March 2014

Vol. 6 Issue 1

Latest News and Updates
In This Issue:
Pampered Pet Salon & Boutique
New Microenterprise Program
Breaking Free: Immigration Legal Services

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Current Events
Financial Capabilities
We are proud to be participating in Financial Education Week, which connects immigrant populations to services that help them to better plan and manage financial resources.
More information here.

Give Local Now
On Tuesday, May 6, you have 24 hours to give where your heart is. Inspire and unite our community by donating to Opening Doors on the BIG Day of Giving

We are thrilled to be planning the second RHEAP session for the year! We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers to join our ESL tutoring team for the session starting March 17th.
Email us to apply.
Introducing New Staff
We are excited to introduce two new staff members to join our team.
Helen Wei, an undergraduate student at UC Davis, joined us at the end of December as an Accounting Clerk.
Emma Lindrose joined us mid-January as Marketing and Development Manager.
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       We begin this year by continuing to improve our programs to better serve the needs of our clients. None of this would be possible without contributions from you -- our donors and community supporters. The following stories are a testament to how your contributions have real impact in our community.


      These successes would not be possible without your support. Please Give Now to change the lives of even more people in 2014. Thank you.




Debra DeBondt
Chief Executive Officer

Opening Doors, Inc. 


Pampered Pet Salon Thrives in Folsom

"I used to hate working four days a week, 
but now I work six days a week and 
I've never been happier."

-Kimberly Haines,

owner of Pampered Pet Salon & Boutique


Haines with a freshly groomed customer.

Some call it posh; Kimberly Haines calls it elegant. The Pampered Pet Salon & Boutique in Folsom is Haines' unique vision and passion for grooming healthy pets for happy owners. The salon is not clinical or bland with plain white walls, nor does it smell like most pet grooming shops. Instead, Haines has created a safe and relaxing place where pet owners can drop off their furry loved ones for a one-of-a-kind grooming experience.


Haines worked for a chain pet grooming store for about seven years, but after earning a business marketing degree from Sacramento State and with support from her family, she realized she didn't have to work for someone else the rest of her life.


She combined her skills and knowledge of pet grooming and utilized resources from SCORE to put together a solid business plan for a pet grooming business and retail store. Haines had help from an Opening Doors loan committee member and SCORE mentor, Frank Cuzzo. Haines was unable to secure a loan from banks because her personal capital was not high enough, so Cuzzo recommended she apply for a loan through Opening Doors.


The advice turned out to be revolutionary. Haines applied for a loan in June of 2013 and was accepted the following month. On November 13th, she held the salon's grand opening, and her business success has been improving ever since. Thanks to the business loan from Opening Doors, Haines became self-employed doing the work she enjoys most.

The Salon's Grand Opening!


Haines is truly 


about pet 

care and is committed to providing great service. Haines loves to see her customers light up when they leave with their freshly groomed, happy, and pampered pets.


Three months after the grand opening, the salon is doubling its projections. Haines credits her success to her happy customers spreading the word as well as the salon's great location in a busy shopping center on the corner of Folsom-Auburn Road and Greenback.


With plenty of space and strong encouragement from customers, Haines wants to make the store a retail destination and plans to start a doggie daycare. After helping Haines achieve such remarkable success, we are excited to watch Haines' business improve and expand in the near future.


Visit their Facebook and website to show your support!

Pampered Pet
Pampered Pet Salon & Boutique
6610 Folsom-Auburn Road
Folsom, CA 95630
Does your small business qualify for a loan?
Contact us to see if you qualify.

Safe, Affordable Childcare

Filling the Gap in Sacramento


 Opening Doors is pleased to announce that it will offer a new loan program for family-owned, start-up businesses that provide affordable childcare in Sacramento.


For low-income parents in our community, the struggle to attain affordable childcare can be the difference between financial stability and homelessness. We will partner with Child Action, Inc. to offer a number of services, including multilingual training in child development, licensing assistance, and start-up funding. 


With the help of this program, entrepreneurs can meet the immense need in the community for affordable childcare, as well as stimulate the economy through small-business development.


Read the full story on our website.


Breaking Free

Ellen was trapped in an abusive relationship, afraid of losing her legal status and the life she built here with her 17-year-old daughter. Opening Doors helped Ellen find immigration relief, but she needed to gather strength for the 14-month battle ahead.


Married to a man that was emotionally and economically abusive, Ellen had no control over her money and felt as if she had no way of escaping her situation. Because her permanent resident card was conditional upon her marriage to a US citizen, Ellen feared that if she tried to divorce her husband, she would be forced to leave the country with her daughter who was born and raised here. 


In order to prevent marriage fraud, the Immigration and Nationality Act does not immediately grant immigrants like Ellen permanent residence after marrying a US citizen. Instead, they are granted a green card on a conditional basis until the couple applies for permanent residence jointly. This places abused immigrant women in a vulnerable position because their abuser can refuse to file the petition and then use the uncertain immigration status as a means of control. (NIWAP Resource Library)


Ellen was certain she had no chance of breaking free until she was referred to Opening Doors. Erika Gonzalez, Immigration Legal Services Program Manager, helped Ellen apply for a Battered Spouse Waiver, which eliminates the joint filing requirement and allows Ellen to apply for permanent residence independently. This gave Ellen hope, but her struggle for freedom was not over.


While this waiver offers Ellen a way out of the abusive relationship, Ellen's case took an excruciating fourteen months to complete. Ellen had to prove to Citizenship and Immigration Services officers that she was emotionally subjected to extreme cruelty at the hands of her abuser. This meant recalling and detailing specific incidents of abuse, and describing her own feelings of fear for her and her daughter's safety.

"It was an uphill battle, but Ellen really showed her strength in gathering all the evidence she could," said Ms. Gonzalez.


There were other hurdles to overcome. The officers handling Ellen's case did not initially approve her fee waiver because her joint tax returns showed that she had a large income, and her bank checks included both her and her spouses' name. "I had to make sure that they understood this was part of the financial control," says Ms. Gonzalez about her role in process, "Her spouse was only giving her an allowance and she could only take out money with permission."


Despite several obstacles, Ellen remained strong and continued to work closely with Ms. Gonzalez until her case was approved. Through referrals and encouragement from Opening Doors, Ellen sought counseling from local domestic violence agencies that helped her successfully divorce her abuser. 

Thank you
"Thank God I was referred to Opening Doors. I now have my permanent green card and can start to build a new life for my daughter and myself," said Ellen.

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