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Bridge Pearls of Wisdom: Steve and Nydia

July 11, 2018

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Steve and Nydia Paterkiewicz are some of the biggest fans and supporters of Bridge Communities around. And they know Bridge Communities better than most people—because they used to be clients in the program.

Nydia and her three daughters came into the safety of a Bridge apartment more than five years ago, after escaping domestic abuse. And when Steve, her friend from childhood, was losing his home with his two sons a few years later, she recommended that he apply for Bridge Communities as well.

The two credit Bridge Communities for changing their lives. “Coming into the program, I didn’t have good self-esteem,” Nydia remembers. “I had a degree, but I wasn’t able to take that degree and succeed with it. I didn’t have that confidence in myself, and they were able to provide that for me in order for me to succeed.”

What did they like best about the program? “I liked learning how to budget, and I liked the fellowship aspect,” says Nydia. “It’s exactly what it says: it’s a community. Bridge provides a lot of services and after school programs for the families, and we all get to come together as a family and fellowship. I’ve grown several really close relationships out of the program—including Steve!”

Indeed, the former childhood friends found love, and Steve and Nydia married in 2016, after they’d both graduated from the transitional housing program.

Besides Nydia, Steve says the best part of being in Bridge was his relationship with his mentors. “They gave me a sense of relief, and I know that a lot of things were finally going to be put into perspective and put into order. It was like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders,” he recalls.

Steve reflects on what their lives were like while in the Bridge program, and how their lives have evolved since graduating. “Back then, I was able to be in a stable home and a stable environment. I got my kids into athletics and great schools. I just had a smile from ear to ear,” he says. “Now, I own my own home, and I own my own business. We both have amazing full-time jobs besides the business and our kids are going to great schools, all succeeding. We have travel baseball, soccer, softball, and cheerleading. We couldn’t be happier. Joy is just floating around this house all day long.”

What’s their advice for clients in the Bridge program? “There’s a lot of sacrifice, but it’s well worth it,” says Nydia. “It gets hard sometimes, because I know there’s a lot of issues with putting everything out on the table, but it’s very well worth it. The mentors and the program are there for us, and that’s a great feeling.”  Adds Steve, “You have to be strong. The reward is worth the sacrifice.”

Steve and Nydia’s message to their mentors and to Bridge: “Thank you for everything you have done. You truly are a gift from God that we owe all of our success to. Not only our mentors, but the Bridge program itself. And we are behind it 100% and do whatever we can to give back to this program.”

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