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Our Heroes: Debbie Anderson and Bridge teens taking on the ACT

October 20, 2014
Volunteer Debbie Anderson tutors Bridge teens in preparation for the ACT exam

Volunteer Debbie Anderson tutors Bridge teens in preparation for the ACT exam

Debbie Anderson was a retired high school teacher, looking for a way to get involved with the community, when her neighbor, Jan, let her know about Bridge Communities. Jan, a longtime volunteer for Bridge’s program partner Families Helping Families, told her about the teens served by Bridge, and Debbie knew just the way she could help.

“The one thing I’m really good at is the ACT, and I thought it would be fun to volunteer,” says Debbie. As a teacher, she spent decades preparing kids for the exam, and personally received a perfect score when she took the test. She also spent a few post-retirement years teaching ACT preparation as part of a class, and was able to see flaws in the system that she knew she could fix.

“When I taught an ACT class with 6 kids and 2 teachers, it just didn’t work,” she says. “When you tutor one-on-one, there’s no place the student can go. The student has to answer the questions, and you see much higher results.”

Debbie also has found many patterns in the ACT over the years, and concentrates on particular areas of study for the teens. She also teaches the kids how to think more logically with multiple choice tests, and as a result, their scores improve considerably.

She currently tutors two Bridge teens for free, meeting each of them once per week for an hour at Bridge’s Learning Resource Center (LRC) in Naperville. They will both take the ACT in April 2015. “It makes me feel good to volunteer, and that this can make a difference for these kids,” she says.

Thank you, Debbie–you certainly are making a big difference in the futures of Bridge teens and their families!

Fall 2014 Connections

October 14, 2014

ConnectionsThe fall edition of Connections, Bridge Communities’ newsletter, is now available! Click here to read about any of our featured stories:

-Success story of Bridge graduate Debbie Lively

-String Theory’s upcoming Scarf Market benefit for Bridge

-Gearing up for Sleep Out Saturday 2014

-Our new partnership with the Hinsdale Junior Woman’s Club

-Employment successes for clients

-Summer wrap-up

-Bridge’s nutrition classes

-And more!

In Remembrance of Karen Stewart

October 7, 2014

KarenStewartIt is with saddened hearts that Bridge Communities announces the passing of our beloved Program Director, Karen Stewart, on Sunday, October 5. An integral part of Bridge for 14 years, Karen worked with countless families, community members, mentors and volunteers to end homelessness in DuPage County, and touched countless hearts along the way. We will always remember Karen for her warmth, her compassion, her strength and her courage. We will continue to keep the Stewart family in our thoughts and prayers.

Proud of our Scholars

October 2, 2014

Graduation-Cap-On-Top-Of-Stack-Of-Books-300x283Education is one of the most strongly-held values at Bridge Communities, and we are proud to announce that two Bridge teens, both recent high school graduates, have each been awarded a $1,000 scholarship to use in pursuit of higher education. One now attends University of Kansas; the other is attending Northern Illinois University.

To apply for the scholarship, each teen had to complete an application, complete with listing extracurricular activities and GPA, and also complete an essay about overcoming obstacles and how the scholarship will contribute to a better education. A scholarship committee reviewed the applications, and each applicant was awarded $1,000.

Because of supporters like you–longtime friends, supporters and volunteers with Bridge Communities–these teens will have a chance to go to college that they may not have had otherwise.

What is your passion? Is it education, career assistance, youth programs?There are endless opportunities at Bridge Communities where your gift can make a lasting, significant impact for a family. Our Resource Development Director Amy Van Polen can help you support the Bridge program that means the most to you. Please e-mail Amy or call her at 545-0610 ext.12 to learn how you can make a difference at Bridge Communities.

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 twitter.com/BridgeDuPage and facebook.com/bridge.communities 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!

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