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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

Third Annual “A Chair Affair” Celebrates Art, Homes & Hope

June 14, 2016

BridgeChairAffair16 130

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.

Tammy Miller_Cultivating Hope

Tammy Miller won the People’s Choice Award for her chair, “Cultivating Hope”

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!

 

Take a seat! The artwork for A Chair Affair has come to Naperville

May 23, 2016
Cultivating Hope polaroidThe 20 outstanding chairs featured in A Chair Affair are on display at retail locations across Downtown Naperville. Please help support Bridge Communities and take a moment to view and vote for your favorite of these fun, whimsical, funky and avant-garde chairs!

Buy your tickets now to join us June 9  at Wentz Hall in Naperville and enjoy an exciting evening of delicious food and cocktails, silent auction items, and a high-energy live auction of the top 8 chair finalists! Thanks to our generous sponsors, all proceeds raised during the auction will benefit the homeless families served by Bridge Communities in Naperville and surrounding DuPage County.

 
Click here for a map and take a walking tour of the chairs
 
Questions about the chairs or the June 9 event? Click here to e-mail Chad Pedigo, Manager, Special Events

We look forward to celebrating art, homes and hope with you on June 9!
ACA sponsors

Picture the impact you’ll make when you give to the next Bridge family

May 11, 2016
KathyandGirlsAt Bridge Communities, we’re proud of every goal that’s reached by each Bridge family. You’ve joined them along their journey and helped them achieve so much, and we’re delighted to share their successes with you.

Take Kathy and her girls–after finding a safe haven in a Bridge home, they’ve been able to rebuild their lives, step by step. Kathy went through the job readiness program and obtained a steady, full-time job in the health care field; her daughters received tutoring to get back on track in school; they’ve even learned organic gardening and improved their health. We’re pleased to announce that Kathy is working with Habitat for Humanity to purchase a home soon!

Kathy and her family couldn’t have achieved these goals without you. Will you help the next Bridge family that needs you?

PictureTheImpactImage So far this year, 16 more homeless families have found a home with Bridge. There are 30 more waiting for your help. When you make a gift, you will ensure that each one has a safe home and hope for their new 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.”

When we picture a great friend to Bridge Communities, we picture you. Thank you for being there when Bridge families need you the most.
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