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3 Great Reasons to Register for Sleep Out Saturday

September 22, 2014

SOS kids 2013Sleep Out Saturday will be held November 1 this year, and it’s quickly approaching! Here are three great reasons you should register your group to participate today:

1. It’s needed. For the 2013/14 school year, there were 1,633 children in DuPage County schools identified as homeless — a 26% jump from the previous school year. That’s 1,633 children too many. The funds your team raises from Sleep Out Saturday goes to support Bridge Communities families in major ways: housing, employment training, mentoring, case management, plus tutoring and summer camps for kids. YOU can make a difference in their lives!

2. It’s fun! The event kicks off with an inspirational rally and concert, and you’ll hear success stories shared by Bridge families. Then, each group is transported to their own site, where they’ll participate in activities throughout the evening.

3. It’s meaningful. The activities we provide come from our “What’s It Like To Be Homeless?” Curriculum, designed to give kids and adults alike a better understanding of suburban homelessness, its impacts, and how we can change our community. The impact of participating in Sleep Out Saturday will be felt by your group, family and friends long after the event concludes.

Click here to register today!

Hog-Wild for Charity at Glen Ellyn Backyard BBQ

September 16, 2014


bbqThe Glen Ellyn Backyard BBQ Cook-Off was held on Saturday, September 13, and more than 1,800 attendees went hog-wild to support the homeless. The event featured concerts by blues musicians Chainsaw Dupont, Buzz Kilman, Mud Morganfield and The Steepwater Band, plus raffles, a bags tournament, a Piglet Playland for kids, and more.

Of course, the cook-off aspect of the event was highly anticipated, as more than 60 competitors from across the Midwest spent the day perfecting their entries. The winners for each category were:

-Grand Champion: Ace of Diamonds BBQ
-Reserve Grand Champion: Hot Diggity Hog
-People’s Choice Best Sauce: Hoggy Style
-Judged Sauce: Hot Diggity Hog
-Best Dish: Mile High BBQ
-Best Ribs: Four Fathers BBQ

In its sixth year, the event still stays true to its roots, and at its heart is an event by the community and for the community. A committee comprising local Glen Ellyn residents, plus dozens of volunteers, worked tirelessly to put this event together, and many sponsors contributed to make this such a fantastic event. Because of all involved–as well as the thousands of attendees–$29,000 was raised to help the homeless families served by DuPage County. A big THANK YOU to everyone involved!

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Patrick Foley Linda Mirabella Missy Olson Bryan McWherter Meg Zubak Bart Findley

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Meet Hamlet

August 25, 2014

HamletHamlet’s the mascot of the Glen Ellyn Backyard BBQ, and he’d like to see all his friends while he’s in town.

From September 2-12, Hamlet will stop at different downtown Glen Ellyn businesses.

Each day, follow his clues on and to find Hamlet. Take a selfie with Hamlet, post it on Bridge’s Facebook page or tag @BridgeDuPage on Twitter, and you’ll be entered into a raffle to win a prize basket from Marcel’s Culinary Experience.

See you at the BBQ on September 13!

Make a Difference in the Lives of Bridge Kids

August 18, 2014
PicMonkey Collage_LRCAt Bridge Communities’ Learning Resource Centers, Bridge kids participate in a variety of fun, educational and enriching programs and activities.

We need more volunteers at our Glendale Heights and Westmont locations to help Bridge kids learn and grow–can you volunteer?

Learning Resource Center volunteers help out twice a month (minimum) for 2-3 hours per shift. Volunteers connect with Bridge families by organizing games and activities, planning events with kids and parents, and helping build the community.

Are you interested in becoming a volunteer? E-mail Sharon Drucker, Children’s Activities Coordinator for Bridge Communities, at

Thank you for supporting Bridge Communities families!

Calling all volunteers: We need YOU September 13!

August 12, 2014


bbqThe 6th Annual Glen Ellyn Backyard BBQ is right around the corner, and we need friends of Bridge to help make this a successful event. Sign up to volunteer for a shift! Options include helping with ticket sales, registration, raffles, beverage sales and more. Enjoy a fun day of BBQ, a free concert and a great community!


Saturday, September 13
11 AM-9 PM
Glen Ellyn’s Crescent Blvd/Glenwood Ave Parking Lot
Volunteers shifts are 2.5 hours


All event proceeds benefit homeless families served by Bridge Communities


Find out more on the Glen Ellyn Backyard BBQ Website, and e-mail Committee Member Steve Stewart with questions at
Thank you for supporting Bridge Communities families!



Extreme Makeover: Bridge Tutor Rooms Edition

August 5, 2014

Welcome to the new tutor rooms!

