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Still time to sign up! Run on behalf of Bridge families on October 23

September 29, 2016

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The Naperville Marathon races will be held on October 23, 2016, and YOU can be a hero for Bridge families! Sign up to run and fundraise in their honor today! Runners will also receive a registration discount to use on the Naperville Marathon website.

Signing up is easy:

-First, click here to become a Charity Hero for Bridge Communities and receive your charity discount code

-Second, click here to complete your registration on the Naperville Marathon’s website. Type in “CHARITY” as the Access Code, and then use your charity discount code when prompted.

Runners commit to raising $300 for Bridge Communities, and we’ll help you along your way: You’ll also be provided with fundraising tips and a personal online fundraising page on the Bridge Communities website.

Please contact us with any questions at chad.pedigo@bridgecommunities.org, and we’ll look forward to running alongside you on race day!

Thanks for joining us at the Glen Ellyn Backyard BBQ!

September 12, 2016

14258146_1310907765609563_1611323934321853300_oThis year, summer didn’t end on Labor Day! The Glen Ellyn Backyard BBQ returned for its 8th year on Saturday, September 10. Thousands of community members joined us for the “ProteinPalooza,” a day of food, family-friendly activities, concerts and of course, barbecue!

Attendees enjoyed the sounds of outstanding bands, including The Neverly Brothers, Expo 76 and the Total Pro Horns, Bill “The Buddha” Dickens, and the Glen Ellyn School of Rock Instructors, and noshed on perfect festival food from Steamboat Barbeque, Real Urban BBQ, The Stand, Skuddlebutts and Cap May Crab Cake Factory. The kids had a blast at the Piglet Playland, featuring a bounce house, dunk tank and more!

More than 60 teams entered the barbecue competition, and the winners were:

Best Ribs:
Birdman’s BBQ

Best Chicken:
South Side Pit Men

Best Dish:
RW + B BBQ

Best Sauce (Judged):
The Fabulous Weber Boys

People’s Choice Sauce:
Hoggystyle BBQ

Glen Ellyn Cup:
Spork

To see the BBQ’s photo gallery, visit the Glen Ellyn Backyard BBQ Facebook page

All proceeds from the event went directly to help the homeless families served by Bridge Communities. Thank you for your support, and we can’t wait to see you next year!

The event was made possible thanks to the support of our generous sponsors:

King of the Stage:
Steamboat Barbeque

Piglet Playland:
Farmers Insurance

Festival:
95.9 The River
Coldwell Banker Charitable Foundation
Eric Friedemann
Flood Brothers
Novatoo Audio Visual
Pit Stop
Sportsmed Wheaton Orthopaedics
Two Brothers Artisan Brewing

Prime Cut:
Glen Ellyn Lions Club
Harry B. Cotter Allstate Agency
House of Graphics
Illinois Barbecue Society
John Johanneson
Lekatsos Team
PJ’s Camera and Photo
Santanna Energy Services
Wheaton Yamaha Music School

 

 

We’re proud to announce our scholarship recipients!

August 31, 2016
Ryan 1We are so happy to introduce you to two outstanding Bridge kids, Daniela and Ryan. As teenagers, they faced all the same challenges as their peers–but they had to deal with the unique struggles of homelessness, too.

 

It wasn’t easy. It was something no teenager should ever have to worry about.

 

But, once their families joined Bridge Communities, you gave them the tools they needed to succeed. They had a safe home, and could concentrate on getting back on track. And, this past spring, they both graduated from high school with flying colors!

 

There’s more: Because of your generosity, Daniela and Ryan each started college this fall with a $1,000 scholarship!

 

Ryan has just entered the freshman class of Bradley University as an International Business major, and Daniela has begun her studies at Concordia University, pursuing a BA in Health Care Management.
Your support means that Ryan and Daniela could persevere and overcome the challenges that came along with homelessness. Thank you for believing in them!

