Nichole’s Moment

A survivor of domestic violence, Nichole describes her experience working with Bridges of Hope over the course of a few years, and particularly in the Side by Side mentoring program.

Today, Nichole works for Wadena County Human Services. Her hope is that more education and awareness about domestic violence and its effects will be shared throughout our community.


During our Fall Campaign, Bridges of Hope is seeking to raise $60,000 from the community to help us serve over 300 households by December 31. Thanks to our generous past supporters, Bridges was there for Nichole when she needed additional support for herself and her family. Will you help make a difference for someone just like Nichole this year?

Click here to make a gift today. And thank you – you are truly the reason we are able to extend hope to others.

A special thanks to Justin DeZurik, who created this video.

Andrea’s Moment

 

Andrea shares her experience working with Bridges of Hope ~6 years ago, when she was a newly single mom with two young children.

Today, Andrea is helping spread hope to others at our Common Goods thrift store in Crosslake!


During our Fall Campaign, Bridges of Hope is seeking to raise $60,000 from the community to help us serve over 300 households by December 31. Thanks to our generous past supporters, Bridges was there for Andrea when she needed to turn to someone for help. Will you help make a difference for someone just like Andrea this year?

Click here to make a gift today. And thank you – you are truly the reason we are able to extend hope to others.

A special thanks to Justin DeZurik, who created this video.

Patty Sue’s Story

Since joining the Side by Side program two years ago, Patty Sue is the first to admit that her life has changed for the better. Patty Sue initially heard about the Side by Side program at Bridges of Hope while receiving Respite care services for her family. A stay-at-home mom of five children, ages one through eight, Patty Sue had seen her share of hardships and hard times that made life a constant struggle.

“I was at a point in my life where I could really use it,” Patty Sue said of the outside interaction. “I had a lot of negative things in my life and really needed something positive to look forward to.”

Patty Sue had been a victim of domestic abuse and homelessness for many years. In her life, positive relationships were few and far between. “I’m the type of person who isolates herself,” Patty Sue admitted. “I would isolate myself in my house, and I knew I needed to get out; but I wasn’t sure I wanted to. So when they asked me to join Side By Side, I knew it would be a good thing for me.”

Coordinators and volunteers with the Side by Side program say they’ve witnessed tremendous growth in Patty Sue since joining the program: “She truly has become so much more of a vibrant and happy person,” one individual noted. “I know she doesn’t necessarily recognize that, but she has overcome so many obstacles and hurdles with her personal growth and mental health. It’s been pretty amazing.”

Now in her second year as a Side by Side participant, Patty Sue said she is seeing the glass half full rather than half empty. She has also created friendships and support outside of the Side by Side meetings through other program Participants.

“Having positive experiences with the other women was something I needed,” she said. “I agreed to it because you can never have too much positive in your life. It helps me get out of the house more often and visit with others who can lift you up. If I’m having a bad day, I go there and feel so much better.”

The Side by Side program is more than Mentors reaching out to Participants; it’s also about Participants finding common ground and support with each other, as well as positive interactions and words of encouragement at, oftentimes, bleak moments.

“Life throws a lot of things at you,” Patty Sue said, “and some people, like myself, don’t always manage well in reaching out. But Side By Side has helped me in so many ways.”A Mentor Walks Alongside You Quote

If you are interested in helping a woman change herself for the better, contact Kassie at Bridges of Hope for more information on becoming a Mentor.

Supporting Family and Caregivers: Respite Services

As a single mother of three children under the age of three and with another on the way, Kristine needed help. Her time for self-care and just taking care of the basics like cleaning the house or shopping for groceries was non-existent. Something had to give.
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It was just a few months ago when Kristine was referred to Bridges of Hope. Funded by Crow Wing County Community Services, Bridges of Hope has an established Respite care program to help parents like Kristine who need someone to step in and help care for their children on a temporary basis.