The tutor rooms in Bridge Communities’ buildings recently underwent an extreme makeover, thanks to the Windy City Project. Organized by Pastors Scott Gillan and Diana Shiflett of Naperville Evangelical Covenant Church, the Windy City Project utilized a team of more than 100 volunteers to raise funds and donate their time and talent to overhauling the tutor rooms at two Glen Ellyn and one Addison building.

NECC raised all the money needed, they provided all the manpower needed and all the supplies, including new IKEA furniture and paint, and built bookshelves and desks. They even included in the service project to update the adjoining laundry rooms in these buildings, and put in new bike racks as well.

Bridge Communities and the families thank the Windy City Project–this school year is now sure to be a success!

A heartfelt thank-you also goes to the Restoration Community Church. Because of their fundraising, Bridge was able to remodel a fourth tutor room this summer, at our Woodridge site. We appreciate it!


The laundry rooms were freshly painted and organized


New bike racks for clients


New desks, chairs and bookshelves, courtesy of the Windy City Project


In addition to the new furniture, the walls were freshly painted, too


Now, Bridge kids across the county have amazing learning environments


Thank you, Windy City Project!

8 Easy Ways to Help Homeless Families in DuPage County

July 24, 2014

Whether you have 2 free hours per week or 2 free hours per year, there is a perfect way for YOU to make a difference in the live of homeless families in DuPage County. Here are the top 8 easy ways to get involved at Bridge Communities.

photo1_SOS1. Participate in Sleep Out Saturday. With your family or a group of friends, spend the night of November 1 outside for Sleep Out Saturday. Participants of all ages will experience a night of homelessness by sleeping out in parking lots and parks and backyards. All money raised from the event will support families in the Bridge program, funding the housing, employment training, mentoring, case management, plus tutoring and summer camps for kids. Register your group now!


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2. Volunteer at a Learning Resource Center. Get involved by volunteering at one of Bridge Communities community-based Learning Resource Centers (LRC). Volunteers help monitor the LRCs during designated evening hours. No special skills are required – just a desire to interact with elementary and middle school age children in fun and academic activities, and the availability for volunteer twice per month for 2-3 hours at a time.  Adults and teens are both welcome volunteers. LRCs are located in Glendale Heights, Naperville and Westmont and are open on designated evenings. E-mail for details.


Alica 23. Mentor a Bridge Family. Mentors operate as members of a Bridge Communities’ Program Partner group from their faith-based or community organization. Mentors are the primary contact in the client family’s service team. This team is made up of the homeless family, volunteer mentors and professional case manager. Mentors typically work in a team of two or three volunteers, and meet with the family on a weekly basis. Learn more.


IMG_36074. Tutor a Bridge Child. Are you a certified teacher looking for an opportunity to help children of homeless families now living in transitional housing? Students meet with their tutors once or twice each week, for one hour each session. Tutoring typically takes place in one of our three Learning Resource Centers located in Glendale Heights, Naperville and Westmont or one of our other Tutor Centers in Glen Ellyn, Addison and Woodridge. For more information, e-mail


DenotraRamsey-JodiFegter5. Volunteer for Bridge’s Employment Program. This is a perfect opportunity for busy professionals! We need volunteers to help with mock interviews for our job-seeking clients. Volunteers are needed on an occasional, flexible basis, and must have a history of employment as well as hiring and/or management experience. For details, e-mail


2014LashondawithCar6. Donate Your Car to Bridge. Without a reliable car, daily activities we take for granted–getting to work, dropping the kids off at school, running errands or making it to a doctor’s appointment–could be incredibly difficult.This is the reality that many Bridge Communities families face every day. By donating your used car to Bridge’s auto donation program, you can help put a family on the way to self-sufficiency. Learn how you can donate your car to a Bridge family


photo-25_rotate7. Organize a Donation Drive or Fundraiser. Bridge Communities accepts and distributes donated goods to client families throughout the year. Donated furniture, gift cards, automobiles and gasoline cards are very helpful to families when they experience an unexpected expense that can cause havoc to their limited budget. Donations of unused personal care and cleaning products are always appreciated, too! To learn about donation drive options, e-mail


BridgeC(45)8. Throw a Bridge-Themed Birthday Party. As you begin to plan your child’s next birthday party, consider hosting a GIVING PARTY to benefit the client families in the Bridge Communities Transitional Housing Program. As part of the GIVING PARTY birthday, your party guests will participate in activities from “What’s It Like to Be Homeless?” Educational Curriculum and receive Bridge Communities token gifts for a party goodie bag. In lieu of (or in addition to) traditional birthday gifts, your guests will bring a gift for a Bridge Communities family or child. Learn how to throw a GIVING PARTY here!



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