Doors to Hope, a ministry of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth that aimed to help break the cycle of violence and poverty by educating immigrant women and their families, will close at the end of May.
Sister Brenda Gonzalez, director of Doors to Hope, said the closure was due to a combination of factors: the COVID-19 pandemic, a decline in volunteers and existing plans to merge services with other area organizations.
“We already do a lot of collaboration with other organizations in the area and we’ve used this last year to really discern and to look into things,” said Sister Gonzalez in an interview earlier this week.
Doors to Hope, which opened in 2012, provides educational programs to women and immigrant families in south-central Louisville. First housed at the Holy Name Church campus on South Third Street, the organization moved to a larger location at Sts. Simon and Jude Church, 4335 Hazelwood Avenue, in 2018.
Before the pandemic, Doors to Hope served about 100 people a week and it had about 60 to 65 regular volunteers, including high school students, retired teachers, Sisters of Charity and Xaverian Brothers.
The ministry offers instruction in English as a Second Language, GED and citizenship preparation, as well as computer classes, after-school tutoring and a women’s support group.
Because of COVID-19, the ministry had to suspend in-person services last spring. Staff offered creative ways to assist those who did not have the technology or the knowledge to continue their education virtually.
Even before the pandemic hit, leaders of Doors to Hope had explored the possibility of merging or collaborating with other area organizations, Sister Gonzalez said. Once Doors to Hope completes its services in May, it will refer its clients to other organizations that will continue to meet their needs, including La Casita Center, Americana Community Center, Backside Learning Center and Adelante Hispanic Achievers.
“All of us are sad to be closing. We have heard from our families that they are so appreciative. We have hope that this will be a seamless transition for folks,” Sister Gonzalez said. She also expressed gratitude to the scores of volunteers, donors and staff who have been involved with Doors to Hope.
The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth will continue to “be present and support the Latinx community in whatever ways possible, through volunteering in these organizations, possible grants, and especially with our prayers and love for this wonderful community that has been built and grown over the years,” a statement from the SCNs said.