At Bridges, Respite is a scheduled, monthly break for families based upon a child’s or parent’s need, serving families in Crow Wing County. On occasion, Respite can be scheduled more often, on a case-by-case basis. Respite care providers are licensed by Crow Wing County and step in to care for a child or children for up to 24 hours. That child is then returned home after the Respite “placement,” unlike a foster care situation. The goal of the program, at its core, is to provide caregivers a break to rejuvenate, refresh and get self-care.

As many as 95% of children receiving Respite care through Bridges have mental health concerns or diagnoses. Right now, ~40 households are utilizing Respite for their children and have anywhere between one and six children in the house. Of those cases, approximately 15%-20% of these households are also simultaneously working with Child Protection in some capacity.

Bridges of Hope currently works with 13 licensed providers living in Brainerd, Crosby and Nisswa – ranging from day care settings to individuals – to provide Respite care. Families can also self-identify an outside person to serve as their Respite provider, as long as they complete and pass the necessary background check.

One respite care provider has a farm and offers fun and new opportunities for children. Another provider brings children in his temporary care to church on Sundays. And another participates in building workshops at Home Depot.

“Our providers are very much involved with these families and they treat them like they would their own family,” a Bridges of Hope staffer noted. “They can also provide the children with experiences they might not have in their home setting, due to their parents’ work schedules or their siblings’ needs.”

After Kristine’s children started receiving Respite care, she finally found time she could carve out for cleaning and organizing her home. During that time, she was also able to spend one-on-one time with her new baby after its birth. The Respite program has allowed her to take better care of herself; and in turn, has helped her to become a better mom.

For more information on Respite, contact Bridges of Hope at (218) 825-7682 or visit our website.

 

A Glowing Success – 2016 Run for Hope

Post by Jenny Holmes, guest blogger.

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Over 100 adult runners and walkers, along with kids of all ages, recently participated in the ‘Run for Hope,’ a glow-in-the-dark event to raise money for Bridges of Hope. For a complete list of finishers, visit the Run for Hope 5K results page at http://bit.ly/RFHresults.

The fourth-annual Run for Hope was held on July 23rd at the Northland Arboretum in Brainerd. Over $6,000 was raised to support Bridges of Hope, a faith-based nonprofit serving over 2,400 households annually in Crow Wing County and surrounding communities.

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Prizes were awarded to the top finishers in each age group and to individuals and teams with the ‘Best Glow,’ or creative glow-in-the-dark attire. We have some great photos on our Facebook page, which you can view here.

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We want to say a huge ‘thank you’ to our Presenting Sponsor for this year’s event: Wes Anderson Insurance; to this year’s ‘Glow Big or Go Home’ sponsors: Insty Prints and Nystrom & Associates; and also to the rest of our sponsors for the Run for Hope this year: we appreciate your support!

Thank you to all who had a part in making this event such a success. This event doesn’t happen without a lot of support from our community, and we are grateful and honored to reach even more individuals in the Lakes Area through the help of this fundraiser.

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We are also collecting feedback from those who participated in this year’s event, as well as from those who didn’t attend the Run this year (or who never have), so that we can improve this great fundraiser in the future.

Thank you for your support of Bridges of Hope!

Liz’s Moment

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Liz is a 45 year-old with bright green eyes and an infectious personality whose dream was to move out of a group home and into her own place. Liz would call our office almost like clockwork once a month, requesting help with either gas, clothing, or furniture. Each month, we would kindly remind Liz that all of those needs were taken care of for her through living at the group home. Her disability made it difficult for Liz to fully understand why she didn’t need these items, and each time our staff would patiently explain the process she needed to follow first before calling us.

