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Our History


Opal’s House Inc. is a 501©3 non-profit organization founded in 2003 honoring the late  Dorothy “Opal” Harvey as a domestic violence intervention agency and shelter program serving women and women with children escaping domestic violence.

Dorothy “Opal”Harveywas a true pioneer and educator in theEast St Louiscommunity.  She began her teaching career in 1939 and broke many racial barriers.  History was truly made in 1956 when she became the first African American English teacher to integrateEast St. LouisSchool District189.  “Opal” was a devoted community servant and was always willing to lend a helping hand to those in need until her death in August 2002.  To keep her legacy alive, “Opal’s House” was established.  The need is immense for a safe haven in this metropolitan area and will be the only facility of its kind inEast St. Louisto provide emergency shelter to those escaping violent situations.

From 2005 – 2011, a collaborative effort between the University of Illinois (Champaign/Urbana campus) Professors and students with the ESLARP Program resulted in many, many hours of labor,  donating supplies, equipment, computer lab, fundraisers, building stairs (front porch & basement), removing wall paper, painting walls, Freedom By Design students designed plans for the back stairs, decks and a handicap ramp.  As a result of two of the U of I Professors involvement with Opal’s House, they engaged their prospective churches with the renovation process in which both church groups spent a week each summer making and assisting with renovations and donations.

OnApril 9, 2010, Opal’s House officially opened the doors to provide emergency shelter to abused women and children.  At the time of opening, the shelter had space to house 5 families with a total of 9 children.  Due to the changing of the housing arrangements and adding additional office space we can now house 4 families with a total of 10 children.

Upon opening the facility, Pastor Kendall Granger ofNewLifeCommunityChurchinEast St. Louis,ILand Pastor Rodney Bozeman ofHopewellBaptistChurchinWentzville,MOprovided monetary assistance with the utility bills to operate the facility during the first year.  Since opening, there has been an out pour of support from so many wonderful individuals, organizations, churches, schools and students, just too many to name.  As a result of the generosity given to us, Opal’s House is well stocked with all the necessities needed to provide to the families on a daily basis.


Safety Alert: Computer use can be monitored and is impossible to completely clear. If you are afraid your Internet and/or computer usage might be monitored, please use a safer computer, call the Opal’s House hotline, and/or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Internet and Computer Safety

  • There are hundreds of ways that computers record everything you do on the computer and on the Internet.
  • If you are in danger, please try to use a safer computer that someone abusive does not have direct access, or even remote (hacking) access to.
  • Use a safer computer. It might be safer to use a computer in a public library, at a community technology center (CTC) [www.ctcnet.org (national directory)], at a trusted friend’s house, or at an Internet Cafe.
  • If you think your activities are being monitored, they probably, are.  Abusive people are often controlling and want to know your every move. You don’t need to be a computer programmer or have special skills to monitor someone’s computer activities – anyone can do it and there are many ways to monitor.
  • Computers can provide a lot of information about what you look at on the Internet, the e-mails you send, and other activities.  It is not possible to delete or clear all computer “footprints”.
  • If you think you may be monitored on your home computer, you might consider no home Internet use or “safer” Internet surfing.  Example: If you are planning to flee to California, don’t look at classified ads for jobs and apartments, bus tickets, etc. for California on a home computer or any computer an abuser has physical or remote access to.  Use a safer computer to research an escape plan.
  • E-mail is not a safe or confidential way to talk to someone about the danger or abuse in your life – please call Opal’s House or the National Domestic Violence Hotline instead.
  • Traditional “corded” phones are more private than cellular phones or cordless phones.

Opal’s House |  P.O. Box 2316  |  East St. Louis, IL 62202  |  (877) 672-5482

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