For more than four decades, Casa Teresa in Orange County has provided a home for homeless pregnant women in crisis. It has saved the lives of countless women and their babies through its unique program.
Now, the shelter is getting long overdue renovations with the help of local organizations. At least 100 volunteers from Magic Builders, Angels Baseball Foundation and several other community partners are working to make this house an even more beautiful and comfortable home.
Heather Ayala used to live at the shelter. She's now a board member and says her life is what it is today because of Casa Teresa.
"When I came here, I was already committed to staying sober, I was committed to having a good life. But I really didn't understand that I deserved a good life and that was basically what I learned here was that I had value," Ayala said.
Different from most women's shelters, Casa Teresa provides apartment-style living, computer labs and community rooms.
Young women are also given the opportunity to take classes on topics ranging from healthy relationships to nutrition and mothering. According to program leaders, the women become more self-sufficient and heal from their past traumas.
Casa Teresa is so impactful, the alumni frequently come back to visit to share their stories and instill hope.
"Nobody leaves this place untouched and without their life having been improved, whether they stay a few days, or they stay a couple years," said Ayala.