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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 sharon.drucker@bridgecommunities.org.

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 stevekaren@comcast.net.
Thank you for supporting Bridge Communities families!

 

 

Extreme Makeover: Bridge Tutor Rooms Edition

August 5, 2014
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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!

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The laundry rooms were freshly painted and organized

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New bike racks for clients

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

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

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Now, Bridge kids across the county have amazing learning environments

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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!

 

LRC photo

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 sharon.drucker@bridgecommunities.org 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 theresa.misher@bridgecommunities.org.

 

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 mary.zienty@bridgecommunities.org.

 

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 vicky.joseph@bridgecommunities.org.

 

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!

 

A Heart for the Homeless

July 11, 2014

heart_for_homeless_scout_patch_final-fullAt Bridge Communities, we know that homelessness can be a difficult concept to explain to your children. How do we explain what homelessness truly means, and what kind of impact it makes on our kids, and on our community? More importantly, how do we answer the question, “Why?”

Bridge saw this need, and created the “What’s It Like To Be Homeless?” curriculum as a way to teach kids about homelessness in a meaningful way. The activities we suggest are geared toward school-aged children, and are appropriate for to teach in schools, religious and youth groups, scout troops and more. There is a variety of activities that the groups can perform, based on the age of the kids, including:

1st-3rd grades:
-Purchase or borrow from the library either of the books, “Cooper’s Tale” or “Fly Away Home,” and use the discussion questions to explore why and how families become homeless.
-Identify an organization in your local area that serves the homeless. Choose and complete a service project that helps its clients.
-Complete the activity “What Would You Take?”

4th-12th grades:
-Using the questions, explore together as a group the reasons why families become homeless and why homelessness is harmful to children.
-Complete the activity “Calculate It!”
-Visit a homeless shelter or the offices of an agency that serves to homeless to learn more about this issue in your local community. Students can research and develop their own project that serves the homeless.

In addition to benefiting from taking part in these experiences, kids can earn scout patches as well. After the troop members complete the activities from the “What’s It Like To Be Homeless?” curriculum, troop leaders can order Bridge’s “A Heart for the Homeless” scout patches for $2 apiece from http://www.bridgecommunities.org.

We hope these activities can answer some of the tough questions your kids may have about poverty and homelessness, and help them keep the homeless in their hearts.

It’s Time To Do Something

June 23, 2014

SKH_1673On November 1, 2014, nearly 2,000 DuPage County residents will spend a frosty night inside tents, boxes and cars to raise awareness about family homeless and money for Bridge Communities’ Transitional Housing Program. The all-night event will be held in 25+ DuPage County communities–JOIN US!

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. We thank YOU for making a difference in their lives!

Learn more about Sleep Out Saturday

Register your group now

View Sleep Out Saturday videos

Become a Sleep Out Saturday sponsor

You can help . . . Make a donation – $35 provides one night of housing and supportive services.

A Chair Affair – An Affair to Remember

June 16, 2014
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The Persistence of the Third Dimension won the People’s Choice Award at A Chair Affair

Last Thursday evening, North Central College’s Wentz Hall was abuzz with excitement. Twenty-seven chairs—some beautifully practical and some beautifully whimsical—that were designed and created by local artists, were auctioned off to supporters of Bridge Communities from Naperville and beyond. These supporters helped to raise money for homeless families in DuPage County served by Bridge’s Transitional Housing Program.

Alecia Hannemann, a Bridge graduate, captivated the audience with her story as she shared the struggle and heartache she faced before finding peace and stability in Bridge Communities. Alecia shared with the audience that she recently just bought her first  home, and even had the keys to prove it!

Mariam Paré’s masterpiece, “The Persistence of the Third Dimension,” was awarded the People’s  Choice award after receiving the most votes in the online voting contest. At the age of 20, Mariam was caught in the cross-fire of gun violence. She sustained a spinal cord injury and was rendered quadriplegic, unable to walk and with significant loss of function in her extremities. During rehabilitation, Mariam learned to hold a paintbrush in her mouth to create art. She received degrees in art and graphic design, works professionally as an artist, and is now a philanthropist as well. Congratulations, Mariam!

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of this event including our artists, sponsors, retailers, and friends of Bridge Communities!

Attendees admire "Once Upon a Time"

Attendees admire “Once Upon a Time”

A guest relaxes in Kim Yench's "Bridge to the Future"

A guest relaxes in Kim Yench’s “Bridge to the Future”

Bridge graduate Alecia Hannemann shared her journey from homelessness to hope

Bridge graduate Alecia Hannemann shared her journey from homelessness to hope

John Joseph and Mark Milligan auction off Amy Webber's bench, "Sea Breeze"

John Joseph and Mark Milligan auction off Amy Webber’s bench, “Sea Breeze”

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Chris Cash presents the People’s Choice award to Mariam Pare

"Tree Tales" by Marianne Lisson-Kuhn was the top seller in the live auction, raising $4,000 for homeless families!

“Tree Tales” by Marianne Lisson-Kuhn was the top seller in the live auction – this chair alone raised $4,000 for homeless families!

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