Daniela and Ryan are on the road to success, but there are still more than 200 Bridge kids that need your help this year. And, with the new school year starting, it’s the perfect time for you to get involved! You can volunteer as a tutor, help out with Kids’ Clubs at a Learning Resource Center, or make a gift so that more kids like Daniela and Ryan can break the cycle of homelessness.

 

If you’d like to get involved and connect more kids like Ryan and Daniela to a better and brighter future, please e-mail Jill Garbaliauskas, Director of Children’s Programs, at jill.g@bridgecommunities.org or call  815-955-9558.

 

Thank you again for transforming the futures of Ryan, Daniela and all Bridge children!

How your car donation could save a family like Christina’s

August 12, 2016

IMG_2739A reliable car is a necessity for most families in DuPage County. That’s how we get to work, our children’s schools, the grocery store–almost everywhere. And Bridge families like Christina’s have the same needs.

But, there’s one key difference. For most of us, a car in need of repairs might be a hassle, or an unexpected but affordable expense. For Christina, a car in need of repairs can jeopardize her entire future.

You see, for a Bridge family, one of the most significant barriers to finding and keeping employment is unreliable transportation. If you can’t get to work, you can’t keep your job. If you can’t keep your job, you can’t become self-sufficient. If you can’t become self-sufficient, the cycle of poverty and homelessness continues.

Many client families enter Bridge Communities with no car, or cars that soon break down. But you can help. 

We currently have six families in desperate need of a car. Will you donate your used car to Bridge Communities?

Your car will be transferred directly to a homeless family, and your gift will help them get back on the road to self-sufficiency. Plus, your donated car may be eligible for a full tax deduction of the used car value.

Because Christina recently received a donated Honda Civic, she can safely get to work every day, and continue saving for a house for her and her seven-year-old son. The day Christina received her car, she passed along this message to her generous donor: “I have tears in my eyes today–thank you!”

To donate your car, please contact Tom Thiltgen at (630) 545-0610 ext. 14 or tom.thiltgen@bridgecommunities.org.

Thank you for helping families like Christina’s break the cycle of homelessness!

We need YOU! Volunteer at the Glen Ellyn Backyard BBQ on September 10

August 3, 2016
Enjoy the best end-of-summer party in town from behind the scenes and volunteer at the Glen Ellyn Backyard BBQ! By volunteering for a 3.5-hour shift, you will be directly helping Bridge Communities save homeless families in the community. All proceeds from the event go toward the 130+ homeless families served by Bridge Communities, and we need you to help make this the biggest and best BBQ yet!
     If you or a child needs service hours for school, scouts or religious ed, this is a great volunteer opportunity. And, you’ll get to enjoy all the outstanding live music, a free meal for each volunteer, and a family-friendly community event.
    Shifts are still available, and can be found here. If you have any questions about volunteering, please contact Kaitlyn Miller at volunteer@glenellynbackyardbbq.org.
     Thank you for being a friend to Bridge families, and we’ll see you September 10!

Sleep Out Saturday 2016: #HomelessNoMore

July 6, 2016

SOS_2016On November 5, YOU can help us transform a moment of kindness into a movement.

Bridge Communities invites you to join thousands of fellow community members in Sleep Out Saturday: the movement that’s transforming lives for homeless families in our neighborhoods.

Help us make #HomelessNoMore a reality for the 100+ homeless families that have found hope through Bridge Communities this year. Make your Sleep Out Saturday plans now and register with your friends and family to be a part of the movement.

Sleep Out Saturday participants of all ages can experience a night without a home to help provide homeless families with a home. You can show your support by sleeping out in parking lots, parks and backyards. All money raised from the event will support families in the Bridge Communities Transitional Housing Program, funding the housing, employment training, mentoring, case management, plus tutoring and summer camps for kids. 

Learn how you can change lives by participating in Sleep Out Saturday

Click here to register for Sleep Out Saturday today

Questions about Sleep Out Saturday? Contact Chad Pedigo, Special Events Manager, Bridge Communities, at chad.pedigo@bridgecommunities.org or 630-545-0610 x19.

