Levi’s Moment

“Shocked” was the emotion Levi used to describe how he felt after reading the notice sent out by his health insurance provider. There had been some kind of error with his premium calculations, so he would have a temporary spike in his monthly premium costs to correct the issue—to the tune of over $500 each month, for three consecutive months. “It felt so unfair–we’re getting penalized for someone else’s mistake.”

rentProviding for a family of six requires nearly flawless budgeting skills, even with both parents working full-time. Luckily, before the onset of this new higher bill, Levi’s family was current with all their payments, but there was nothing left over each month to save for an emergency—and now, with an extra $500 added to the monthly budget, the family knew they’d inevitably fall behind on something, and he was worried that it would be their rent.

Like many of us, Levi was not fond of asking for help, and didn’t even know where to start; but the fact was that if he didn’t, their large family could soon be homeless. Levi was proactive: he worked over the family budget to cut expenses, spoke with their landlord, who graciously agreed to a payment arrangement with them, but at the end of the day, their income still wouldn’t stretch far enough to cover everything.

That’s when Levi got connected to Bridges of Hope. Levi knew he couldn’t afford to hesitate, and called Bridges for what he thought would just be possible help with rent. After doing an intake, one of our Resource Specialists referred him to several resources that the family qualified for; including Energy Assistance, which would in turn free up money that the family could use to pay their rent.

After making sure all of the existing community resources were exhausted, Bridges was able to utilize its internal funding to assist the family with one month’s worth of rent, and Levi’s family was able to come up with the rest. An eviction notice was never sent out, their premiums went back down to their regular amount, and Levi and his family were able to move forward, keeping all of their bills current. During a follow-up call, Levi shared with staff, “I didn’t think there was a way out; we couldn’t have done this without you.”

While reaching out for help may not be easy for many, it is our hope to make the process of receiving assistance less painful and much less confusing. Because of our generous donors and supporters like you, families like Levi’s have a place to call when they need help. Thank you for helping build Bridges in the Lakes Area!


It’s the ‘Little Things’

Sometimes the little things are the biggest things.

Did you know that by simply making a date with your daughter, mother, grandmother, aunt, friend or any other important lady in your life, you’re also greatly impacting the life of women you’ve never met before?

It’s true.

On April 7th, Bridges of Hope will host the annual Afternoon Tea for Hope. This event will mark the fourth ‘tea party’ where women, girls and even our gentleman friends come together in their pearls, fancy hats and dresses (with the exception of our male guests!), to sip tea from delicate china, nibble on sweets and savories, listen to live music, take chances in raffles and bid in an impressive selection in our silent auction. (Psst: you can visit Common Goods to find the perfect Tea outfit!)

Last year over 150 women, girls and guys helped raise over $13,000 for the Bridges of Hope Side by Side Mentoring Program. Your support truly means the world for the women, and their families, who participate in this program.

You may ask, what is Side By Side? It’s hard to summarize this life-changing experience into a paragraph, but I’ll try! Side By Side was launched in 2012 to help adult women move from survival to sustainability by developing and maintaining long-term mentoring relationships with women from throughout our community. The women participating in the program: “Participants,” set personal improvement goals in areas including income and stability, skills and education, and relationships and meaning. The Mentors and Participants connect weekly and monthly to increase face-to-face communication and accountability.

To date, Side By Side has worked with 28 Participants and 32 volunteer Mentors to provide a ‘hand up’ for those ready and able to make a lasting change in their lives.

Please help us continue to provide this critical programming to the women who need it most in our community. Make a date for tea time! This year’s event will be held in the Town Hall at Madden’s Resort on Gull Lake. Tea will be served at 2 pm, along with additional refreshments, food, a candy table and much more.

Buy your tickets today! Individual tickets are $40, or gather a group of eight and reserve a table for $280!  BUT… if you purchase your tickets BEFORE February 10th, you’ll receive $5 off your ticket! Click here to get started, or visit our website (http://bridgesofhopemn.org).

Sponsorship opportunities are also currently available to help support this event. To learn more, contact Nicholle Dean at 218-825-7682.

And thank you. Your support truly has a ripple effect in our community, more than you know!


Click here to learn more and purchase tickets.

Laura’s Moment

Daughter hugging her momWhen Child Protection took Eliana at the age of 6 due to Laura’s struggles with addiction, she was forced to acknowledge the problems that had been avoiding for so long. The county placed her child in foster care, while ordering Laura to become clean and maintain that sobriety if she wanted her child to live and grow with her.

Once Laura achieved sobriety, her child was temporarily placed back in her home on a trial basis before going back to court for the final decision; she was then referred to Bridges of Hope. Laura entered not only guarded, but visibly perturbed by the possibility of losing her child. Her history with social workers plagued any potential thought that this program would be beneficial. Our staff met with Laura, made a schedule and a plan. She was uneasy, but felt this time was somehow different.

Parenting support was especially needed, but it was clear Laura was ready to work hard to regain custody of her child. Staff gave Laura a chore chart appropriate for Eliana’s age, and implemented a reward system that really blossomed their parent-child relationship. Laura was excited at the bonding that was taking place, and of her own accord even started suggesting other activities the two could participate in together. She asked meaningful questions, and set healthy boundaries. To make things even better, Laura had been working through a temp agency for three months and was offered a full time position there, which she readily accepted!

For the first time in a long time, the two were not only stable- but happy. When asked by staff if she thought she needed to be in the program any longer, Laura replied with a smile and, “I’ve got this.” Court came and went, and Laura is still the sole provider for her child.

On behalf of our Staff and Board, thank you for helping enable families to thrive and providing a message of hope in our community!