2012 Year in Review

 

2012 was a year of abundant growth.  Here is a brief summary of our specifics.  

 

Stopping human trafficking in our community.  Many Sacramento area residents are shocked when they learn that our community is a hub for human trafficking.  Opening Doors is now a leader in building public understanding—by leading education sessions for the general public and trainings for professionals, such as law enforcement personnel and hospital emergency room staff. Our staff and volunteers also started a campaign to encourage the City of Sacramento to enforce inspections of massage parlors to uncover human trafficking.

  • 3,749 Sacramento area residents have learned how to identify and report human trafficking

Starting fresh after being trafficked.  Those who escape from trafficking situations must cope with trauma and damaged self-esteem, which can be even more difficult in a country where they don’t speak the language, and don’t understand the customs and institutions.  Through comprehensive case management, Opening Doors assists survivors through this difficult transition period.  During 2012, through our Survivors of Human Trafficking program:

  • 36 survivors of human trafficking and their children started new lives in freedom and safety

Building independence and fighting back.  Opening Doors expanded its Immigration Legal Services Program, which focuses on assisting foreign-born survivors of human trafficking and domestic abuse to obtain special visas that enable them to stay in the US and assist law enforcement to investigate and prosecute those who hurt them.  While the visa process is slow, the first results are beginning to come through.  Through Opening Doors’ Immigration Legal Assistance Program in 2012:

  • 16 clients are waiting to hear the results of visa applications filed this year
  • 2 clients received visas enabling them to legally stay, work, and assist law enforcement

Starting all over in safety.  Some of the world’s refugees from Iraq, Eritrea, Burma, Iran and other troubled areas came to Sacramento in 2012 to begin new lives.  Many have suffered the trauma of war, imprisonment, and countless deprivations.  In 2012, with help from volunteers, donors of furniture and household goods, and generous congregations, through our Refugee Resettlement Program:

  • 126 refugees were assisted in obtaining housing, healthcare, education, ESL classes, and jobs

Learning employment and health skills.  Many Iraqis come with years of professional skills and experience, but finding a job in the US context is different from doing so in Iraq. Using volunteers from the community, RHEAP provides Iraqi families with educational services that help them succeed in their new home.  Through our RHEAP program, in 2012:

  • 52  Iraqi refugee adults and 50 kids gained English language, healthy living and/or job
    attainment skills, and 9 Iraqi refugee youth assisted their community as program volunteers
  • 5  Iraqi refugees obtained employment
  • 8  Iraqi refugees made significant lifestyle changes to improve their health

Reaching dreams despite limited income.  During its second year, our financial capability program, MoneyWork$, matured and expanded.  Partly due to referrals from past graduates, numbers of participants swelled. Through the MoneyWork$ program, during 2012:

  • 60 lower-income Sacramento area residents increased their savings
  • 70 residents improved their income/expense ratio; 41 residents decreased their debt
  • 95 demonstrably improved their financial management skills
  • 53 used financial institutions more extensively or more wisely

Self-sufficiency and jobs through small business.  This year Opening Doors stepped up to fill a dire need in our community for business microloans.  Building upon our years of experience lending to refugee entrepreneurs, we now offer financing in amounts under $50,000 for the broad cross-spectrum of Sacramento area small-business owners.  Meanwhile, we have continued assisting refugees to start or grow their businesses.  As a result of our microenterprise assistance and loans, during 2012:

  • Entrepreneurs created 13 jobs and retained 10 jobs through business stabilization
  • Entrepreneurs started 8 businesses and stabilized or improved 4 businesses
  • 163 entrepreneurs improved their business skills through business technical assistance

Volunteerism transforms lives.  All of these positive changes in the lives of our community members were possible because of our many dedicated volunteers and generous donors. 

  • 39  interns increased their marketable skills and are better prepared for careers
  • 26  ESL tutors learned about Iraqi culture and benefited by assisting students of RHEAP
  • 8   volunteers’ lives were changed by mentoring newly arrived refugees