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.
Questions about Sleep Out Saturday? Contact Chad Pedigo, Special Events Manager, Bridge Communities, at firstname.lastname@example.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!
Prior 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.
On June 9, more than 200 friends of Bridge Communities celebrated art, homes and hope at the third annual cocktail gala & auction, A Chair Affair. This high-energy event brought together artists, retailers, volunteers, community members and more, to unite for an evening in honor of the 130+ homeless families served by Bridge Communities each year–and what an evening it was!
Guests enjoyed cocktails and cuisine provided by Chef by Request catering, mingled and viewed the outstanding 20 chairs on display. These 20 pieces of artwork had been created by DuPage-area artists, who reclaimed and transformed stools, chairs benches–and even a hammock!–into beautifully unique pieces for the home and garden. Displayed in Downtown Naperville businesses for the three weeks preceding the event, the chairs were available to the community for online voting in anticipation of the live auction.
The event’s program kicked off with an introduction and welcome by Bridge Communities’ Special Events Manager Chad Pedigo and CEO John Hayner, followed by a heartfelt testimonial from Bridge client Latosha. Next, the live auction led by friend of Bridge John Joseph and Co-Founder Mark Milligan came into play, as the audience got their chance to bid on the top 8 chairs garnering the most online votes. The final chair in the live auction was the People’s Choice Winner with nearly 800 votes, Tammy Miller for her masterpiece, “Cultivating Hope.”
All evening, guests could bid in the silent auction on 12 more chairs, and they continued to bid until the clock struck 8:30. At this time, the auction winners happily received their new artwork, and the john greene Realtor “Stuff the Chair” raffle winners were called as well.
Many thanks to our guests, artists, retailers, chair sponsors and the event sponsors: Naperville Bank & Trust; Chef by Request; Elements at Water Street; Marquette Properties; Ryan Hill Realty; Water Street District; M Brown and Associates; Coldwell Banker Charitable Foundation; john greene Realtor; and Naperville Magazine. Thank you so much for joining us, and for your outstanding commitment to connecting homeless families to a better future!
You can double the impact you will make on a family like Kathy’s! As an added value to your gift, your donation will be matched through a grant from Community Memorial Foundation and Bridge Communities’ board of directors. You read that right; your donation–of any amount–will be doubled when you give by June 30, 2016.
Says Kathy, “I really appreciate all that Bridge, my mentors and you have done to help me and my children. While there have been challenges, I always knew that you had our backs. Thank you.”
On April 22, more than 300 supporters of Bridge families attended an unforgettable Celebrating Women, Transforming Lives Spring Luncheon at Danada House. Together, we celebrated our shared commitment to the betterment of women and children in our community, and notably, our two outstanding honorees: The Hinsdale Junior Woman’s Club, with the Transforming Lives Award; and, Bridge graduate Lisa McNeeley, with the Life Transformed Award. Thank you for joining us for this special day!
Bridge has many people to thank for making this event a success: our outstanding emcee, ABC7’s Judy Hsu, for sharing her warmth and shining personality at the luncheon; our speaker, Sally Miller, for telling her touching stories; to our luncheon committee, for all your hard work behind the scenes.
A big thank-you also goes out to our amazing sponsors for helping make Celebrating Women, Transforming Lives possible: DuPage Medial Group Charitable Fund; Assurance; Coldwell Banker Charitable Foundation; Glen Ellyn Bank & Trust; Naperville Bank & Trust; Wheaton Bank & Trust: My Chef Catering; BMO Harris Bank; BeaksCo; Digital Benefit Advisors; Career Vision; Catcon, Inc; Neil Gates Photography; Nicor Gas; and Yorke Printe Shoppe.
Thanks again–your support means more Bridge families will have their lives transformed. We look forward to seeing you next year!
Please join us at our annual Spring Luncheon as we celebrate DuPage women’s commitment to the community. Their incredible gifts of time, talents and treasure will be recognized, as well as their efforts to make our communities a better place for homeless families. Celebrating Women…Transforming Lives will honor women with ties to DuPage County, and thank them for their philanthropy.
Bridge Communities is proud to award Hinsdale Junior Woman’s Club with the Transforming Lives Award for their dedication to the empowerment of women and children in our community. Each year HJWC raises critical funds and provides hundreds of volunteer service hours to improve the lives of our most vulnerable neighbors. Founded in 1949, HJWC has raised more than $2.7 million dollars, all directly funneled back into our local communities. HJWC has brought joy to Bridge families through their volunteerism and kindness. Bridge is proud to create the Hinsdale Junior Woman’s Club Education Endowment Fund, founded through the generosity of HJWC, which will provide counseling, scholarships, tutoring, and an avenue out of homelessness to hundreds of children for years to come.
Lisa McNeeley came to Bridge Communities in desperate need of housing for her and her two young children. At the time she arrived, Lisa could not support her son and daughter, ages 14 and 10, while working a part-time minimum wage job and attending school full-time to pursue a career in occupational therapy. Now, after successfully graduating and becoming an occupational therapy assistant, she is following her dream assisting children with disabilities full time, and is now a proud homeowner. Lisa uses her voice and experience with Bridge Communities to inspire hope in others, and we are incredibly proud of Lisa’s accomplishments and delighted to award her the Life Transformed Award.
The event will be emceed by Emmy-winning journalist Judy Hsu. An integral part of the ABC 7 news team since 2001, Judy is the co-anchor of ABC 7 Eyewitness News This Morning, at the #1 news station in Chicago. In addition to her anchor responsibilities, Judy hosts a parenting segment on the morning show called “For Your Family.” Judy hosted the Sleep Out Saturday rally for Bridge Communities last November, and looks forward to welcoming supporters of Bridge again at the luncheon. Judy resides in the western suburbs with her husband and four children.
The featured speaker at the luncheon will be author Sally P. Miller. Writer, teacher, and sought-after speaker, she also serves as a hospital chaplain in the western suburbs. Her most recent book, Divine Love: Women Who Have It & How You Can Get It is a collection based on biblical, historic and contemporary women. Sally brings her heartfelt message of friendship to the luncheon, and shares how women can empower one another.
Tickets are $50/person or $500/table of 10 and can be purchased at www.bridgecommunities.org/News-events/Calendar/Celebrating-Women-Transforming-Lives.html. Additionally, some limited sponsorship opportunities are still available. For more information about our 2016 event, please contact Chad Pedigo at (630) 545-0610, ext. 19 or email@example.com.