden plot. Lal Maya Rai Dil spends most evenings at her garden plot watering her vegetables.


"She loves to work on the garden...she likes to pass the time there," Lal Maya's daughter, Bishnu said. Guanzon, whose tenants include families from Nepal, explains that for families like the Rai Dils, gardening is also a way to connect to their roots.


"The garden is a great thing for the tenants that come from Nepal because [gardening] is their background," Guanzon said.  Guanzon estimates that a total of eight or nine tenant families from Nepal are using the garden. All tools, supplies, and land were donated through the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd's Impact outreach program. There is no cost to garden for local residents.


Walking through the garden, where there was once litter and crime, rows of lavender plants greet grace the front walk while a chicken coop in a back lot provides entertainment and eggs.


"What this garden is doing is bringing families in our complex together," Guanzon said.


For more information about the Shepherd's Field Community garden click here.


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.