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Site Description

Opal’s House is a domestic violence shelter and intervention agency serving families in East St. Louis. More than that, it is a true home for women and children who find themselves in need of a safer space to live and grow while they transition into an alternate permanent living situation. Opal’s House was founded in 2003 by Essie Calhoun to provide temporary shelters about 90 days maximum for the abused women and their children. It was named after the first African-American woman teacher in the school district , Opal Harvey, who was Essie’s aunt.

Taken from the Opal’s House website (,

Opal’s House provides the HAT of life:

We instill      Harmony–offering peace and tranquility from violence

We honor     Altruism–promoting safety and the well-being of all women & children

We value      Togetherness–building unity within families to shield us from violence

The physical space we will be working with is primarily the basement computer lab area. This space, like most basements, is a bit cold, dark, and lacking in personality, which is a huge contrast to the rest of the house. In the main room, there is a large circular table used for the children’s art therapy, a small desk for a kid’s computer, two large desks for staff computers, and a long rectangular table for the resident computers. We will also be adding computers to Essie’s personal office (also in the basement) and the intake office (on the main floor of the house), but will not be altering those spaces at all.