We thank YOU for making a difference in the lives of Bridge Communities families, and ensuring that they’ll be #HomelessNoMore!

“My whole life changed for the better.” Bridge client Tony shares his story!

June 16, 2016

Tony2015 1Prior to 2012, Tony enjoyed joint custody of his four children; he had a steady job as a lead painter for a painting company; and he had a nice house in the northwest suburbs with his girlfriend. Then, life changed dramatically.

He was awarded full custody of his children once it was discovered that they had been neglected in an abusive home. His girlfriend moved out, leaving him with unaffordable rent. Then, his life continued to deteriorate quickly when he was laid off of work.

Soon, Tony found himself with no money, no job, and nowhere affordable for his family of five to live. “I was struggling to find a new place to live with my credit and financial situation,” Tony remembers. His sister had been a successful participant in Bridge Communities many years before, and recommended he apply. “Within a couple of days, I received a phone call from Will [Moeller, Manager of Intake Services], saying he wanted to interview me for the program.”

After going through the interview process, Tony’s family was accepted into Bridge, and, says Tony, “My whole life changed for the better. I was finally able to provide some stability for my children. Being involved in this program is the biggest blessing my kids and I have ever experienced.”

Since joining Bridge last year, Tony has participated in the job readiness class to prepare
him to get back into the workforce, and the redirecting children’s behavior workshop series, to teach the family how to cooperate and grow stronger together. His kids all enjoyed a summer camp daycare program last year, and two of his children now receive weekly tutoring as well.

The new life hasn’t come without challenges, though. Says Tony, “The hardest part is just trying to keep up with everything, day to day. Four kids and all that is involved in raising them keep me running 24/7. But, I thank God for giving me the strength to endure the challenges that life throws at me and sending me angels —my mentors [Kathy, Rick, Patty and Julie from THM Ministries] and the staff at Bridge—to help keep me focused and positive so that I can keep pushing on.”

According to Tony, life has begun to settle down for all of them, and they’re learning how to move forward. The kids have a structured day-to-day routine now, and are catching up in school. “My oldest, who had the most difficulty regarding school, is now getting all As and Bs,” says Tony. “I have landed a good job that is regular day shift hours, and I started school this spring for facilities management. We have been able to accomplish so much, and without Bridge and you, none of this would have been possible.”

Now that their life has begun to stabilize, they have the opportunity to set goals. Tony has paid off significant debt and is working toward building a solid foundation for the family’s future. “The main goals I have set for myself is to get my certification in maintenance, and proceed with my degree in facilities management,” says Tony. “I will also be in a position to buy my own house when I leave the program due to the help I received with learning to budget my money more conservatively.”

Molly Howieson, Tony’s case manager, couldn’t be prouder of Tony’s progress. “Tony has overcome a lot in his short time in our program,” says Molly. “Not only on the role of single parent and facing his children’s needs head-on, but his own goals of education and paying down his debts. He will be debt-free in a few short months and continues to save. I’m very proud of the structure he has brought to his children’s lives and how he has set boundaries and balance in his life.”

Tony and his children are grateful for the opportunities you’ve provided through your support of Bridge, and have vowed to pay the kindness forward. “My 12-year-old daughter has already begun this on her own, by volunteering with a special needs class at her school,” says Tony proudly. He adds, “For those of you supporting Bridge Communities, all I can say is thank you from the bottom of my heart. It may seem like such a little thing for some, but I assure you, it is life-changing for those of us that need the boost. It’s kind people like you that really show the rest of the world what we should all be doing for one another. Even the smallest gesture of kindness can save a life.”

Want to learn more about how you can help Bridge Communities families like Tony’s reach self-sufficiency? Click here! 

Read more about Tony’s family, and other Bridge Communities success stories, in our Spring 2016 newsletter

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