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.

Chuck and Kristi’s Moment

“To everyone who’s lost someone they loved, long before it was their time…. The days that you had with them were not enough, when you said goodbye….”

The words of this song by Third Day could not better describe the immense pain that Chuck and Kristi were feeling when they reached out to Bridges of Hope.

Maternal-Infant-Care-rfidChuck and Kristi have three children: Marcus (8), Lily (5), and Nora (2). A few months back, the couple was faced with an enormous loss; they lost their newest born son, Caleb. When Caleb was born, doctors told Chuck and Kristi that it would only be a matter of time until he would leave them. They stayed by Caleb’s bedside until, as the doctor’s feared, he passed away just weeks after being born. Chuck and Kristi were overwhelmed with grief and reached out to Bridges of Hope. Kristi called Bridges of Hope originally looking for help with gas, since they had made so many trips down to the Mayo Clinic. When I heard their story, I offered her some additional services and she voluntarily enrolled in the Parent Support Outreach Program, where a staff from Bridges meets in-home with families to work on goals set by the parents.

The first time I met with Kristi in person, she was noticeably depressed, having just lost her child, and she remained in bed for the entire meeting. At this time, the entire family was staying in the living room of a friend’s home–due to the financial stress they experienced after Caleb was born, they had been evicted from their apartment. I offered to set up Respite Services for Chuck and Kristi so they could get a much-needed break to care for their own mental health and process their grief. The look of relief on Kristi’s face gave me hope that they would all be okay.

And that was when things began to turn around. The couple set several goals: they wanted to work towards getting their own place to live again, and Kristi wanted to find employment. I met with Chuck & Kristi the following week and encouraged counseling as another goal. After a little hesitation, they said they were willing to give it a try.

Within a week of the family’s first time using Respite Services, the family’s change was amazing. Kristi had found employment, the family was able to move into their own home, AND the couple had made an appointment for one of the counselors I had recommended! This mom, who was initially thinking she would be unable to parent due to the trauma of losing a child is now planning a family game night and spending all of her free time with her children. Chuck & Kristi are looking forward to making the best of their future and see that there is hope for a happy family life once again.

There is hope for the helpless, rest for the weary and love for the broken heart….” –Third Day


If there is anyone in your life who might benefit from supportive services from Bridges of Hope, please encourage them to contact us at 218.825.7682. There is hope!

Tom & Kelly’s Moment

Tom and Kelly were at their wits end. The couple had three children: an eleven-year-old (Kim) and 8-year-old twins (Simon & Cyril). Kim was a handful for both parents, and the twins were quickly following in their older sister’s footsteps. They sought help at the local county Mental Health services division one afternoon, and that’s when they were referred to one of our Family Support Services programs at Bridges of Hope. Both parents were very excited–and just a little apprehensive–about the program, which works one-on-one with families in their home over a brief, but very intensive, period of time. During the first couple of meetings with me, they shared how they felt embarrassed that their children were so out of control and expressed doubts about whether it might already be too too late for them to take back the control.

In particular, mornings were awful for the family, because Tom left for work early, leaving Kelly to get everyone up, fed, and out the door on time. There was a lot of fighting and crying, and a lot of stress and frustration for Kelly as she also attempted to get herself ready. Kelly was spending the ten-minute ride to school lecturing the kids amid tantrums and more squabbling. By the time she got to work (about 5 minutes late) every day, Kelly’s nerves were fried. In addition, she was doing all of the housework for the family; and in the evenings, homework time and bedtime were a continuation of the “nightmare.” Tom and Kelly had even stopped going out together as a family, because of their embarrassment over their kids’ behaviors.

Love and Logic LogoI was able to assure them they were not alone and that many parents struggle with these kinds of parenting challenges. I was already hosting Love and Logic classes for several families with children around the same ages, so I invited them to join the class. They had been to “Love and Logic “a few years back, but they admitted to never really using it much and were willing to give it a fresh try this time around. Over the next five weeks, they attended the weekly evening class, where the group watched a Love and Logic DVD and then each shared one technique that they planned to try at home with their children that week.

Kelly admitted the class felt like date night–the kids were with a babysitter and they could just enjoy some (peaceful!) time together. Tom really took the “one technique” implementation to heart right away, and the couple reported that the kids were really responding well to him. Kelly, a self-described “control freak,” admitted she had a harder time letting go of things and allowing the children to be responsible for their own mistakes (and the consequences). My role during some of the home visits would be to help both parents figure out how to “tweek” the Love and Logic techniques to meet their needs. We also set weekly goals for the family. Over time, life REALLY changed for Kelly–and for the family as a whole. The children each had their own alarm clocks and were responsible to get up and ready for school on their own: Kelly provided breakfast, and they did the rest. Bedtime routine was adjusted to ensure everyone was ready for the next morning: backpacks & shoes were by the door, clothes were picked out and ready to put on. Kelly too began to get up 10 minutes earlier than she used to to ensure that she was ready too, and 15 minutes before it is time to walk out the door, Kelly now sets a timer: when it goes off, everyone leaves–no matter his or her state of dress or readiness.

Since implementing Love and Logic in their home, the entire family has been transformed. Tom and Kelly are  excited to continue parenting their children, and when they go out as a family, the expectations are set before they leave. If anyone doesn’t follow the expectations, one of the parents takes the offender to the car while the others enjoy their time together. This family is truly enjoying each other now, and it is a great success-in-progress!


To learn more about Love and Logic parenting, click here.

If you or someone you know is struggling with parenting, call Bridges of Hope at 218.825.7682.

Kendra’s Moment

Kendra was out of options. She had moved into an apartment in the Lakes Area after leaving her home community–and having to sever all her ties to friends and family–due to a domestic violence situation. She had fled shortly after learning she was pregnant with her third child and had since found a part-time job, established regular childcare, joined a parenting support group, and was on her way to mapping out a new life. But finding new friendships in a new community was happening slower than she thought it would; and now, nine months pregnant, there were times Kendra still felt very much alone in the world.

And then one day, on a Thursday afternoon, she went into labor.

Baby Boy

Image by Clare Bloomfield:

About a half-hour before closing time, Bridges of Hope received a phone call from Mary, a social worker at a local hospital. Mary explained that she had been called in by Kendra’s nurses, because Kendra had recently been admitted and was in active labor–but her two other children, ages 2 and 4, were there with her. Mary had learned that when the labor started, Kendra tried calling a few acquaintances from the parenting group, but no one was available, and not knowing what else she could do, Kendra brought her kids with her.

This was a perfect situation for Crisis Nursery. The Bridges of Hope staff spoke with Kendra over the phone and explained how the program works. She then began calling our trained Crisis Nursery providers and quickly located an available provider who could pick up the children from the hospital–all within twenty minutes of Mary’s phone call. The children would be cared for in Crisis Nursery for 48 hours until Kendra could leave the hospital, putting both Mary and Kendra at ease. Two days later, Kendra brought her new baby boy home to meet his older siblings.

Crisis Nursery Services Logo

Crisis Nursery Services

Crisis Nursery is a free, short-term childcare option for parents of children ages 0-12 when there are no other available childcare resources. This program is funded by a grant from the Children’s Trust Fund and is a partnership between Bridges and Crow Wing County Community Services. The Crisis Nursery has more funding available in 2011 than it did in 2010; if you or someone you know is in a childcare crisis, please call Bridges of Hope at 218.825.7682 and speak to a Family Service Worker about your situation or click here for additional details.