It Shouldn’t Hurt to be a Child

radiothon logoEach December, BL Broadcasting collaborates with local Child Protection Teams in our area to bring awareness to and raise funds for Child Abuse Prevention. The public service announcements during the on-air event state, “It shouldn’t hurt to be a child.” How true.

Child abuse is difficult to think about, but we need to think about it and we need to create a community where parents are supported and children are nurtured.

April is Child Abuse Prevention month, another time of year to bring awareness to the struggles parents and children in our community are facing. It’s a time to shine a light on the good work being done to strengthen families.

Here at Bridges of Hope, we are proud to partner with Crow Wing County in a state-wide program called Parent Support Outreach Program (PSOP). This is a voluntary program for families to engage in when the want to stabilize their struggles with basic needs and strengthen their parenting skills. Click here to read about how the PSOP program helped Cindy and her family.

biracial childrenAnother service in our community that aims to support parents and reduce child abuse & neglect is Crisis Nursery Services, which is free, short-term crisis childcare for children 0-12 in Crow Wing County and the surrounding areas. The goal of the Crisis Nursery is to provide a safe place for children during a family crisis like Kendra & her children experienced.

Crisis Nursery is made possible through the Crow Wing County Child Protection Team with funds that YOU donate during the Radiothon to End Child Abuse. THANK YOU!

As community members, there are many things we can do to support families around us. Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota makes the following suggestions about what to do if you see a parent who is “on edge” in public:

  • Divert the adult’s attention.
  • Start a conversation with the adult. Offer sympathy. For example, you could say, “Shopping with children can really try your patience, can’t it?” Talk to the child.
  • If the child is acting out or misbehaving, start a friendly conversation to distract him or her.
  • Praise the parent or child.
  • Find something positive to say about the child or the parent. For example, “That’s a pretty dress your daughter is wearing. Where did you get it?”
  • Offer to help.
  • For example, if a child has been left unattended in a grocery cart, stay near him or her until a caretaker returns.
  • Avoid negative looks or comments.This may only increase the adult’s anger, making things worse for the child.

There are many preventative efforts happening in our community, however it is important to state that if you suspect a child is being abused or neglected in our area, you should contact Crow Wing County Social Services at 218-824-1140. 

In honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month, please take a moment to enrich the life of a child in your life and support the parents around you. It really does take a village to raise a child!

Pinwheel for Prevention


Join us for Tea Time!


teatime clockHave you heard? It’s “Tea Time” at Bridges of Hope!

That’s right; we are excited to be hosting our first-ever Afternoon Tea for Hope on Sunday, May 3rd at 3:00 PM. This will be an afternoon filled with fine tea, delicious food, lovely music, an exciting silent auction, a fun photo booth, fabulous decor, and good company.

We have the details all taken care of. We just need YOU to invite your daughter, mother, sister, or friends and RSVP to join us!

Kate KuepersYou will not want to miss this event. From the moment you arrive, you will be pampered by your surroundings. Our wonderfully talented friend, Kate Kuepers from Bloom Designs, will turn the Celebration Room at Lutheran Church of the Cross into a scene right out of an English garden!

(You really should check out Kate’s website. She does amazing work!)

While you are enjoying the lovely scenery, butler service will be provided by the finest firemen in the Lakes Area who will serve your tea while you nosh on savory bites from Prairie Bay and dine on delectable dessert from Edible Art Bakery!

Our guests will be entertained by music from local musicians and will have the opportunity to learn about the Side by Side Mentoring program at Bridges of Hope. The goal of the mentoring program is to move participants from a place of survival to place of stability and thriving. Take a few minutes to read about the struggles and accomplishments of Charlotte, Irene, and Samantha who have all participated in the program. We are so proud of their successes and are humbled by the support from the community for this program.