Then one afternoon late last fall Liz called again, and once again I expected to talk to her about why she didn’t need any gas, clothing or furniture yet, but this time, Liz had moving plans! We were thrilled for her. We were able to confirm the details with Liz’s mental health worker, and then things really started to take off. Because we all wanted this move to be successful for Liz, I talked to her about her new responsibilities; such as paying her rent on time, buying groceries for herself, learning new transportation resources, and other details about living on your own. Liz and her mental health worker came up with a list of furniture and household items Liz would need. After all her past requests, we were finally able to say “yes” to Liz!
Moving day arrived, and Liz moved out of the group home and into her own apartment. A few days later, Liz’s donated furniture and household furnishings were dropped off. A month later, my heart sank just a little when I received that familiar monthly call from Liz. I was expecting to hear the worst–that she had lost her rent money, or her furniture wasn’t working out, or something else. But once again, Liz surprised me. She was requesting help with a bus pass. Since Liz doesn’t drive, walking and the bus were her only forms of transportation–and now that we were in the dead of winter, it was just too cold out to walk.sidewalk-goodcondition

At our weekly staff meeting, we discussed the request as a team, and we were able to provide Liz with a bus pass. A couple of weeks later, I followed up with Liz, and she positively gushed about her new life on her own. She was volunteering in the community and had already lost weight from all the walking she was doing. She was so happy!

The next month came and…I never received the familiar call from Liz. And then the next month came, and still no call. When the calls stopped coming, we knew that Liz had made her dream come true.

 

Crossing Bridges by Jenny Holmes

I was first introduced to Jana Shogren, and subsequently the Bridges of Hope organization, four years ago. At the time, I was working for a local nonprofit and we both found ourselves at a networking event where we were introduced.

As most women do, we exchanged niceties and moved on. Little did I know how our paths would again cross in the future.

Jenny & JanaIn January 2015, Jana invited me to coffee to bounce a few ideas off another non-profit thinker. In a world of never-ending fundraisers, Jana was looking for something fresh and fun to help raise necessary dollars and awareness for a new mentoring program at Bridges called “Side-By-Side.” Her idea was a tea party where women and girls would make a special date and dress in pearls and fascinators and enjoy tea and finger foods, all the while contributing to a deserving cause. It sounded like a win-win to me and something I’d be interested in taking my young daughter to. But as she continued about the concept behind not only Bridges of Hope but also the Side-By-Side program, I knew I had to become a planner and not just a participant. I offered to sit on the planning committee and help kick off the first annual tea party.

The 2015 Afternoon Tea for Hope was a smashing success. The room was filled with excited women and young girls, dressed in their Sunday best. Thanks to the amazing and creative work of Kate Kuepers, the room was transformed into an English tea parlor with blooming bouquets and bright colors. It was quite magical. Goodies and tea were consumed, silent auction items were clamored over, laughs were shared, tears were shed, messages were conveyed. But I think one of the most appreciated pieces of the afternoon came by way of 10 strapping gentlemen from the Nisswa Fire Department who volunteered their time, and charm, to serve tea, clear plates, take pictures and more. I think it’s quite safe to say, fun was had by ALL!

**Photo credit: Aimee Jobe Photography

Needless to say, I was on-board to help plan the 2016 Afternoon Tea for Hope. We have opted to change venues in an effort to accommodate even more women and girls this year. We’ve begun soliciting and collecting fabulous items for the silent auction, planning décor and treats; and, yes, the firemen will be back. However, this year we’re adding in a few from the Brainerd Fire Department and we can guarantee, our guests will not be disappointed.

If you haven’t already, I strongly encourage you to buy your tickets for this event. It truly is one of a kind and a wonderful way to share a classy afternoon with your mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, daughter, girlfriend or any other special someone in your life. It’s all about making connections. And, ironically, that is where the proceeds from this event will once again go – to connect women with a mentor to help them navigate on the often-bumpy and busy road we call life. Many of our Side-By-Side mentors and participants will also be at the Tea to share their stories and testify to how this program has made an incredible impact in their lives.

Tickets make an excellent birthday or Mother’s Day gift. Get yours today and see for yourself how one simple bridge can connect an individual to a much better place.

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