South Hayward United Methodist Church's Open Door Ministry has been featured in a recent edition of the San Francisco publication, El Mensajero.
The online edition found at www.impre.com/elmensajero/noticias/comunidad, dated November 16, highlights the inroads the program is making in the South Hayward community.
Formed in June, 2005 by Teresa and Eva Basa, "Open Door" was originally created to provide support to women suffering from domestic violence in the church's South Hayward neighborhood. Today, however—stressing the open door philosophy—this program is open to all women who wish to improve themselves.
The program's goal is to empower women by providing the education and tools needed to help them find employment in the future. The women learn English as a Second Language, arts and crafts, and develop computer skills within a safe environment.
One of the students, Juana Villalobos, referred to as "Juanita" by her classmates, is quoted in the article as saying, "Besides learning new abilities and tools through the program, I have acquired more self-confidence and my self-esteem has improved. [The program] Open Door has helped me learn English, computer skills, and handcrafting; it has opened a world of possibilities to me, of which I had no idea."
Founder and Executive President of Open Door, Teresa Base, affirms, "It has been an honor to have been in a position to fill a need in the community. I feel that Open Door not only creates the possibility to educate the residents of the community about the true realities of the immigrant but provides a good example for other social and regional entities so they may follow our lead and apply these policies to the whole city."
By providing classes and childcare free of charge, this program truly does open doors for many women.
The ESL and computer classes are Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Arts & Crafts classes are on Tuesdays at 9 a.m.
Visit their site at www.opendoorclasses.org or call 510-780-9599 for details on Open Door's history and for ways in which to contribute to this program.