And what would an afternoon out with girlfriends, your mom, or daughter be without a little shopping?! Many local businesses and supporters of Bridges of Hope have donated great items for our silent auction. Here’s a sneak peak:  Vintage+1950s+hatsOh, but the fun doesn’t stop there! Biff Ulm will have his photo booth set up at the event so you can take some photos to remember this beautiful spring day. Feel free to wear your own hat, gloves, and pearls to the event. If you don’t have those things, no worries–the booth will be complete with some fun accessories to “glam up” your pics!

And as if butler service, tea, treats, music, decor, shopping, a photo booth, and some “girl time” isn’t enough…everyone who attends Afternoon Tea for Hope will leave with a small gift, thanks to another group of amazing local businesses! We want to thank YOU for spending part of your afternoon with us and for helping us build Bridges.

If you don’t already have your spot at the Tea reserved, I hope you’ll click here to do so! Tickets are just $40 per person and that supports women like Charlotte, Irene, and Samantha. Space is limited. A ticket to this event would make a great gift for Mother’s Day! Contact Janelle at our office and she can create a gift certificate for you if you would like to give the Afternoon Tea experience to a special person in your life!

Gift CertificateOn behalf of everyone here at Bridges of Hope, I hope to see you for Tea Time!

P.S. If you can’t make it to the Tea event but would still like to contribute to the work of Bridges of Hope, click on any of the images below from our Side by Side program to make a donation now, or email to learn more about sponsorship opportunities for your business.

JUly 8 SbS 015Having a Spa Night Foot Massage

photo2sbs may 007




Have you ever just “unplugged” for a day, or even for a few hours? You know…put your phone away, turned off the TV, walked away from the computer…and just…lived in the present moment for awhile? Are you curious to know what might happen?

I was.

I like being connected to others…remotely…from my couch…via my phone.

I like always having something do turn to in case the slightest hint of boredom sets in.

I like looking like I have something REALLY important to read while I’m waiting for someone or something.

But I also know I’m not fooling anyone…myself included. I know that there is no substitute for being fully present–for removing all of the distractions and focusing on–and investing in–the people who are right in front of me.

So…I recently challenged myself and my coworkers from Bridges of Hope to spend some unplugged time with their families and friends over the course of an evening. Here’s what happened:

1. We did things we don’t usually do.
Some of us spent time doing needlecraft and sewing; some of us played board games; and some of us read or spent time in face-to-face conversations. We missed phone calls and text messages…but none so urgent they couldn’t be answered later.

2. We experienced time differently.
Some of us were really excited for the challenge…and others not so much. The evening seemed to fly by for some of us, and others of us marveled at how much more time they felt like they had. And a few of us honestly thought the time dragged a little. Some of our kids (or parents…or spouses…) complained at first…but most of them were eventually won over.

Vacation13. We played more.
Almost all of us played board games or card games. We colored–both with our kids and with other adults. We had spontaneous family jam sessions in the living room with improvised instruments.

4. We connected…IRL!
“I talked with my sister for an hour about her work and some of the challenges she’s been having. It was so nice to have a conversation without texts interrupting us!”
It was also our anniversary that evening, so we shared some of our memories with our kids.”
“If you do not make time to intentionally discuss the events and experiences in the daily lives of your family, you can miss out on so much.”

5. We thought about our priorities.
“It was eye opening to me to realize how many times I thought about using my phone.”
“I would like to do this more often–it’s a nice change.”
“I would like to have a monthly or weekly media-free time with our family that is longer and pre-planned, with family activities and outings.”
“We decided to have TV nights and non-TV nights in our family.”
“It made me think about what kind of example I’m setting for my kids, if I can’t put my phone down for a couple hours to play with them and really give them my full attention.”

And do you want to know what else? We discovered that it was really, really simple. There was no added expense, no hidden fees, no contract to sign…but it was likely the start of an important investment with the potential for big returns.keep-calm-and-go-offline-3

So what about you? Want to take the challenge too? Here are a few resources that might help (and yes, the irony is that all of these are online/media resources):

If you spend an evening (or more!) unplugged, let us know about your experience in the comments section!


For more information about how our programming strengthens families, please visit our website.