- Henry and Yvonne: “I would have never imagined us being on ‘the other side,’ because it was always us on the giving end.”
In 2011, Henry, Yvonne and their kids were living a great life in Florida: a spacious home with a pool, a lawn service, great jobs and an active community. Then, it all fell apart. Henry lost his job due to the recession, and they were on the verge of losing their home as well.
Their savings dwindled, and their situation grew more and more dire. Then, Henry was offered a job in the Chicago area, so the family packed up and moved to DuPage County. Unfortunately, just days before his new position was to start, the new company reneged on their offer.
- Alecia: "I was accepted into the Bridge program and my entire life changed. It was like freedom for my son and me."
A few years ago, Alecia and her family were planning to purchase a townhouse. Just days before the closing, the deal fell through. Alecia, her son Aidan, and Aidan’s father were staying in a hotel, deciding their next plan.
“My son’s father told us he was going to take the dog for a walk…and he never came back,” she recalls. “The next morning, which was Thanksgiving, I had my son in one hand and a bag of clothes in the other, and I knocked on my mom’s front door. I asked her if we could stay with her for just a little while because we didn’t have anywhere else to go.”
“The impact Bridge had on my life was remarkable.“
In 2004, when Courtney was 22, she found herself in a situation she'd never expected. She had an infant son; her relationship with her son's father had fallen apart; and she was on the brink of becoming homeless.
"I was referred through Teen Parent Connection, because I had attended some of their parenting groups, and the coordinator thought I would be a good fit for the Bridge program," says Courtney. "Plus, my parents had just gotten divorced and were moving. I did not have stable housing, and I was staying with friends."
She knew her situation was not conducive to raising a child and that she had to take steps to better her life. Courtney went through the intake process, was connected to a mentor group and was assigned to Molly Howieson for her case manager.
“I have to say the intensity of the services made the biggest impact on me," she says. "We met weekly with my mentors and case manager, and they would really hold me accountable. They wanted to make sure I was saving and that I was paying my expenses as I needed to, and they were focused on helping me go back to school, because we knew that way, I would have a more secure financial future. It was a little challenging at first, but it was through their persistence and resources that I began to see myself in a much different way. Step by step, I could make those moves."
Courtney successfully finished out her 2 ½ years in Bridge Communities in a Lombard unit, and had the opportunity to buy the unit as a condo, and has been living there ever since.
“I just left Teen Parent Connection after working there for 8 years, and now I am the executive director of Positive Parenting DuPage. We work to support all parents in DuPage through our collaborative network of organizations. My son, Collin, is 10 ½ years old, and he’s a happy, healthy 5th grader who’s very active in sports and school, and has lots of friends. I also serve on the school board for District 44."
Courtney is grateful for the opportunity provided to her by Bridge and its supporters. “The impact Bridge had on my life was remarkable. I truly believe that I would not be where I am today without the consistency, support and resources that Bridge provided me.”