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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Join us for Tea Time!

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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  jana@bridgesofhopemn.org to learn more about sponsorship opportunities for your business.

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Run for Hope – Moved to Paul Bunyan Trail

Hello friends! I want to give you a quick update about the Run for Hope – we are moving it to the PaPB trailTrailul Bunyan Trail.  This first ever Run for Hope is taking place on June 15th. Please register to join us!

This 5k is for people of all ability levels. A few of our staff are brand new to the “running scene” and are using Couch to 5k type apps to get ready for June 15th. If we can do it, YOU can too!

We plan to run a little, walk a little and even crawl if we have to. Join us!

For only $20 (for those 10 & up), you get a great looking t-shirt, the book Every Body Matters, and a water bottle. Children under 10 are welcome to walk or run with a registered adult and there is no registration fee.

Click here to register. We hope to see you on June 15th at the Paul Bunyan Trail!